Top 5: New Baby

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Hello, friends! It’s a new month, so we’ve got a new Top 5 list for you! As it so happens, several friends of The Baby Bookworm have welcomed new additions over the last month, so we thought we’d celebrate these growing families with a list of our Top 5 New Baby Books! Whether helping older siblings with the transition, bringing a little levity to the stressful lives of new parents, or simply welcoming the new arrivals themselves to the world, these books are perfect for the newest bookworms on the block.

So without further ado, here’s our Top 5 New Baby Books:

1. Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth (Oliver Jeffers)

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Hello, new person! Here we are; this is Earth, a big globe spinning in a massively bigger universe, and carrying all of human and plant and animal life as we know it. Created as a gift for his first child, Jeffers brings care, humor, and deep affection in both the text and art, assuring Earth’s newest arrivals that there is a whole universe to explore as they grow, and that they are never alone in it.

“The art is positively lovely: gorgeous, sweeping land-, sea-, and starscapes blended with Jeffers signature quirky details and characters. A spread featuring dozens of animals makes for delightful identification practice; another featuring a tongue-in-cheek look at the solar system informs and amuses. The text is clever, sweet, and full of wonder at the world around. […] The rare story that little ones can enjoy more and more as they grow, and that encourages us to be curious and kind.”

2. King Baby (Kate Beaton)

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When King Baby is born, it is clear that he is the ruler of all he surveys. People crowd around to greet and fawn over him. He is given mountains of gifts as tribute. His loyal servants (otherwise known as Mommy and Daddy) fulfill his every need and whim, even if they are occasionally simple fools who do not understand his instructions. This hysterical look at the first year of #babylife will make new parents laugh along with their little ones.

“While King Baby and his imperious dialogue were entertaining for JJ, the text and concept of the book are filled with tongue-in-cheek humor for parents. Beaton’s signature comic style makes it feel like this is as much a book for grown-ups as it is for baby bookworms […]. Add to that the charming and colorful illustrations and a perfect length for little ones, and you’ve got a book that is sure to please readers of all ages.”

3. I’ve Loved You Since Forever (Hoda Kotb, illus. Suzie Mason)\

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When does a mother or father begin to love their baby? From the day they meet them? No no, the love between a mother or father and their baby began long before that. It began before the flight of birds, and before bees made honey. It came before rivers and sunsets and even the silvery glow of the moon. Before all of that, there were two bright points of light traveling through the stars, destined to meet – and that’s when a parent’s love begins, and waits for the day that ”you and me” becomes a ”we”.

“Sentimentally sweet, elegant yet earnest. […] Inspired by the adoption of her daughter, Kotb is careful to keep the story gender-neutral (with the exception of one illustration) and open a diverse cross-section of families: the narrator could represent a mother or a father, and could be a biological, adopted, step-parent, or other types of caregiver, allowing for many types of families to feel a personal connection to the story. Both the text and the art have a soothing, dreamy quality that makes for a perfect bedtime read, including a gorgeous reoccurring cosmic motif that serves as a beautiful visual metaphor for the story’s theme.”

4. Mama’s Belly (Kate Hosford, illus. Abigail Halpin)

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The unnamed young protagonist knows her baby sister is on the way – she can see the swell of her Mama’s belly like a rising sea. And she has a number of questions about the new arrival: Will her sister know her, when she arrives? Will she have freckles like her? Will the girl have to share her beloved blanket with the baby? And lastly, will her parents have enough love for her and the baby to share?

“Gentle, warm, and simply lovely. There’s a sincere and almost meditative quality in which the narrative of the family’s day unfolds, inviting the reader into the mind of the curious, and perhaps a bit anxious, big-sister-to-be. Then, as her parents comfort her with reassuring and encouraging words, the soothing text and vivid, inviting illustrations wrap around the reader like a cozy blanket. The art is just beautiful, bringing the audience into a comfy house bursting with color in rich, warm tones.”

5. Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide For New Arrivals (Mo Willems)

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Welcome! You have officially been born, and are now experiencing life. It’s a big, complicated thing to do, so we hope that this introductory guide will help you navigate some of the major points. Occasionally, there may be disappointments, like injustice or spilled ice cream. But there are people working to make this world better for you all the time, and we can share our ice cream. Overall, there will be much to experience; the good, the bad, and the very silly. We’re so glad that you are you, and that you are here, and that we are reading this book together.

“Using a instruction manual-style layout and his signature tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, Willems has created a story that captures both the lightness and gravity of welcoming an infant into the family and the world. Sections of silly comedy combine moments of earnest honesty and hope to give the book a weight beyond its whimsy, and simple yet bold block illustrations are perfect for the tiniest bookworm’s developing eyesight. […] A wonderful book for those welcoming a new addition to the world[…]”

 

That’s our list! We’d also like to note two favorites not on this list: Little Big Girl by Claire Keane and Love Is by Diane Adams! Both are gorgeous and touching stories, and the only reason we didn’t include them here is because we’ve featured them in previous lists. Did we miss any of your favorites? Do you have a book you would like to recommend to us? Let us know in the comments, or message us from our Contact page. Thanks so much!

Top 5: PoC Protagonists

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Hello, friends! It’s the end of February, and so it’s time for another Top 5 list. As you know, February is Black History Month, and The Baby Bookworm dedicated our Friday reviews to books that celebrate the lives and achievements of historical black Americans. For our Top 5, however, we thought that we would instead recognize some of our favorite books that feature fictional protagonists of color.

As we mentioned in our Top 5 last month, people of color are woefully underrepresented in children’s literature. For instance, only 7.6% of children’s books released in 2015 featured characters who were black (by contrast, 73.3% of books featured white characters, and 12.5% featured non-human characters like animals or vehicles). And while children’s books about African-American history are immensely important, having kidlit that feature ordinary, everyday PoC characters that young children can relate to is just as vital. So for our Top 5 this month, and in no particular order, we would like to highlight some wonderful children’s books that feature black/PoC protagonists:

1. The Princess And The Pony (Kate Beaton)

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An awesome, and uproariously funny, girl power story to start this list off right! Princess Pinecone and her desire to be a great warrior are thwarted when, instead of the fierce battle steed she wishes for, she is given a roly-poly pony with a cuddly heart of gold. Adorable cartoonish illustrations set the stage perfectly, but the story will surprise you with an unexpected twist that gives it miles of heart. Additionally, Pinecone’s ferocity as a warrior is never questioned or doubted due to her gender, and her society is depicted as being one of many colors, shapes, and sizes – ponies included.

2. More-igami (Dori Kleber)

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Part-origami instruction manual, part-story about learning a new skill and the hard work and dedication it can take to do so. Joey loves everything that fold: accordions, old maps, even fold-away beds! So when a classmate’s mother shows him the art of origami, he wants to learn how to make beautiful folded paper art as best as he can, practicing day and night – and occasionally, to the inconvenience of his family! This is a wonderfully-illustrated (by G. Brian Karas) and thoroughly fun story about having the tenacity to follow a passion, and even features instructions for readers to attempt an origami craft of their own.

3. Twenty Yawns (Jane Smiley)

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A very different sort of bedtime book that appeals to readers old and young. Lucy is the only one in her house left awake in the silvery hour of twilight and, finding her atmosphere a bit spooky, gathers her stuffed animal friends to snuggle into bed with, finding her own courage along the way. Written by Smiley, and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, with a nostalgic air and gentle magic, it’s a sweet tale about finding confidence in being kind to others. Bonus: the titular twenty yawns are sprinkled throughout the book so readers can enjoy finding and counting them.

4. How To Find Gold (Viviane Schwarz)

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A story of exploration, daring to dream, and friendship. Anna and her crocodile friend set their minds to do something dangerous and difficult: they are going to find gold. They know they need to be good secret-keepers, so they practice their secret-keeping faces. They know they need a map with an X, so they draw one. And though, once they set sail, there’s a scary storm on the horizon, they sail in without fear, because they know that nothing is every too scary or dangerous or difficult with a good friend at your side. With cute then breathtaking (then cute again) illustrations and a charmingly childlike text and plot, this one is perfect for the dreamers.

5. Explorers Of The Wild (Cale Atkinson)

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An exhilarating and gorgeous story about friendship and exploration (again!). Every good explorer need guts, ingenuity, curiosity, and skill. With these qualities, one can explore the wild without fear. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can even find a friend to share your explorations with you. And while you may one day have to part, you will both always have the memories of conquering the wild together. Atkinson’s fantastic illustrations are full of both grandeur and quiet moments, with a wonderful sense of the indestructible feeling of adventuring in nature as a child as well as the bittersweet reality that while sometimes friendships must end, they are always precious.

There we are! A Top 5 filled with some of our favorite PoC protagonists! Also, we want to include two honorable mentions: Ada Twist, Scientist, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, and Grace For President, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, two of our favorite girl-power books that also have stellar PoC protagonists. The only reason we didn’t include them in this list is because we’d featured them before. What do you think? Did we leave any of your favorites out? Let is know in the comments, or message us from out Contact page. Thanks so much for reading!

King Baby (Kate Beaton)


Hello, everyone! Our book today is the hilarious King Baby by Kate Beaton, a story of a little baby with a rather regal bearing.

When King Baby is born, it is clear that he is the ruler of all he surveys. People crowd around to greet and fawn over him. He is given mountains of gifts as tribute. His loyal servants (otherwise known as Mommy and Daddy) fulfill his every need and whim, even if they are occasionally simple fools who do not understand his instructions. Truly, he is a great and mighty king. But soon, he may become even greater, and transcend to an even higher level: the “Big Boy”!

This book was so much fun to read, and I was laughing all the way through. While King Baby and his imperious dialogue were entertaining for JJ, the text and concept of the book are filled with tongue-in-cheek humor for parents. Beaton’s signature comic style makes it feel like this is as much a book for grown-ups as it is for baby bookworms and, as someone who reads a LOT of children’s books, that’s something I appreciate. Add to that the charming and colorful illustrations and a perfect length for little ones, and you’ve got a book that is sure to please readers of all ages. We can’t recommend this one enough, it was fantastic! Baby Bookworm approved!

The Princess And The Pony (Kate Beaton)

Summer Reading Day 87: Hello friends! Ms. J was having a bit of a rough day with teething, so a funny girl-power story was just the ticket, and we were not disappointed with The Princess And The Pony by Kate Beaton! 

Princess Pinecone wants nothing more for her birthday than a mighty steed so she can be a fierce warrior like the rest of her clan, but come her big day, she finds that they have gotten her a roly-poly pony who hasn’t a lick of killer instinct. She attempts to train him, but to no avail. At last, on the day of a big battle, Princess Pinecone rides her steed into battle and finds, much to her surprise, that he has strengths she had never considered before!

This book was so awesome! The story was incredibly cute, and the text was silly and fun to read. The illustrations are fun, colorful and cartoony, and will make you fall as much in love with the stout little pony as the characters do. Plus, the message puts a fantastic twist on “everybody has their own unique talents”; the reader assumes going into the climactic battle that the pony will be tougher or braver than previously thought, but instead, his talent has been apparent all along, and instead of conforming to the expectation of the tough warrior lifestyle, he and his princess win the day by being sweet and gentle, and showing that everyone has a soft side. We loved this one! Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!