A Mother Is a House by Aurore Petit

Cover image.

A Mother Is a House by Aurore Petit (9781776573233)

This touching picture book looks at a mother through the eyes of her baby. A mother is so many things, starting by being a house that the baby grows inside. Then a pouch where the baby is carried around town. She is a fountain of breast milk, a port in a crowded room, a mirror that reflects the baby, an island in the bath. She is protection from strangers, a doctor when needed, someone to play with or on top of. She is so many things, but most importantly she is home.

Petit has created a rhyming picture book just right for toddlers. The writing celebrates the role of a mother, showing all the various ways in which she protects, embraces, adores, and supports her baby. The book moves from the mother being pregnant all the way through to the baby becoming a toddler, clearly gaining skills and age as the pages turn. The writing is simple and never sing-songy. The art is modern and bright, using clean lines and a jaunty attitude. The images show a modern mother in an urban setting along with a father who is present and contributes his share.

A colorful celebration of baby and motherhood. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Gecko Press.

Mama Baby by Chris Raschka

Mama Baby by Chris Raschka

Mama Baby by Chris Raschka (9780763690601)

This very simple picture book is just right for infants and toddlers to share with their parents. It’s a story about a mother and baby who smile and then clap to each other. Eyes are then covered. Peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake games are played. But then a phone rings or alarm sounds, calling mama away. Now it is just baby on the page, looking surprised at the reader and then bursting into tears and asking to be picked up. Together again, held close, the two wave goodbye to the reader.

Told in only the barest of words, this picture book is much more about the illustrations which show a warm and loving relationship between mother and baby. The modern interruption of a musical sound happening off the page shows how the connection between mother and child stays strong. Done in watercolor, the illustrations are simple with emotions clear on the faces.

Bound to be a board book too, this is a great first picture book. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick.

 

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by AG Ford (9780374307523)

A family of father, mother and baby play across the pages of this picture book. As the sun begins to set, they head home from a day outside. Baby heads across the floor, crawling and almost standing. As dinner is being made, he throws things out of his playpen. Then he gets to bang pots and pans for awhile before dinner. He gets fussy and hungry just in time to make a tremendous mess eating. Then it’s bath time before getting ready for bed. The family dances together until it’s time for stories and sleep. 

This book is just perfect for little ones, allowing brown babies to see themselves on the page and babies of other colors to celebrate them. The family is warm and lovely, just right for a toddler bedtime read. The cozy factor is huge here, rather like a hug made into a book. The sprinkling of Spanish phrases throughout the story adds so much. Ford’s illustrations glow with warmth on the page, filling them with toddler activities in a busy family. 

A beautiful glimpse of an evening in the life of a family. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Farrar Straus & Giroux.

Review: Nine Months by Miranda Paul

Nine Months Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin (9780823441617)

A mother, father and their daughter come home from a wintry walk with their dog. They curl up together in bed to read a book about having a new baby. On the opposite page, the growth of the baby begins, starting with one cell that divides getting bigger with each turn of the page. Their busy days take them to the doctor for an ultrasound, assembling the crib, and lots of quality time just spent with one another. As the seasons change, so does the size of the mother’s tummy. Growing to match, the images of the baby in the womb get larger and become actual size. Crowded onto the page, the baby finally arrives and enters the light and wonder of their new family.

I haven’t seen another picture book like this, where the illustrations have a friendly story that can be shared, but also show the details of what is happening inside a mother’s womb as the baby develops. The text has a lovely rhythm and rhyme that is hopeful and filled with joy. The final pages add to the information with more details on babies, answers to questions about them, about how animals and humans are different in gestation, and also questions about what if something else happens.

The illustration by Chin are simply lovely. He fills both of the pages on each spread with light, so readers can really take a close look at the developing fetus. The other side offers slanting sun as the days pass by in expectation of the new little one. Throughout the illustrations, there is a sense of wonder and anticipation that will be shared by children soon to be new siblings.

A great book for children who are expecting a new baby in their family, this book is a lovely mix of science and love. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Neal Porter Books.

Review: Baby Day by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell

Baby Day by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell

Baby Day by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell, illustrated by Freya Blackwood (9781481470346)

Today is baby’s birthday! So it’s time to have a party and a bunch of other babies are invited to the fun. The party is outside and as the babies arrive, so does a friendly dog that belongs to one of the families. There are cautious babies, friendly ones. Babies who worry for others and babies who are brave enough to use the big slide. There are fussy babies, crying babies, and eventually tired babies. Along with the babies, there are ice cream cones and plenty of cake before it’s time to head home.

Godwin and Bell show exactly what happens when you get a group of toddlers together. Often they merrily play alongside one another, other times they get upset. The book focuses solely on the party, follows the progression of emotions through, and ends merrily as people head home. It is simply written and a simple story that will work well for sharing with little ones heading to their first birthday party without setting huge expectations. Blackwood’s illustrations really lift this book to a new level. Her gentle and clever depictions of this group of children is done with attention to detail. One can follow each child through the party and their individual story makes sense.

A winning first birthday book just right for the smallest of children. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Review: B Is for Baby by Atinuke

B Is for Baby by Atinuke

B Is for Baby by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank (9781536201666)

Told in a series of “B” words, this book tells the story of a baby who climbs into a basket of bananas. Unnoticed by her busy brother who has headphones on, the basket is loaded onto the back of his bicycle and he heads off across the African landscape. They pass baobab trees, see a baboon, bird and butterfly. The road is bumpy and carries them across a bridge until they reach Baba’s bungalow where Baby is discovered amid the bananas much to her brother’s surprise. The three enjoy a snack together and then the two children journey back together to their mother.

Once again, Atinuke shows the beauty of Africa through a small child’s eyes. With only the simplest of words, she delights in the naughtiness of the baby climbing into the basket and then gives a merry journey for her to experience. Ending with a cookie, what could be sweeter! The illustrations are bright and large, perfect for sharing aloud with a group of toddlers. Filled with animals, people and sweeping landscapes, the illustrations capture the beauty of Africa and its people.

Another big beautiful book by Atinuke, this one is just right for the littlest ones. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick Press.

 

Review: Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron

Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron

Love You Head to Toe by Ashley Barron (9781771473040)

On each page of this book, human babies are compared with animal babies in their activities throughout the day. Baby wakes up like a sea star in the sun. They play like a kitten batting at a butterfly. Baby toddles like a bear cub. They bundle up like a penguin. They eat like a chipmunk, filling their cheeks with food. The book contains many similes and metaphors and even the smallest child will enjoy looking at the animals and the ways that they are just the same.

The text is simple and straight-forward, showing the direct comparisons between baby and animal in a charming way. Activities like crawling, diaper changes, hopping, and toddling make this book accessible to all children. The illustrations show a diverse group of babies, ranging in age from around six months to one year. Done in collage, they are simple enough for little ones and delightful as well.

A winning book for infants and toddlers. Here’s hoping it comes out as a board book soon. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Owlkids.

 

Review: First Laugh – Welcome Baby by Rose Ann Tahe

First Laugh - Welcome, Baby! By Rose Ann Tahe

First Laugh – Welcome, Baby! By Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Flood, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson (9781580897945)

In Navajo tradition, the person who gets a baby to laugh first gets to host the First Laugh Ceremony. So an extended family spends time with their baby attempting to get him to laugh out loud. In a variety of settings from a city home to where he is too hungry to laugh and then too busy eating to giggle. He spends time on the Navajo Nation with his grandparents, time on horseback. Music is played, water splashed, tummies tickled and still no laugh. Until his grandfather lifts him high, his grandmother whispers a prayer. So the ceremony is held on the Navajo Nation and filled with family and more laughter.

There is such love on each page of this book, filled with people spending time with a baby. There are quiet times of weaving and before getting up. There are active times of play. It all comes together into a rich family experience that leads directly to a Navajo tradition. The end of the book offers more information on the settings of the book, the ceremony and ceremonies from other cultures for babies. The illustrations focus on the family as well, depicting the different settings of the book warmly. Just as with the text, there is love on each page.

A warm look at the Navajo First Laugh Ceremony and a great depiction of a modern Native American family. Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy provided by Charlesbridge.

3 Boisterous Noisy Picture Books

Bumpety, Dunkety, Thumpety-Thump! By K. L. Going

Bumpety, Dunkety, Thumpety-Thump! By K. L. Going, illustrated by Simone Shin (9781442434141)

Two young siblings, a brother and sister, head outside with their wagon. They play with pebbles near the pond, pick blueberries and then head home. Each thing makes it’s own noise: the wagon bumpety-bumps, the pebbles dunkety-dunk, and the plunkety-plunk. Back home, they bake the berries in a pie, eat, wash dishes, and then take a bath. These activities too are supported by a rollicking and noise-filled rhyme that carries the story forward with a jaunty vibe. The book ends with bedtime and everyone sharing stories and heartbeats together. This book beautifully combines noises of a day with a loving family story and creates a book that is a dynamic read-aloud for toddlers. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)

Buster and the Baby by Amy Hest

Buster and the Baby by Amy Hest, illustrated by Polly Dunbar (9780763687878)

Buster, a little white dog, is hiding from the baby who is chasing him around the house. Buster tries different spots to hide, but each time, the baby comes and finds him. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP comes the baby, the same noise that Buster’s heart makes as he hides. Then the two dash off together in a wild chase until Buster finds his next hiding place and it begins again. This book begs to be shared aloud, as Hest has created moments of quiet tension and then uproarious frenzy that repeat again and again. The illustrations by Dunbar add to the joy, incorporating panels that let young listeners see the action across pages. A great pick for reading aloud to toddlers. Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Grump Groan Growl by bell hooks

Grump Groan Growl by bell hooks, illustrated by Chris Raschka (9780786808168)

Explore a bad mood in this picture book that takes a look at being very very grumpy. The child in the opening images prowls like a lion, sharp claws at the ready as he grumps across the page. He groans and growls loudly, almost a roar. There is nowhere to escape his foul mood. He feels wild and out of control until he realizes that he can look inside, let that feeling be and let it pass. Hooks speaks to the process of mindfulness about emotions with few words, showing the emotion clearly and then moving into the process to allow that emotion to pass on. Raschka’s illustrations are dark with emotion, tinged with colors that become more tangible as the child regains control. A great pick for mindfulness with children, this book doesn’t reject negative emotions or cling to them either. Appropriate for ages 3-5. (Reviewed from library copy.)