Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party (Erin Barker)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party by Erin Barker, a spooky and sweet counting book with a Halloween twist.

Mr. Pumpkin is having a tea party, a classy soirée with some ghoulish guests. Readers can count along as Mr. Pumpkin prepares the table, greets his guests and their delectable treats, and enjoys an evening of mingling, snacking, and entertainment.

Adorable. Mixing elements of the spooky and refined, Mr. Pumpkin’s tea party is a delightful event to watch unfold. The soft, whimsical illustrations never truly veer into scary or fearsome territory, presenting guests like a giant spider (Madam Silk, who brings seven truffles) or a rather dapper mummy (Dr. Cairo, who comes bearing a bouquet of nine spindleweeds) as festively unusual friends rather than frightening creatures. The rhyming text is simple, with occasional touches of extravagant word choice to keep with the tone. Young readers can count along within the artwork on each page, from one to thirteen (especially amusing to JJ, who gleefully pointed out that clocks don’t REALLY go to 13), as the progression from a fall dusk to evening is beautifully expressed through the color palette and charming characters. This was great for a short storytime, and we both loved it. A Halloween teatime treat, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Pride 1 2 3 (Michael Joosten)

Hello friends, and happy Pride! Our book today is Pride 1 2 3, written by Michael Joosten and illustrated by Wednesday Holmes, an exuberant counting book centered around the festivities of Pride.

While many public Pride celebrations have been cancelled this year due to COVID, this joyful board book introduces the youngest readers to the message and importance of Pride through the simple 1 to 10 counting book format. From “1 parade in the month of June” to “10 waving flags fly brightly with pride”, little ones can get a peek at a warmly illustrated Pride celebration that features DJs, divas, motorcycles, floats, signs, and a beautifully diverse display of intersectionality. After all, Pride is all about coming together and celebrating what makes the LGBTQ+ community special, with hope, love… and pride.

Wonderful! Bursting with visual excitement and positivity, this sweet title pulls double duty as a primer for the annual celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and a solid counting book. Each countable feature (people, flags, floats, signs, etc.) are clearly defined, even in the riot of color featured in the endearing, Roger Priddy-esque illustrations. The diversity of the cast is phenomenal, featuring characters across the spectrum of LGBGTQ+ of a multitude of skintones and ability. My only minor complaint is on the final spread, which features a group flying a multiple of Pride flags; some of the flags used are outdated versions, and some do not appear at all. Otherwise, this is a gentle, fun, and inclusive title that was just a blast to read. The length was perfect, JJ loved it, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller (Kate Read)

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Hello, friends! Our book today is One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read, an exciting book of numbers for little readers.

One (1) famished fox has two (2) sly eyes, and the wily creature spots three (3) plump hens. As this barnyard thriller unfolds, we follow the dastardly fox as it plots against the hens, aiming to procure their five (5) delicious eggs. It sneaks into the henhouse that night, and the hens are started by ten (10) sharp teeth! Will this counting adventure end in tragedy? Or is there something in even greater numbers that awaits…

Colorful and clever. Read composes her simple yet entertaining story – with a wickedly funny twist – using a judicious economy of language, confining each page to a number, a descriptor, and the subject. It keeps things easy for the smallest reader while combining some core concepts of vocabulary and counting to build on. The colorful, collage-art style illustrations are pleasantly reminiscent of Carle, and burst with visual excitement against the simple backgrounds. And not to worry – the terrified chickens and their eggs make it out unharmed. The length was great, and JJ was delighted by the action and suspense of the story. This will definitely be a fresh favorite for young bookworms, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Ten Clever Ninjas (Sarah Floyd)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ten Clever Ninjas, written by Sarah Floyd and illustrated by Marcin Bruchnalski, a playful counting book that follows the friendship of ten young martial artists.

One clever ninja wakes up in his room, finding a note from his mom to him and his brother, asking for some quiet time in the house to finish a project. She suggests that her “clever little ninjas” think of fun things to do outside today, and so the two ninjas set off, gathering more of their ninja clan one-by-one as they go. They pick up friends from their homes or meet them out and about, practicing their skills in stealth, evasion, engineering, meditation, and of course, ninjitsu. At last, numbering ten, they head back to the boys’ home, where two surprises await: cupcakes for everyone, plus the result their mom’s top-secret project…

Delightful! Jumping off from an enjoyable take on a counting book, subtle details in the text and art give this story a welcome sense of inclusion. Floyd’s cast of ninjas are a racially-, ability-, and gender-diverse bunch, and their ninja activities are not limited to fighting. They build clubhouses, meditate and quietly enjoy nature together, as well as take time to nurture the brothers’ young toddler sibling. Bruchnalski’s clean yet rich illustrations are filled with a sense of childhood enthusiasm and joy that fit the tone perfectly. There’s a head-scratching moment when one of the ninjas greets to others with “Namaste,” a traditional Sanskrit word, but based on the character’s design, this may be a reflection of her culture as opposed to her “ninja” status. Regardless, the length was great, and JJ and I really enjoyed this one. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

My Easter Basket: A Colorful Egg Hunt (Roger Priddy)

Hello, friends! Our book today is My Easter Basket: A Colorful Egg Hunt by Roger Priddy, a sweet interactive board book with lots of color and counting fun.

The egg hunt has begun on the farm! Can you help all the adorable animals find their eggs in time for the big picnic? Each spread features a barnyard scene with a group of animals finding five of a specific color egg (with the reader’s help, of course).

This is your fairly basic holiday board book fare, but with enough visual interest and interactive touches that make it stand out. The book itself is die-cut in the shape of a basketful of eggs, complete with handle for easy carrying. The foil details are a nice touch to help little bookworms spot the seek-and-find eggs in the scenes, which are hidden just well enough (but not TOO well) for a fun searching experience. The book itself is sturdy, though after a little “toddler testing”, I did notice the handle part starting to crease a bit. But overall, this is a fun board book to share with the youngest bookworms, perhaps as an Easter gift. JJ loved it, 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.)