Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Celebrating families in a variety of children's picture books from Candlewick Press [Review & Giveaway]

A sweet focus on family is told in a variety of stories in these delightful children's picture books for youngsters age 2 to 8 years. Babies, mommies, grannies bring joy and smiles to one's heart.

I Am A Baby by Bob Shea (Ages 2 to 5)

My thoughts: 
I'm not sure just whom this cute book is intended as the "appropriate" audience, but it is very cute. Obviously, a wee little baby is the source of all the issues covered as being affected because "I am a baby." And obviously such a wee one can't understand the nuances of the text. But little ones do enjoy parents who giggle when reading a story to them. And parents will giggle when they read this little book.

A fun gift addition to tuck into a baby shower gift. Or just a fun book to have to read that tells the tale as it is true in households where there is a baby on board.

About the book: From the creator of the mega-popular Dinosaur vs. series comes a hilariously deadpan look at new parenthood—from a baby’s point of view.

I am not sleepy.
I am not sleepy because I am a baby.
Mommy is sleepy.
Mommy is sleepy because I am a baby.

With humor and sympathy, Bob Shea looks at the chaos of life with a baby as amiably narrated by the new arrival. Repeating the mantra (and blithe explanation) “because I am a baby,” the tiny narrator leads us through scenes of exhaustion, grumpiness, squishy diapers, spilled milk, cowering kittens, and chubby overfed pups (oopsie!). Playing against the simple, matter-of-fact text are freewheeling illustrations of mess and mayhem, in which the grown-ups’ exaggerated body language is sure to send older children into fits of giggles. With its endearing, unabashedly self-pleased star, I Am a Baby will find a place at showers, in nurseries, on parents’ shelves, and in the hands of appreciative big siblings, as it celebrates the changes a little one brings, at once challenging and full of love.

Mum, Me and the Mulberry Tree by Tanya Rosie (Ages 3 to 7)

My thoughts:  A sweet story of a child and her  mother on their annual outing to pick mulberries. Told in a sort of rhyme that doesn't really fit a pattern that I could discover, but that does have a pleasant cadence.

The bond between mother and child is obviously strong and sweet and will perhaps help those whose family aren't as connected to seek to emulate the experience for themselves. Hopefully that is so.

At the end of the story, they bake a pie using their freshly picked mulberries. You can almost taste the pie as they enjoy it together. 

About the book: A tender story follows a mother-and-daughter pair enjoying a ritual to remember: a bus ride to the countryside, baskets full of berries, and a fragrant pie.

As the sun starts to rise, a young girl and her mother set out on the bus, riding knee to knee to visit their mulberry tree in the English countryside. With buckets and tubs in hand for collecting berries, the two spend a day picnicking, waiting out a summer shower under their tree, and climbing as high as they can to pick the best mulberries, the ones that are tucked away from the world. When the sun starts to set, they head home to bake a delicious pie, all the while knowing they’ll be back next year to do it all again. Author Tanya Rosie makes her picture book debut with a heartfelt story honoring family traditions and time spent together with someone you love.

Mommy’s Hometown by Hope Lim (Ages 3 to 7)

My thoughts: 
A sweet story of a Korean child and his mother who live in America. The mother shares her experiences of growing up in a small village in Korea and the sweet life she enjoyed. They soon leave the United States and travel to Korea for a visit to the village in which mother grew up.

When they arrive, the dirt road and small houses have disappeared and been replaced by a bustling city with tall buildings crowded together. The babbling, rushing river is confined within cement walkways and not pebbled shores.

One thing has remained unchanged..... Grandma. She greets them with love.

While visiting the "village," they go on an excursion through the area, wade and play in the river, and experience the beautiful red sunset.

The story is beautiful and yet sad as it tells the global story of change in our environment, loss of the small and natural world, and loss of the quiet and gentle way of life.

About the book: When a young boy and his mother travel overseas to her childhood home in Korea, the town is not as he imagined. Will he be able to see it the way Mommy does?

This gentle, contemplative picture book about family origins invites us to ponder the meaning of home. A young boy loves listening to his mother describe the place where she grew up, a world of tall mountains and friends splashing together in the river. Mommy’s stories have let the boy visit her homeland in his thoughts and dreams, and now he’s old enough to travel with her to see it for himself. But when mother and son arrive, the town is not as he imagined. Skyscrapers block the mountains, and crowds hurry past. The boy feels like an outsider—until they visit the river where his mother used to play, and he sees that the spirit and happiness of those days remain. Sensitively pitched to a child’s-eye view, this vivid story honors the immigrant experience and the timeless bond between parent and child, past and present.

Well Done, Mommy Penguin by Chris Haughton (Ages 3 to 7)

My thoughts: 
Children have a fascination with penguins. They love penguin movies, books about penguins, and stuffed penguins. They will surely love this story of mommy penguin's determination and skill at getting dinner for her baby.

Daddy stays with baby penguin while mommy dives into the big sea seeking fish. The trip to return with her catch is fraught with obstacles and danger.  She is skilled and determined.

Illustrated with stark simplicity using strong blues, white, and orange the visual appeal is an acquired taste. Not a style I particularly like, but I don't dislike it. It is just a bit different.

About the book: With his vibrant, stylish art and spot-on visual storytelling, Chris Haughton turns to Antarctica for an irresistible ode to family bonds and awesome moms.

The sky may be dark over icy waters, but Mommy Penguin is off to catch some fish for dinner. As Daddy and Little Penguin watch in suspense, Mommy swims, jumps, and climbs up a slippery slope, barely avoiding a plunge back into the sea. Well done! There's just one more hurdle to overcome, past some grumpy, just-awakened seals, before she returns to her anxiously waiting family. With a nod to the fascinating nature of penguin parenting, this boldly illustrated adventure from the creator of Little Owl Lost and Oh No, George! will have little ones happily on the edge of their seats as they root for Mommy Penguin.

4 Books for 1 Winner
Begins October 5
Ends October 28 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
NO P.O.Boxes
Canadians must provide phone number
DISCLOSURE: I was provided complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copies are  provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.


  1. 1 Please share a family occasion you and/or your family have experienced that brings fond memories back to you. WAY BACK 30+ years christmas my first niece we still talk about getting her to crawl AND she has not stopped running around since.

    2 What style illustrations do you like most in children's books?<*br /> --- FOR me I like bright illustations
    *3 Do you share stories about where you grew up with your children? Have you taken them to where you grew up so they could see for themselves? NO children BUT the grandkids listen to their great grandmothers stories all the time.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I just love to share stories with family and love hear other's stories!

  2. I like bright and colorful illustrations that capture the reader's attention. I have taken my sons to visit the place where I grew up. I hope someday to take my grandchildren there as well. I love to share stories from my childhood with my sons.

  3. I took my daughter to a skating carnival it reminded me of being in a carnival as a penguin from Mary Poppins

  4. I have fond memories of reading books with our children.

    allibrary at) aol (dot) com

  5. I like whimsical illustrations that are colourful.


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