Little Bear And His Chair (Claressa Swensen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Bear And His Chair, written by Claressa Swensen and illustrated by Alena Paklina, a sweet tale about the benefits of sharing.

Little Bear has a favorite chair, a special place where he likes to sit, relax, and feel calm. In fact, he loves his chair so much that he tells all his other animal friends to stay away, and even puts up signs – no one else is allowed to sit there! That is, until the day that Ryan the Lion, tired from walking, sits for just a few moments to rest his feet… in Bear’s chair! Little Bear yells at Ryan, and sends him off in tears. When the other animals hear about this, they decide not to spend time with Little Bear anymore; what kind of friend cares more about a chair? Feeling remorseful for yelling at his friend, and realizing how lonely being so selfish can be, Little Bear begins to wonder what’s more important: protecting his chair, or protecting his friendships.

Very sweet. This indie title thrives in its simplicity: a classic story of sharing and of being a good friend, some absolutely darling storybook illustrations with charmingly cute characters, and text that is perfect for beginner bookworms. There’s nothing here that really breaks the mold, but it doesn’t have to: the message is timeless, and the story will delight any young reader. There are a few narrative missteps, such as one case of an abrupt change in narrative perspective, and it would have been nice if Ryan and Little Bear’s relationship had been established before their falling out (it’s mentioned that they are best friends, but not until after their confrontation). But overall, this a cute story with a great length and pacing, and JJ liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Pie Is For Sharing (Stephanie Parsley Ledyard)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pie Is For Sharing, written by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and illustrated by Jason Chin, a sweet story about friendship, community, and the simple joys of summer.

Following a gathering of families for a day at the lakeside, the text begins with the titular sentiment: “pie is for sharing.” It starts as a round thing, but it can then be cut into as many pieces as you need, so everyone can have a slice. Lots of other things are for sharing, too: books, toy boats, music, stories, climbing trees, hugs – there are so many things you can share with the people around you, and the people you care about. Night breezes, berries, the last slice of homemade bread, and fireworks – these are made for sharing too. “Just like pie.”

At first, this can be read as a simple ode to summer – swimming, picnicking, playing in the sand with friends, enjoying a fireworks show as a community. The art certainly captures the joyful, carefree atmosphere of children in summertime, creating a lovely sense of nostalgia on every page. But not far beneath the surface appeal, there is a fantastic message about community and diversity to be found. The gathered families are a rainbow of skintones and ethnicities, they and their children joining together in eating a meal, playing, and sharing. With this, it becomes a story about sharing our world, our neighborhood, and ourselves with others, and experiencing the happiness that doing so brings. Otherwise, the length is great, and JJ loved the detailed, cheerful illustrations. This is a warm summer’s day of a book: relaxing, bright, and leaving the reader with a sense of comforting hope. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

I Am The Boss Of This Chair (Carolyn Crimi)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the delightful I Am The Boss Of This Chair, written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Marisa Morea, an adorable story of two cats learning the value of sharing.

Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III is boss of many things in his home. The toilet paper, the food dish, his toy mouse Bruce, but ESPECIALLY of his favorite chair. So when his owner brings home a new kitten, Oswald is decidedly put out. Pom Pom doesn’t understand the rules at all, eating whenever he feels like it, playing with the toilet paper without permission, even sitting on Oswald’s chair! When Oswald catches him playing with Bruce, it’s the last straw; he chases Pom Pom all over the house, earning both of them a scolding. Seeing how frightened and confused Pom Pom is, Oswald begins to wonder if he really needs all the space on the chair to himself. Offering Pom Pom a spot to make him feel better, Oswald begins to realize that being the boss of things can be lonely, but sharing them can earn him the most precious treasure yet: a friend.

We LOVED this one. An exciting, clever, and funny plot told from the deliciously particular feline point-of-view – a real treat for cat lovers who know the inherent regal attitude of their pets. The bright colors and adorable character design had JJ literally screeching with delight, especially during the action sequence. Plus, there’s a great message about how sharing opens us up to friendship and bonding, and encouragement to empathize with younger kids and siblings. The length was great, and we both adored this, so it’s definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

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

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.)

Rulers Of The Playground (Joseph Kuefler)

Hello, friends! We’ve finally had a chance to visit our new library and check out some books! The one we’ll be reviewing today is Rulers Of The Playground by Joseph Kuefler, the tale of two would-be conquerors fighting over some hotly-contested grounds.

At the playground one day, Jonah decides to declare himself ruler. He asks for the fealty of his fellow kids, and they all agree, not wanting to miss out on their favorite playground activities. Jonah is mostly a fair ruler, but sometimes not. Lennox doesn’t like this much, so she annexes half of the playground and declares herself ruler. Once again, the other children take an oath of loyalty so they can continue using the swings. And Lennox is a fair ruler… until she’s not. Jonah and Lennox don’t like having to share the playground with the other, so they begin laying claim to previously neutral ground, ultimately alienating all their playmates with their shenanigans. Can Jonah and Lennox make things right and earn their friends back?

This was an interesting book, and worked on a lot of levels. On the surface, it’s a story about learning to share and to treat others and your common spaces with respect. However, there are also some more subtle and more advanced themes at play here as well: what it means to be a good leader, how those in charge can often forget that their responsibility is to those who serve them, and the necessity of sitting down to compromise instead of fighting. The illustrations are clever, featuring expressive characters against minimal backgrounds to highlight the importance of the people instead of the playground they’re fighting over. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it. A multi-layered read with some great lessons to glean, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!