Making A Friend (Tammi Sauer)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Making A Friend, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Alison Friend, an adorable story about finding friendship.

Beaver is wonderful at making things: toy airplanes and dinosaurs, a lodge with a waterslide, even cozy socks. The only thing he can’t seem to make is a friend. With sincere gestures, he tries hard to befriend his fellow woodland creatures. It always backfires, however – his gifts never fail to unintentionally insult or upset the others. One snowy day, he decides to build himself a friend from the frosty stuff, striking the interest of a raccoon passing by. The raccoon points out that the construction would better succeed with two, and offers to help. The two spend the day building their snow-friend, eventually creating a creature with pizazz… but who doesn’t seem very interested in interacting. The two sit down to bemoan how difficult it is to build a friendship, then suddenly realize that they may have just happened upon the blueprints.

Pure charm. The story is adorable, displaying a classic sensibility the adds in some clever beats of humor and pathos, and warm yet snappy dialogue to keep it feeling fresh. The illustrations are colorful, full of energy and adorable, emotive characters. The length is perfect, and JJ loved it – she even learned what a beaver was! A lovely winter-themed tale of friendship that’s perfect for any storytime, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Bear Stays Up For Christmas (Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman)

Hello, friends! Well, it’s the penultimate book in the holiday countdown, and we’ve picked a great one for Christmas Eve: Bear Stays Up For Christmas, written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman. This sweet story follows Wilson and Chapman’s popular Bear and his friends as they prepare for Christmas Day.

Bear’s friends have made decision: this year, they are going to wake their friend Bear from hibernation so that he can enjoy the Christmas holiday with them. And while it’s tough to wake a hibernating bear (and even tougher to keep him awake!), the friends are insitent – Christmas is a time to be together, and they don’t want for Bear to be left out. As the day goes by, the friends prepare for Christmas in all the usual ways: getting and decorating a tree, making yummy goodies, singing carols. As the day wanes, the friends all begin to stretch and yawn themselves – they’re so sleepy from all their work! One by one, they nod off until… only Bear is left awake. Grinning, Bear is delighted – now he can work on presents for all his friends, and perhaps have a very special visitor…

I have yet to read one of the Bear books that isn’t an absolute delight, and this one keeps the tradition alive. Sweet, kind, whimsical and wondrous, Bear and his friends are as cheerful and dedicated as always, and their adventures here are a festive treat that explores the Christmas theme of togetherness and friendship. Chapman’s illustrations are wonderful, using lifelike critter models and imbuing them with loads of personality and movement. The length is perfect, and JJ and I always love reading about Bear and company together. A wonderful Christmas story for a beloved cast of characters, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman, the first story in the popular Bear series by the author/illustrator team.

Bear is curled tightly in his warm winter cave, enjoying a long nap as the winds howl outside. Escaping the winter weather, a small mouse happens upon the cave, and decides to light a small fire to warm himself, confident that his actions will not disturb Bear. Soon, Hare and Badger join the fun, bringing treats and tea and catching up. Soon more animal friends appear, bringing with them food and conversation, and a small but raucous party begins to form. The friends are having so much fun, in fact, they seem to have forgotten that they are sharing the cave with the very sleepy bear… and that a giant sleeping bear might not appreciate being woken up!

The Bear series has become very popular with little readers and parents for a reason, and this book is a perfect example of why. The story is charming, and features a sweet, humorous conclusion. The rhyming text flows well and is fun to read, and has onomatopoeia and the option for many different voices to make reading it aloud quite fun. The illustrations are darling, managing to create characters that are both lifelike yet extremely expressive. The length is perfect, and JJ always enjoys the Bear books, especially this one. A great start to a great series, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Little Owl’s Night (Divya Srinivasan)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan, a sweet story of a young owl’s wanderings after dark.

As night sets over the forest, the nighttime animals awake, including Little Owl. He is happy, because he loves his forest home at night. He excitedly flies off to see his friends and neighbors: a neat line of possums climbing the trees, the silvery dust shaken from the wings of the moths, the croak of the frog and the chirp of the cricket. He revels in the beautiful full moon, even attempting to wake Bear so he won’t miss it (but of course, Bear is fast asleep). No matter: Owl spends the night taking in the beautiful sights and sounds of his forest as he wonders: could daytime possibly be as lovely? He asks his mother to tell him about morning time, but as she describes the dawn, Little Owl has fallen fast asleep just as the sun begins to rise.

This is a lovely bedtime book for little ones with a lot going for it: the high-contrast, simply illustrated animals are great visuals for young bookworms, and the story is sweet, soothing, and filled with innocent wonder. It’s a great way to explore nocturnal animals as well. The length is perfect for even the very young, and JJ always enjoys the art, especially as she learns to identify the animals. A simple, gentle and calming tale of a forest at night, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Fox In The Dark (Alison Green)

Hello, friends! JJ had her Bookworm Birthday Party today, so we picked a favorite from our personal library to read to her guests: The Fox In The Dark, written by Alison Green and illustrated by Deborah Allwright, a sweet and poignant tale about mistaken first impressions.

Rabbit runs home at a hurried pace; there is a vicious fox out in the dark tonight. As soon as he secures himself in his burrow for the night, he hears a knock on the door. A duck has gotten stranded in the woods, and asks to take shelter with the rabbit. Soon after, an exhausted mouse and a timid lamb also beg sanctuary, making Rabbit’s only bed quite crowded for the evening. And just as they are settling in, there is another knock at the door: the fox! But he isn’t quite what he appears to be… 

This is one of our favorite bedtime books, and we enjoy it every time. The message, that things and people are rarely as simple as they appear, is a classic but with an important twist: don’t fear what you don’t understand. By revealing that the fox isn’t hunting for a meal but for her lost cub, it encourages little readers to consider things from all perspectives before snapping to judgement. The rhyming text, full of onomatopoeia and opportunities for unique character voices, is a delight. The art is funny, surprising and sweet in turns. The length is perfect, and both JJ and her party guests are fans! This is a great story, and we love having it as part of our library. Baby Bookworm approved!