Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes, by Demian Elaine Yumei, illustrated by Nicole Tamarin (Illumination Arts). Ages 2 to 8

As a little girl stands in the garden and marvels over how much she loves little yellow pear tomatoes and thinks about what it takes to grow them, she begins to weave a tale of the interconnectedness of all things. It takes a lot of "not-a-tomato things" such as people, bugs, water and even the stars to make her yummy tomatoes. For children who tend to think that food simply sprouts from the ground or comes from their parent’s trip to the grocery store, this is a wonderful tale of food production in context of the web of life and how each strand is an integral part of the whole structure. The shifting perspectives of the watercolor illustrations from a little girl’s view to aerial views and back to a bug’s-eye view add to the awareness that we are all on this Earth journey together.

Something Special, by Terri Cohlene, illustrated by Doug Keith (Illumination Arts). Ages 3 to 8

Life imitates art as the child who reads this book joins in a sort of parallel universe with a frog that also begins to read a book named "Something Special." The answer to the title is a mystery. What can the special something be? Both the reader and the frog are led on a delightful amphibian romp to the end of the book where the answer to this riddle is revealed. Each page of whimsical fine art shows our adorable green protagonist in action and yields a clue: it can be blown, planted, thrown, and more. Once this brain twister is unraveled, children will be back for an encore as they pour over the rich drawings and get ready to shout out the answer before the final page.

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