Little Tigers (Jo Weaver)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Tigers by Jo Weaver, third in her touching series about mothers and their little ones.

One night, Mother Tiger hears the sounds of men and dogs near their den, and decides that it’s time to move further into the jungle. The next morning, she and her two cubs, Sera and Puli, set off on a search for a new home. Sera suggests a private, protected nook she knows, a cave behind a waterfall. Mother Tiger explains that it is too wet; to Puli’s suggestion of the branches of a tall tree, she similarly explains the problems with sleeping up too high. Two more locations are explored, neither the right fit for the Tiger family. Growing concerned that they will have nowhere to spend the night, Mother Tiger spots a promising locale: a ruined temple that’s been reclaimed by nature. After investigating, Mother Tiger declares it safe, and she and cubs cuddle together for a good night’s rest.

One of Weaver’s previous books, Little One, is one of my absolute favorite picture books on motherhood, and this one has many of the same elements: themes of family, nature, exploration, and motherly love, wrapped in a package of some absolutely breathtaking illustrations. The story is simple and easy to follow for young bookworms, yet teases weightier subjects – such as human encroachment and the threat to Bengal tigers – that are worthy of consideration and discussion for older readers. The length is fine for bookworms of any age, JJ was enchanted by the lifelike artwork, and, as a mom, it inspired a particularly heartwarming reaction from me. A quiet, lovely tale, 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.)

Everything Is Mama (Jimmy Fallon)

Hello friends, and Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of the occasion, we have a special review today: Everything Is Mama, written by Jimmy Fallon and illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez, the follow-up to the massively popular Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada.

This time around, there’s a new wrinkle in teaching the book’s collection of baby animals to say their parents’ names. Namely, the baby animals don’t seem to have any issue saying “Mama”, it’s that they seem to think that everything – from the sun to a pair of shoes to a flower to a balloon and much more – is called “Mama.” Their patient mommies try their best to teach them the proper words, but to no avail – everything is “Mama”. It’s okay, though – one day the little babies will grow up to understand that not everything is Mama… but that “Mama is everything.”

I had to be one of the few people on the planet who wasn’t a fan of this book’s predecessor, but I went into this one having heard that a lot of my issues with Dada weren’t present here, and that proved to be absolutely true. Once again, the art is simple, clean, and full of basic shapes and familiar creatures, wonderful for little ones learning about animals and objects. And the gag here is really cute, and very relatable and funny for any parent who has tried to convince their little one that not every dog has the same name as their own, and not every dark-haired woman is Mama. The sentiment on the final page gives the story a nice, warm conclusion, the length is good, and JJ enjoyed it. This is a simple and sweet story with a touch of fun and a dash of learning opportunity – it’s a little bit of everything, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Mama’s Belly (Kate Hosford)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mama’s Belly, written by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Abigail Halpin, a vibrantly-colored, yet quiet and touching, look at a little girl as her family prepares for a new baby.

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? Her patient parents answer each question, and the little girl helps to care for her Mama and prepare for the baby. Finally, the girl cuddles against her mother, stretching arms wide around her belly, so that she can hug her mother and the new baby all at once.

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. The multi-ethnic family is a nice choice, the length is great, and JJ loved it. A wonderful way to help prepare little readers for new siblings, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

I’ve Loved You Since Forever (Hoda Kotb)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I’ve Loved You Since Forever, written by Hoda Kotb and illustrated by Suzie Mason, a heartfelt love letter from parent to child.

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. There’s a sea of parent-and-child books out there, but there are a few choices that were made here that really makes this one stand out. 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. It’s a relatively short book, which makes it fine for even the smallest bookworm, and JJ especially loved the hugably adorable animals. A wonderful update on a classic message, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

I Love You For Miles And Miles (Alison Goldberg)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Love You For Miles And Miles, written by Alison Goldberg and illustrated by Mike Yamada, a unique vehicle-themed ode to the love between a mother and child.

A mother bear and her cub (no gender is specified for the latter) have a bond like no other. Her love for her baby is longer than the longest train, whose cars can stretch for miles and miles. It’s faster than the fastest fire truck, rushing to the rescue whenever she’s needed. It’s bigger than the biggest truck, and higher than the highest airplane, and steadier than the steadiest tugboat. And just like the vehicles, it’s always up to the task of helping, protecting, and caring for her little one.

This was pretty darn cute. Motherly love is certainly a theme that has no shortage of picture books, but I liked the twist of using big vehicles to describe a mother’s love – rather than a father’s – to a child of no specific gender. Big vehicle books are often geared towards boys only, and it’s nice that there’s some flexibility here that allows for girls and moms to learn about vehicles while celebrating parental bonds. The illustrations are fine, highlighting the vehicles and the bears’ relationship in visually energetic ways and mostly bright colors. The length is good too, and JJ liked it, so this one is Baby Bookworm approved!

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