Heave Ho!

A young worm is on his way outside to play when a hungry bird sees him. A second worm comes to the first worm’s rescue. The bird calls for help, and a cat joins forces with the bird (an unlikely partnership). Just when the worm thinks his fate is sealed, a third worm joins in. The expressive face of the first worm lets you know when he’s feeling hopeful versus hopeless.

The phrase Heave Ho! is repeated throughout this delightfully playful picture book. Readers of all ages will wonder how this story will turn out. Will all three worms survive? Will the unlikely teamwork among bird, cat and dog last?

Heave Ho! is Jose Lucio’s first book as author and illustrator. We are excited to see what other clever and fun books he comes up with!

Click here to purchase a copy of Heave Ho! (affiliate link).


Interactive Picture Books for Young Readers

I discovered Fly! by Xavier Deneux in the recent arrival section of our local public library branch. It is a stunning board book with movable pieces that complements the story perfectly. Bird arrives at the foot of a tree after a long journey. Time passes and a friend arrives and joins her in the tree. Together they build a nest and raise two baby chicks. Fly! is a sweet story perfect for the youngest of readers. The smallest of hands will enjoy manipulative and maneuvering the pieces from one page to the next in order to help the story develop.


Press Here by Herve Tullet is another delightful read. Follow the directions presented on each page to embark an adventure of fun and imagination. Begin by pressing a single yellow dot and on the next page discover two yellow dots. Press the dot again and now there are three! Press Here is a great read. Even as an adult I enjoyed reading it and seeing the cause and effect relationships that spanned the pages. Let’s Play! is the third book of the series and captures the same whimsy as the first two books with even more movement and unexpected outcomes.

Click here to purchase copies of Fly!, Press Here and Let’s Play! (affiliate links).

The Perfect Book About Winter for Young Readers

Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant is the perfect book for young readers, excited about winter and snow. The five little penguins spy snowflakes drifting down from the sky. They announce excitedly, “Winter is coming!” Then quickly scurry around their igloo preparing to venture outside.

Mittens? Check. Scarves? Check. Socks and boots? Check and check.

This book captures the energy and enthusiasm young ones have for playing in the snow. The text is short and simple, making it accessible for the youngest of readers. Christian Robinson’s stunning pictures include cut paper and acrylic paint. They convey the emotions across the pages perfectly, from excitement to exhaustion.

For example, many grown ups can related to the illustration below that captures exactly what happens when kids return home after playing in the snow.

Little Penguins is the perfect picture book for readers ages 2-6. Younger readers will enjoy pointing at and naming the different items on the pages. Older readers will enjoy reading along and talking about what they notice in the different illustrations. This book is great for comparing and contrasting the seasons and would be a perfect addition to any home library.

Click here to purchase a copy of Little Penguins (affiliate link).

*I received a complimentary copy of Little Penguins in exchange for my honest review.

Valentine’s Day Board Books

Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar is the second board book about two hedgehog friends, Hattie and Horace. They love doing everything together from trying to catch the moon to playing hide and seek. They also spend time together, but each doing what they like independently. One day, they discover a caterpillar egg underneath a leaf.

Hattie and Horace witness a wriggly, stripy thing (also known as a caterpillar) emerge from the egg. They watch as it eats and eats and then goes to sleep. They are amazed when one day something beautiful emerges from the bed and flies away.

The friends begin to wonder, if they eat a lot and sleep in a special bed, will they also turn into something wonderful and colorful too?



Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar is a fantastic board book about friendship and embracing a playful spirit. This book would be a terrific addition to any home library along with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

This adorable board book is perfect for young readers ages 2-5. Lucy Tapper’s beautiful, colorful illustrations help get the reader thinking about spring and the changing of seasons.

Shiny Shapes: Love You Always by Roger Priddy reads either as a series of short four-line poems or as a complete story written in rhyme.

Each page is dedicated to a celebration of friendship or the love of family. The series of hearts cut out of the pages are captivating and help the reader get into the Valentine’s Day spirit.

Love You Always is the perfect book for the holiday, ideal for readers ages 2-5.

Click here to purchase a copy of Shiny Shapes: Love You Always and Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar (affiliate links). 

*I received a complimentary copy of these books in exchange for my honest review.


Picture Books About the Relationship Between Parent and Child

Hand in Hand* by Rosemary Wells is a very special picture book for very young readers. It portrays the tender relationship between parent and child. This is a sentimental book that shows how a parent is their child’s everything from the very first day. The parent takes on the important role of teacher and guide from developing new skills, such as talking and walking, to more abstract concepts, such as telling the truth and sharing.

Hand in Hand is great for very young readers, ages 2-5. The illustrations are fun and accessible, providing many opportunities for conversations. The text is short and simple. And the story is a meaningful one!

You and Me and the Wishing Tree is a wonderful book by Nancy Tillman, who is also the author of On the Night You Were Born. In this book, a young child and his parent wake up one morning to discover a beautiful wishing tree on their lawn. At the same time, they each make a wish, which come true. The child is excited and wishes one wish after the next, from flying, to a special picnic with bears, to invisibility. Together the child and parent embark on an adventure like no other.

As the day draws to a close, the child begins to tire, and wishes to be back in bed. It is only then that we learn the parent’s wish, which was all along to spend time with her child. 

You and Me and the Wishing Tree is such a sweet story about the imagination of a child but also the complete love and devotion of a parent. It is written in first person, from the point of view of the grown up talking to the child. What I love about this book is that there is no emphasis on the gender nor the physical appearance of either the grown up or the kid, which allows the reader to see himself/herself within the text.

The illustrations possess a magical quality that add to the excitement that a tree like this could really grant even the most impossible wishes. They capture the relationship between the adult and child perfectly, at first cautious and eventually letting go and encouraging independence. But, at the end of the day, when the child is tired, the parent is there to carry him home.

You and Me and the Wishing Tree is great for readers ages 3-8.

Click here to purchase a copy of Hand in Hand  and You and Me and the Wishing Tree (affiliate links).

*I received a complimentary copy of Hand in Hand and You and Me and the Wishing Tree in exchange for my honest review.

Lovely Multicultural Reads

I am such a huge fan of the Bharat Babies books. They feature diverse characters, introduce different cultures and challenge gender roles.

Padmini is Powerful* by Amy Maranville is a board book that is perfect for babies. Each page introduces a different Hindu god and highlights an attribute of the god that Padmini possesses. She is generous and kind like Lakshmi and she creates like Brahma. The comparisons are supported by the bright and colorful illustrations, making the connections easy for the reader to see. I love that Padmini’s character transcends gender stereotypes, from her appearance to her interests.

Sarla in the Sky* by Anjali Joshi is an inspirational early readers about Sarla Thakral, the first Indian woman to earn her piloting license in 1936. Sarla dreams of flying from an early age. She imagines herself as a bird, a kite and even a butterfly in hopes of one day sailing in the wind. The odds are stacked against her, and many people told her that flying planes was not for women.

The illustrations by Lisa Kurt have a dream-like quality to them with simple backgrounds of clouds and landscapes which places the focus on the characters themselves.

Sarla remains focused on her goal of flying and overcomes a series of obstacles in order to achieve her dream. Sarla in the Sky teaches the importance of not giving up in a beautiful way. Like Padmini is Powerful, it tackles gender stereotypes in a way that empowers girls to pursue interests and careers that have been traditionally identified as being for boys. 

Click here to purchase a copy of Padmini is Powerful and Sarla in the Sky (affiliate links).

*I received a complimentary copy of Padmini is Powerful and Sarla in the Sky in exchange for my honest review.


Celebrating Milestones of the First Two Years

You Are One and the sequel You Are Two by Sara O’Leary celebrate the milestones during the first two years of a baby’s life. Each book is written in second person, directly capturing the experience of the child.

You Are One begins, “So much has changed in just a year. You are one!” It continues to highlight all the changes and accomplishments of a one year old, from first steps and eating solids to communication and favorite games.

You Are Two picks up where You Are One left off. It highlights the desire for independence and decision making, from personal style to eating on ones own. You Are Two reminds me of my close friend’s two-year-old daughter in the sweetest way. Emotions are stronger than during the first year, but a child’s personality is becoming more prominent.

You Are One and You Are Two are perfect additions to home library collections. These would make great 1st and 2nd birthday presents for toddlers. The illustrations by Karen Klassen are perfect, they are tangible and sentimental, capturing the emotions of each milestone from the parent’s perspective but also in a way that is accessible for kids.

Click here to purchase copies of You Are One  and You Are Two (affiliate links).

*I received a complimentary copy of You Are One and You Are Two in exchange for my honest review.

Books for Babies


We were a little late to the black and white board book game, but Lucy enjoys looking at these stunning books. She tries to hold the book herself and practices turning the pages back and forth. When she starts understanding following directions and speaking words, it’ll be great to ask her to point to certain objects or ask her to name them herself.

  1. Look Look! by Peter Linenthal is a visually striking board book that features intricate black-and-white cut-paper art. The red text is large and stands out. Different nouns paired with actions, for example the fish swim and the flower blooms. Lucy loves looking at the images across the pages of this book. Click here to purchase a copy of Look Look! (affiliate link).
  2. Spots and Dots by Chez Picthall is perfect for babies from 0-6 months. It features high-contrast images beginning with black and white shapes, then adding in primary colors and eventually pink. These images are bold and captivating and Lucy loves looking at each page for long stretches of time. Click here to purchase a copy of Spots and Dots (affiliate link).
  3. Baby Animal by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes includes 8 adorable close-ups of baby animals. From baby panda to baby zebra, the skillful use of black and white and the sense of space make this a lovely book to look at. Click here to purchase a copy of Baby Animal (affiliate link).img_0242These Lamaze books are the best! Though they are recommended for kids age 12 months and older, Lucy “reads” them with supervision. First and probably most importantly, they are machine washable. The covers are plush and the pages are brightly colored and engaging.
  4. In Captain Calimari’s Treasure Hunt, join the pirate calamari as he searches for a treasure in the ocean. He sees a Sparkly Fishy and Sunny Starfish, but none of these creatures are the treasure he seeks. The sweet end rhymes move the story along and at the end we discover a small circular mirror and learn that the treasure we’re seeking is you! Click here to purchase a copy of Captain Calmari’s Treasure Hunt (affiliate link).
  5. Peek-a-Boo Forest is a lift-the-flap soft book that allows readers to explore different animals hiding in the forest.  Each set of pages begins with a question, for example “Who is hiding behind the spruce?” and the rhyming answer, “Peek-a-boo! It’s the moose!” Not to mention, the flaps crinkle, possibly one of the most engaging features for little Lucy. Click here to purchase a copy of Peek-a-Boo Forest  (affiliate link).