What’s Your Favorite Color? (Eric Carle & Friends)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the visually stunning What’s Your Favorite Color? by Eric Carle & Friends, a gorgeous collaboration of fifteen of the most beloved children’s book illustrators on their favorite colors.

What’s your favorite color? Is it yellow, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Eric Carle? He likes yellow because it is often the color of the sun in children’s drawings. Or is it green, like Philip C. Stead, who likes to imagine that many things can be green, even an elephant if he really feels like it. How about the late, lovely Anna Dewdney’s favorite: purple, the color of her favorite childhood outfit and the peacocks she dreamed of having one day. Or is it blue like Bryan Collier, who is reminded of his daughter whenever there are rainy days and blue balloons. Everyone has colors that are special to them, even many colors, or all the colors! How about you? What’s YOUR favorite color?

Absolutely stunning. For kidlit nerds like me who absolutely love picture book illustrations, this is quite simply a treasure trove. Each color-inspired spread is unique, personal, and visually striking, from Mike Curato’s raccoon enjoying a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone to Frann Preston-Gannon’s vibrant orange tiger hidden in grass to Jill McElmurry’s hauntingly beautiful black garden. The short blurbs that the artists have written to accompany the colors are sometimes funny, sometimes touching; all of them will make you consider each color from a different perspective. The length was fine, and JJ and I both adored it – this was even the first color book in which JJ was able to distinguish between gray and black, and the first time I’ve heard her use “black” properly! A feast for the eyes for readers of every age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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Baby University Series (Chris Ferrie)

Hello, friends! We have a special 3-for-1 review today, taking a look at three board books from the Baby University series by Chris Ferrie: ABCs of Science, ABCs of Physics, and ABCs of Mathematics.

On each page of this set of ABC STEM books for little ones, readers are introduced to a letter and a corresponding scientific concept, element, reaction, idea, particle, etc. Each page is then broken into three levels of information: for babies, the just the letter, concept and illustration; for toddlers, a short sentence describing the subject; for older children, a two- to three-sentence paragraph that describes the idea in more detail.

These were great! It’s a clever, highly-informative and very accessible way to teach scientific and mathematical principles and concepts to little bookworms AND their caregivers. I especially liked the idea of breaking each page into three levels of informational chunks – it gives the books a lot of mileage as children grow and can comprehend more advanced ideas, and works perfectly for this kind of complex subject matter. The illustrations are a little plain, and there’s a lot of white space for this kind of book – I might have liked to see more engaging and/or colorful illustrations that could grow with kids as well as the text did. For the most part, however, this is a wonderful way to encourage little scientists, mathematicians and engineers to learn about the building blocks of STEM. Baby Bookworm approved!

Oh What Fun It Is To Share (Flora Agbaje)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Oh What Fun It Is To Share, written by Flora Agbaje and illustrated by Kim Merritt, a tale of the importance of sharing.

Our story opens on a little boy with a rather bad habit: he absolutely refuses to share. No one is allowed to play with or touch the things he’s decided are his – toys, books, even other people! To keep everyone from his things, he hugs them tightly to himself, earning him the nickname “Hugger Boy.” One day, however, as he is sitting with his closely guarded pile of things, he realizes that the other children are happily playing together, and his refusal to share with them has left him alone. Hugger Boy decides that he wants to make a change – but can he learn to share after all this time?

This one has a great premise, and while it’s a bit rough around the edges, there was a lot of good to take away. The lesson is a classic one, and the story is well-paced. The art is surprisingly good: in an area where many self-published children’s books are lacking, this one has expressive characters, great coloring, and an appreciated amount of diversity. Text-wise, it’s difficult to find the right rhythm at times due to some shifting syntax and, in at least one case, poor layout – this can make it a little difficult to read aloud. Also, it should be noted that while it is true that selfish kids often hug their items to themselves in a refusal to share, this is also an extremely common comforting gesture for children with ASD or social delays. This could cause some confusion in young readers who may read the story, then interpret children who have behavioral issues as being selfish. However, with a bit of adult guidance, this issue can be overcome. Otherwise, the story is a good length, and JJ seemed to enjoy it. A good lesson in sharing, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

The Best Tailor In Pinbauê (Eymard Toledo)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Best Tailor In Pinbauê by Eymard Toledo, a story of community, family, and the importance of bringing color into life.

In the small Brazilian village of Pinbauê, Uncle Flores was once a great tailor. He sewed beautiful, colorful suits and dresses for the men and ladies of town, and would even sew elaborate costumes for Carnival. Since the factory came to town, however, his only work is to mend the dull gray uniforms of the factory workers. Still, his young nephew Edinho loves to help him with his work. One day, Uncle Flores receives word that the factory has begun importing cheaper uniforms, and that his services are no longer needed. Concerned for his livelihood, he is unsure of what to do – until Edinho makes a colorful suggestion.

This is sort of a heavy story, but it had a lot of depth and emotional impact. The very realistic scenario of a big business changing an entire town’s economy (and by extension, general outlook) is presented in a way that is easy for little readers to comprehend. Flores’s struggles are very realistic, and strike a bit of a somber tone, but this is turned handily by the eventual outcome: Edinho suggests using leftover fabric from the pre-factory work to make colorful curtains for the people of the town, and by the end, there is hope in Pinbauê and its people. It teaches the lessons of ingenuity, resourcefulness, but mostly community – that by helping our loved ones and neighbors, we are helping ourselves as well. The mixed-media art is perfect, obviously constructed love. The length is good, though the pace may be a bit slow for younger bookworms – JJ began to wiggle in places. But for older readers, this is a wonderful lesson in the power of hope and community, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs (Cynthia Weill & K.B. Basseches)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the wonderfully educational ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs, written by Cynthia Weill and K.B. Basseches and featuring Mexican folk art from Oaxaca by Moisés and Armando Jiménez.

On each vibrantly-colored page, little ones are introduced to a new letter; both English letters as well as letters and/or sounds (such as ñ or ch) that are native to the Spanish alphabet are featured. Accompanying each of these is a photograph of a beautifully carved and painted Mexican folk-art sculpture of an animal, and that animal’s name in both English and Spanish.

We loved this so much! We’ve been trying to include some dual-language books into JJ’s library, but this is the first that I’ve seen that really focuses on teaching children in two alphabets at once. The inclusion of Spanish-exclusive or -adapted letters and word sounds gives a wonderful foundation, and the use of the Mexican folk art adds a cultural component that gives the Spanish words and alphabet a sense of context, as well as providing some truly engaging visuals for little readers. This one had it right down to the details: for “X”, it includes a sculpture of an imaginary animal, and encourages children to make up their own animal that starts with x – a clever, fun page that allows children to interact with the subject in a new way. The length is fine, and JJ adored it, reading it through three more times after we were done. If you’re looking for a truly immersive dual-language primer for little ones, this is the one to pick! Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)