Baby Librarians

Where Marian & Tilly Have Some Serious Book Discussions

Baby Librarians Tilly and Marian Shelving Books
A mother and daughter hug

Book review of Homemade Love by bell hooks, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Baby Librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review the lovable board book Homemade Love by bell hooks, illustrated by Shane W. Evans.

Book cover of Homemade Love by bell hooks

Marian Reviews Homemade Love

This book is about all the nicknames a little girl’s mommy calls her, and how her parents love her. My mommy calls me lots of nicknames, but none as creative as in the book. In the book, the mommy calls her daughter “Girlpie,” and I especially liked the nickname “Daddy’s honey bun chocolate dew drop.” It sounds neat.

Mommy calls me Goose Girl and Silly Goose a lot. She used to call me Empress, but lately she’s stopped. I’m still an empress though. Sometimes we play a game where she calls me “her little tiny itty bitty tiny little baby girl” and she holds me like a little baby and rocks me and it’s a funny game because I’m such a big girl now! I’m going to be bigger than mommy any day now, I just know it.

Oh, I forgot. Mommy calls me her giantess as well. I take after Daddy.

My favorite page is when the little girl’s daddy flies her through the air above his head. I like this game too! Both Mommy and Daddy play it with me. Mommy pretends she’s going to throw me and it makes me giggle a lot.

I also like the page where she’s tucked under the covers with all her stuffed animals. I’m not allowed to go to bed with blankets or stuffed animals! It’s unfair. As soon as I can articulate the words, I’m going to demand that Mommy lets me sleep with at least Hippity, and maybe the baby doggie Gramma gave me too.

I definitely recommend this book. I’m glad to read about other children with parents who love them as much as mine love me.

Marian reads Homemade Love by bell hooks

Margaret reviews Homemade Love

When I saw this at the library, I was so excited! bell hooks! I love bell hooks. If you’re unfamiliar with her work, she’s a black, feminist writer. She has many books, but the two I’ve read are Teaching to Transgress and Feminism is for Everybody.

In Homemade Love, she writes a poem about the sweet nicknames a mom gives to her daughter, and how the daughter feels loved by her parents. It’s precious and lovely. I’d forgotten bell hooks writes poetry, but I actually have Appalachian Elegy sitting on my bookshelf! Time to pick it up.

I didn’t realize she wrote children’s books as well, and I see a few on her Goodreads’ list. I plan to read them all.

Has anyone read any of her other children’s books?

The illustrations by Shane W. Evans are the kind of cute that looks like a kid’s drawing, but also like a painting.

This would make a great addition to any board book collection.

Spread of Click Clack Moo

Baby book review: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

Baby Librarian Tilly and her mummy Jen review the classic Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Betsy Lewin.

Baby librarian Tilly reviews Click, Clack, Moo

This is a great book with animals and tension and intrigue! It takes place on a farm, and the cows have learnt how to type. They want electric blankets because it gets cold at night and they go on strike until they get what they want. Then the hens want electric blankets too! And they go on strike! Farmer Brown gets very mad. He says he can’t be a farmer without eggs and milk. Whatever will happen! Will the cows and hens get their electric blankets? Will Farmer Brown get his milk and eggs? Also I like the pictures in this. You can see the brush strokes and I like that. And when Mummy reads this she does good cow noises. I like it when she does animal noises (her sheep noises are the best).

Tilly reading Click Clack Moo.

Tilly contemplating the drama.

Jen reviews Click, Clack, Moo

Such a fun book to read! There’s a great story about farm animals wanting a change in their circumstances and how they go about getting that change. You’re never too young to learn about workers’ rights, fair working conditions, and the effectiveness of strikes. Though it’s a tad unrealistic to think that cows would want electric blankets. Their stomachs and digestive systems mean that they are plenty warm. And I don’t think the ultimatum that is delivered by Duck, the neutral party, is really an ultimatum at all — it’s more of a demand. Farmer Brown wasn’t offering them anything, just telling them what he wants. But this is a minor quibble on my part, and I still love the book. This is another book that has infiltrated my everyday conversations. There was one night recently where Tilly was reaching for my boobs and I told her that the milk factory was closed. I wanted an electric blanket.

Baby book club: Leo: A ghost story by Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson

Welcome to another baby book club! Today we’re discussing Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Leo book cover

Tilly: This book is about a ghost named Leo. It’s quite good. Leo looks nice, with a good smile and a fringe like mine. I like ghosts and Leo seems like a good ghost to have as a friend. Do you like ghosts? Some people think ghosts are scary but Mummy says I’m brave so I’m not scared.

Marian: Leo’s hair does look like yours! That’s funny. Leo is my first encounter with a ghost, and based on this book, I definitely like ghosts. He reads, he serves food, and he likes to play. I want to be friends with him. I think it’s really mean that the first family didn’t want to be friends with him just because they couldn’t see him. So what? I would definitely still eat food that came floating toward me. And I’d say thank you.

Tilly: I like the pictures in this book. They’re mostly blue which I think is my favourite colour. I’m still trying to decide my favourite colour but blue is definitely up there. What’s your favourite colour?

Marian: My eyes are blue! It’s funny how we both have things in common with this book. Your hair is like Leo’s, and my eyes are like the art. Lately orange is my favorite color. I keep seeing orange pumpkins and I like to point them out to Mommy.

Tilly: I thought it was sad that Leo had to leave his house and become a roaming ghost. It must not be very nice to be kicked out of your home. I kind of have two homes. My real home where I sleep almost every night but also my grandma and grandpa’s house because I go there a lot.

Marian: That’s cool! I only have one home, and I can’t imagine being kicked out of it. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I could live in the library, though. Then I could play with all the books.

Marian plays with Leo: A Ghost Story in bed

 

Tilly: Leo has some fun adventures though when he becomes a roaming ghost. I like that bit. I liked the picture of the city and especially the page with the police officer and the woof. Woofs are the best. I’d like to go on an adventure with Leo.

Marian: I wish I had a woof to play with.

Tilly: And! The best bit about Leo becoming a roaming ghost is that he makes a friend! Her name is Jane. I have lots of friends. My mummy says all my soft toys are my friends and she always asks why I killed them after I throw them on the floor. Mummy doesn’t understand that my friends like being thrown on the floor. Silly Mummy. Do you have lots of friends too? Do they like being murdered?

Marian: I love throwing my stuffed animal friends! And I agree — they enjoy it. I also snuggle them. And eat them. I’m glad Jane has an imaginary dog friend too, so Leo still has a woof to play with. What makes imaginary friends different from non-imaginary friends, I wonder? Can you still throw them on the floor?

Tilly: The scariest part of the story is the robber. I was a tiny little bit scared when the robber showed up. Were you scared? Do you like being scared? I kind of like being scared sometimes.

Marian: Oh, I don’t like being scared at all. Almost every night I wake Mommy and Daddy up so they can hold me because I had a scary dream. But I’m not scared when they hold me. Parents are very good at chasing scary things away. I wasn’t scared of the robber because I thought he was funny tip toeing everywhere, but it’s cool that Leo chased him away! That was exciting.

Tilly: Overall, this was a very good book. It was lovely to listen to, Leo is the best ghost, and the pictures are blue and pretty. Thank you for reading and discussing it with me!

Marian: It was fun!

Tilly and Marian have more Book Clubs if you would like to join in on the fun!

Baby book review of Good Morning World by Paul Windsor

Baby Librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review the gorgeous board book Good Morning World by Paul Windsor.

Cover of Good Morning World by Paul Windsor

Marian reviews Good Morning World

I really get this book. I’m always in a good mood in the morning, and I like going around and saying “good morning!” to everything, in my own baby language. Mommy helps me do this by taking me around the house and saying “Good morning!” to everything I point at. She also opens the blinds and curtains and says “Good morning!” to everything outside, and tells me what everything is. This is very helpful for my vocabulary.

Similarly, on each page of this board book, it says “Good morning” to different animals and outdoorsy things. I like how friendly the book is! Paul Windsor must be a morning person like me and unlike Mommy, who says she pretends to be a morning person for my sake. I’ve seen some of the animals in this book at the zoo, and I will make sure to say good morning to them the next time I go. I like how bright the animals are in the pictures. I’ve never seen animals illustrated like this before.

Marian with Good Morning World by Paul Windsor

Margaret reviews Good Morning World

This is one of the more beautiful board books I’ve seen. The Indigenous American author and illustrator — Paul Windsor — uses a distinctive and bold style of art. The images are like woodcuts, but filled with bright colors. Windsor is a member of the Haisla and Heiltsuk nations, and when I looked up the Haisla Nation’s website, I found that their emblem and some of the art featured on their site is very similar to the art in this book. It’s lovely.

As Marian mentions, since reading this book, I’ve started a ritual in the mornings where we say good morning to everything we see. Well, I say good morning, she points and waves and babbles. I’m considering stepping out on the patio to say good morning to nature before we get ready, but it’s cold, and I don’t like being cold. But I really should! Instead, I’ve been opening all the blinds and saying good morning to everything I see outside. Windsor discusses on the back of the book similar experiences growing up, and how that inspired the book.

This is a must for a board book collection. I’m definitely checking out more children’s books published by Paul Windsor and published by Native Explore. I see there’s also Good Night World, which I must have!

Spread of Rain by Linda Ashman

Baby book review: Rain! by Linda Ashman and Christian Robinson

Baby Librarian Tilly and her mummy Jen review the board book Rain! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Rain-cover

Tilly reviews Rain!

Mummy read this book to me just in time! There was rain the other night! Proper rain where you could see rain drops bounce off the road. It was the first time in my entire life that I had seen rain like that (it doesn’t rain very much where I live). This book doesn’t have many words and the story is mostly in the pictures. That’s kind of cool. There is a grumpy old man who I don’t think likes the rain (or anything at all, really). And there is a little boy who loves the rain! He has a frog hat. That is probably why he likes the rain. He’s a frog! And then the grumpy old man and the little frog boy meet and he turns into a frog too. I wish it rained more. I liked the rain.

Jen reviews Rain!

Tilly isn’t quite accurate when she says the grumpy old man turns into a frog too. I mean, he kind of does. But the book is really more about perspective and kindness. The book isn’t great for reading aloud, because the words are sparing and the story is really in the illustrations. This would be a great book for discussing with Tilly when she’s a bit older. I love the details in the pictures, especially the scenes in the cafe. This book makes me wish I could curl up inside on a rainy day with a cup of hot chocolate.

Baby book review: The Princess and the Pea by Chloe Perkins

Baby Librarian Marian and her mommy review the board book Once Upon the World: The Princess and the Pea by Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova.

Cover of The Princess and the Pea by Chloe Perkins

Marian Reviews The Princess and the Pea

Marian hangs onto a shelf at the library

I couldn’t get Marian to cooperate and pose with the book, but here she is at the library on the day we checked it out.

Mommy says this book is like Rapunzel, and I do see some similarities, but mostly they’re very different. Both are hard and chewable, and that’s nice. I have lots of chewable books, though Mommy doesn’t want me chewing on this one because she says it’s a library book. But I don’t see why that should make any difference. If they’re so similar, shouldn’t I be able to chew on both?

The colors are more muted in this board book, and no one has really long hair. I was disappointed by that, but I wouldn’t have been disappointed if Mommy hadn’t told me it was like Rapunzel.

Also, I’m unclear why the prince can’t be friends with all the princesses he meets? They all seem so nice. The prince must be kinda boring if he doesn’t want a friend who tells jokes, or sings pretty. I guess he only likes to travel, and that’s why he can only be friends with the traveling princess. So it’s good that they can both be friends. But maybe he should be a little more accepting.

I must be a princess too, because I’m very particular about my sleep.

Margaret Reviews The Princess and the Pea

So far, Marian and I have reviewed two books from the Once Upon a World series by Chloe Perkins. We’ve read all of them, and eventually we’ll review them all! Like Marian, Rapunzel is my favorite of the collection, but I also like The Princess and the Pea. One of the reasons this one stands out is that the prince and princess talk and get to know one another and actually fall in love before they marry. No love at first sight kinda thing, which I’m not a fan of.

Each book in the series takes place in a different country. The Princess and the Pea is set in Russia. I love how the illustrations make it immediately apparent where each book takes place. The Princess and the Pea looks like it could be set during Catherine the Great’s reign, though given the story, it definitely is not. Catherine the Great was no one’s princess.

Every parent who loves fairy tales needs these board books.

 

Child playing with toys and books

Baby book review: Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

Baby Librarian Tilly and her mummy Jen review the classic Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley.

diary of a wombat book cover

Baby Librarian Tilly reviews Diary of a Wombat

I really like this book! The wombat writes a compelling diary. I have some important things in common with the wombat. I often sleep after eating, and eat after sleeping (the wombat seems to sleep more than I do, though — weak). Importantly, we both are good at training our humans to cater to our demands. The wombat scratches and breaks things to train her human; I just cry. Sometimes scream. The book doesn’t rhyme but it’s still fun to listen to. The pictures are good.

Mummy Jen reviews Diary of a Wombat

A charming and delightful book! The wombat is not a particularly verbose creature so many of her diary entries are just ‘Monday. Morning. Slept.’ and so on. She trains her humans to feed her the foods she wants (it starts with carrots), and you see all her adventures like when she battles the laundry and the welcome mat. Like Tilly, this wombat has attitude. The illustrations are perfect and it feels Australian (I think it’s the clothesline. Maybe the wombat.) As far as ‘animals eating food’ books go, I like this one more than The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Dia de los Muertos Spread

Book review: Día de los Muertos by Hannah Eliot

Baby librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review the recent board book Celebrate the World: Día de los Muertos by Hannah Eliot, illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez.

cover of dia de los muertos by Hannah Eliot

Baby Librarian Marian Reviews Día de los Muertos

I made Mommy re-read the beginning of this several times, because every time she started it, I took it away from her. The art is so interesting; I needed to inspect it closer. It’s unlike any of the pictures in all my other books. All the people have big white teeth like me. I only have six teeth right now, but most of the people have more teeth than that in the pictures. And there are friendly looking skulls and skeletons on every page. It’s very interesting. I like all the teeth and skeletons. None of my other books have skeletons in them, something Mommy needs to rectify, especially since they’re so friendly.

Honestly, I stopped listening to Mommy while she finished the book so I could throw all the books off my bookshelf. It’s a really fun game, and while I like the book, I like reorganizing all my books onto the floor even better, at least, right now I do.

Marian’s Mommy Margaret Reviews Día de los Muertos

Marian dressed as Phantom of the Opera for Halloween

Marian and I celebrated Halloween early at the zoo. She’s dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, and I as Madame Giry.

I love this new board book series from the makers of the Once Upon a World board books. So far, I’ve read two books from the Celebrate the World series: Ramadan and Día de los Muertos. I’m looking forward to collecting them all. Much like the Once Upon a World series, there’s one central author — in this case, Hannah Eliot, who I couldn’t find much about — and the illustrations are all by artists from the culture that practices each celebration. Día de los Muertos is illustrated by Mexican animator Jorge R. Gutierrez. The illustrations are very interesting. You would think a book covered in skeletons would be scary, but Gutierrez’s illustrations are comical, almost farcical with the exaggerated teeth and eyes, as Marian noticed.

It’s also somewhat bilingual, which is excellent! Every word isn’t translated, but key words on every page are also in Spanish.

This is the kind of board book that can grow with the child. Marian at ten months loves the colors, and can chew on it without harming it. It’s also a fun one for parent’s to read, because I learn more about the celebration. But I imagine Marian at ten will enjoy the information in the book, and will want to learn more about the day of the dead. And also, I remember ten-year-old me thought skeletons were cool, and I imagine that’s a pretty common kid thing (right?).

This is the perfect book to add to your Halloween/Day of the Dead book collection.

Spread from Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Baby book review: Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Book cover of Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Baby librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins, a new Halloween picture book.

Baby Librarian Marian Reviews Stumpkin

Marian reads StumpkinI immediately knew I would like this picture book because of how bright the inside page is. It’s orange brick, and very pretty! Each page has pumpkins sitting on a store shelf, and I like pointing to each pumpkin. They’re a bright orange, and everything else is gray, black, and white. I like how bright the pumpkins are. It’s easy to tell what the book is about.

I’ll admit, I’m not entirely sure what these people do with the pumpkins after they buy them, and why. Mommy told me at Halloween, people buy pumpkins and carve faces into them. This seems very silly. Why wouldn’t they eat the pumpkin? Pumpkins are for eating. Daddy made a pumpkin pie today and Mommy let me try a bite. Pumpkins are very good to eat. But I like faces too. I guess I just need to see one, but Mommy says we’re not carving a pumpkin this year.

I especially like that Stumpkin gets to stay with the cat. My first word was cat! I would want to stay with the kitty cat too, and such a friendly looking cat! I love her already!

I can empathize with Stumpkin. Sometimes, Mommy and Daddy do things like cut vegetables with knives and put food in the oven, and they won’t let me do it too, and that makes me really sad, though it mostly makes me angry. I wonder if Stumpkin was also angry at all the customers for not choosing him? I hope not. It’s not a good feeling. I’m glad he got what he wanted in the end though, and that the store keeper didn’t eat him, even though he would’ve tasted very good. I doubt stems have anything to do with taste.

Marian’s Mommy Margaret Reviews Stumpkin

Stumpkin is truly a beautiful picture book. As Marian noticed, the pumpkins really pop in the black, white, and gray surroundings. It did not surprise me at all to learn that the author and illustrator — Lucy Ruth Cummins — is an art director. The spreads where Stumpkin comes alive as he’s carved are surprising and delightful. The story is also adorable, and apparently based on a true story!

I’m glad Stumpkin found a home and got to fulfill his dream of becoming a jack-o-lantern, both in real life and in the book. I’m also glad he inspired this picture book. While there are plenty of pages, the words are sparse and simple. Because of that, it’s a great read for younger ages as well as older children. While Marian is only 10-months-old, we read through it front to back in one sitting. As a side note, the pages are really nice and thick, like card stock. It looks and feels like a special book.

I would highly recommend Stumpkin for Halloween!

If you’re looking for more Halloween kid lit recommendations, the Baby Librarians have you covered!

Sample pages from Soup Day by Iwai

Baby book review: Soup Day by Melissa Iwai

Baby Librarian Tilly and her mummy Jen review the yummy Soup Day by Melissa Iwai.

soup day book cover

Baby Librarian Tilly’s review of Soup Day

This book is great! It’s all about food and I love food. In this book, a little girl and her mum make soup because it’s soup day. You see them go to the shop to buy the ingredients and you see what they buy. Then they go home and wash the vegetables and chop them into bits and then they cook them and make soup. And then they play and read while the soup is cooking and then her daddy comes home and they get to eat soup! My mummy takes me grocery shopping with her and we pick out vegetables just like in the book. She doesn’t let me chop things even though I’m a VERY good kitchen helper. I can take everything out of the bottom drawers and throw them all over the kitchen! I’m also very good at eating. I bet I could eat all the soup from this book.

Mummy Jen reviews Soup Day

I love this book because it highlights the more quotidian aspects of life, and it seems to be my life in a nutshell. All I seem to do these days is plan food, shop for food, cook food, and clean up after food is done. And entertain and read to a baby. The only way this book could be more true to my life is if there was also laundry incorporated into the story. It has been said that it’s nice to see your own life and experiences reflected in the books you read, and this holds true for shitty housewives and picture books too. (I will say that the soup doesn’t seem like it would be that filling, though — there’s no protein in it!)

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