We’re back! Our household’s relocation caused an interruption in internet service, but now we return. It’s been some time since we shared our recent literary treasures, so what better way to begin the new year than discussing books?

Santa’s Stuck by Rhonda Gowler Greene


This was such a favorite find from the library that Mom bought it for us as a Christmas present. The story follows a snacking Santa who allows himself so many Christmas treats, he gets stuck on the job. While the humans of the house sleep, it’s up to the dog, cat, mouse, and Santa’s reindeer to free him from the chimney.

Clever rhyme and funny pictures combined with facial expressions on the animals that tell a deeper story for those paying attention make this a sure win.

Verdict: 10 out of 10 pacifiers. Destined to become a household favorite here.

T. Veg: The Story of a Carrot-Crunching Dinosaur by Smriti Prasadam-Halls


Who wouldn’t love a story about a vegetarian t-rex? This book has super bold colors and a funny premise. The rhymes mostly work; there are some fudged lines, but in all fairness, only so many words end in “-saur.”

What could have turned into an overt message about redefining labels, being your own you, and any number of other leftward leaning morals lands more discretely with a “love your friends for who they are” message. Not an inappropriate admonition, but a flexible one.

Verdict: 6 out of 10 pacifiers. Won’t match any of your bedroom color palettes; not a good decor piece.

Row Row Row Your Boat by Iza Trapani


A clever furthering of a classic nursery rhyme. The author/illustrator begins with the standard verse and builds on it (meter and scheme intact) to create a full narrative. The serene illustrations contrast with the whimsical lyrics. A basic page of sheet music is provided in the back for those who wish to turn the experience into a song.

I’m under the impression this is but one installment in a series. I’ve instructed Mom to search for the others.

Verdict: 8 out of 10 pacifiers. A much livelier take on the old song than we were expecting.

Ten Hungry Pigs by Derek Anderson


A counting book, a funny book, a rhyming book, and a twist-ending book all in one! So much to love about this unexpectedly delightful title. One pig’s peaceful lunch turns into chaos with the arrival of his uninvited friend. Will lunch be ruined? Or will help come from unexpected places? Read it to find out!

Verdict: 10 out of 10 pacifiers. So much to love here!

Whose Tools? by Toni Buzzeo


A lift-the-flap book introducing young minds to construction professions. Illustrations of tools and their names are presented on one page, and beneath the flap, the name of the trade known for using said tools. Able to be used into pre-K as younger children learn how to flip pages and older children learn tool names.

The illustrator makes an effort to include women and people of different races in his pictures, which is positive publishing procedure today.

Verdict: 9 out of 10 pacifiers. An especially meaningful gift from family members employed in the trades.

A Dog Named Doug by Matt Myers


This rhyming book tells the tale of a hole-digging dog named Doug. It also makes great use of the linguistic similarities between “dug” and “Doug.” The illustrations on the final spread are a little unusual, but that’s what you get when you draw a dream sequence, I suppose.

Attractively designed, well written, and illustrated with pictures that tell a deeper story if you look closely, this one is a solid win for dog-lovers, dirt-lovers, or anyone who loves a good book.

Verdict: 8 out of 10 pacifiers.