The Bear’s Garden (Marcie Colleen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Bear’s Garden, written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Alison Oliver, a tender ode to the importance of greenspaces.

In a darkish, grayish city, where it seems everyone is rushing off to somewhere, there lived a little girl and her bear. And while other people seemed content to keep their heads down and ignore the neglected and empty spaces between the buildings, the little girl couldn’t help but imagine her city as a magical place, full of potential for things to grow and blossom. The little girl plants a dandelion seed in a can, but the can tips over and falls to the ground… yet the flower takes root in the concrete itself! Nurturing her little seedling with water, love, and even a garden party, it blooms and spreads more seeds in the empty lot. Passersby begin to notice the greening space and the little girl’s dedication to her plants, and it warms their hearts. Soon, the girl must travel away for a while, and she becomes concerned that, in her absence, the garden will suffer. So she leaves her trusty bear in charge to watch over her small blooms. And when she returns, she finds that something even bigger than her flowers have taken root…

Lovely. This darling tale, inspired by the Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden, is a gentle and meditative look at the importance that greenery and growth can have to not just one person, but entire communities. Drawn with simple illustrations and characters, the artwork deftly plays with dark, light, and color to show how the community grows together as their garden takes shape. The text is soothing and sweet, and makes this one ideal for storytime or a bedtime read. The length is perfect for any age, and JJ really enjoyed the story and art. A comforting and inspirational tale that any green thumb will enjoy, 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.)

Romeo Explores The Garden (Alain Grée)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Romeo Explores The Garden by Alain Grée, an interactive book that explores the nature in our backyards.

Following the titular Romeo, a friendly anthropomorphic dog, the reader is taken along on a series of question-and-answers as he explores the garden. On each page, a question about a common garden creature or plant is asked (trees, flowers, bumbles, etc.), then the answer provided on the following page.

Pretty cute. The concept is fairly familiar but still well done, and the question-and-answer format is a nice element for reader engagement. The illustrations – made up primarily from reused images of Grée’s work in the 60’s and 70’s – has its positives and negatives. While the diversity of skin tones and classic storybook art style is cheerful and pleasant, there are pages where the repurposing is visually unappealing: one farmer squashed horizontally to fit inside a greenhouse looks bizarre, and a spread of cobbled-together frogs with a half-dozen different character designs is a visual mess. Also, one of the Q&A’s about hedgehogs may puzzle kids from the americas, where they’re a lot less likely to be found nosing around a garden. Otherwise, this is sweet board book with a good length,and JJ seemed to enjoy it. A little uneven perhaps, but it means well. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Piggy And Plants (Allison Remy Hall)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Piggy And Plants, written by Allison Remy Hall and illustrated by Samuel Pullin, a cozy and sweet story of a green-thumbed little pig caring for his garden through the seasons.

Our story follows the quiet gardener Piggy through the four seasons, split into four miniature stories for each one. In summer, Piggy wakes late one night to sip sweet tea and watch his night-blossoming cactus’s first bloom. In autumn, the little gardener is pleasantly surprised to find a delicious mushroom has taken up in his geranium pot. In winter, Piggy and his duck friend, Kak, enjoy a snowy day inside Piggy’s warm plant nursery. And in spring, Kak gifts Piggy with three pots of surprise seedlings to tend.

Of all the self-published books that have been submitted to us, this is one of our favorites. Piggy and his plants are positively charming in a gentle, warm way that puts a smile on the reader’s face from the first page. The language, rhythm, and content of the text sets a peaceful, soothing tone, reminiscent of the quiet and meditative work of plant care, all while exploring each season through the world of a gardener. The original oil painting art is a treat, creating precious characters, fresh gardenscapes, and snug interiors. The cover might have been a bit more distinct if the title, author, and illustrator information had been integrated, but the length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed the little pig and duck. A lovely tale for little readers, 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.)

Allie’s Garden (Marla Osborn & Sabra Chebby)


Hello, friends! Today, we read Allie’s Garden, illustrated by Marla Osborn and written by Sabra Chebby, an adorable little book about fresh veggies and garden critters.

Today, Allie’s mommy has asked her to go out into the garden to fetch some fresh veggies. Allie dons her gloves and boots and sets out, finding fresh veggies and wild animals at every turn. When she goes to pick corn, there’s a cawing crow. Near the lettuce, a bunny munching on greens. At the cucumbers, a garden snake! Allie is not frightened, though; she shoos the beasts away and gathers her veggies, bringing them to her mother. In return, she is surprised with a fresh garden salad made from the fruits (or rather, veggies) of her labor. 

This little board book was incredibly cute, and a lot of fun to read. The simple rhyming text flows well and the story is enjoyable, but the star of the show is the art. The illustrations combine food photography on fresh white backgrounds with the illustrated Allie to create a world of bright natural colors and creatures made of peas, potatoes, carrots and lettuce. The animals are especially creative: a crow constructed from eggplant or a snake made of cucumber are both visually interesting and make the subject of vegetables fun and interesting for little readers. The length was perfect, and JJ really enjoyed it! This is a creative and clever way to get little ones interested in fresh veggies, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Flowers Are Calling (Rita Gray)


Hello friends! Today, we read Flowers Are Calling, written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak, a beautiful and informative book about flowers and pollinators! Told in a combination of playful rhymes and nonfiction blurbs, each page introduces different species of flowers and the individual pollinators (like bees, hummingbirds, and even bats) they attract.

This book was packed full of really interesting information about flowers that even I didn’t know, and I really loved how it explained pollinators and how important they are to the ecosystem. Furthermore, the illustrations were absolutely gorgeous, and JJ really liked them. However, while she loved the rhyming pages, the informational pages did not hold her attention as easily, and she started to get bored near the end of the book. So, this one may not be the best for the younger reader (unless you only read the rhyming pages, which you absolutely could!), an older reader, especially one who loves plants and flowers, would adore this. So overall, Baby Bookworm approved!