Squirrels Are Featured Characters


 My Newest Book!

Welcome to the World 

September 2020

Kirkus Review!

"A family of red squirrels introduces a new baby to the waiting world in James and Brown's latest collaboration. 

A single day of games and exploring stands also for a baby's first year of discovery and family. The day begins with yawns, sunshine, toys, and smiles. From there, the squirrel kit ventures outside to sing songs, dance, and play hide-and-seek. Back inside for bathtime bubbles, a snuggly story, and finally sleepy goodnights. A quiet, parental voice narrates, addressing the baby directly, and the sparse text carries readers through a day of welcoming "hellos" ranging from pet names ("Hello, sunshine"; "Hello, cutie") to words that capture the moment ("Hello, wiggles"; "Hello, cuddles"). In typical fashion, Brown's illustrations capture the sprawling fun of outdoor games as deftly as they do the quiet intimacy of a bedtime routine. Rich, warm tones of sunshine and ruddy fur invite readers to cozy up, whether in a lap or under covers or snuggled next to a new sibling. Despite the predictably traditional family setup (clothing and accessories suggest an opposite-sex set of two parents), what could easily tumble into saccharine, shower-gift banality manages instead to convey the immediacy and timelessness of a delightful day with loving caregivers. 

A single day, a first year--a lovely addition to little ones' shelves. (Picture book. 0-4)"

Here's what illustrator
Petra Brown shared 
about the adorable squirrels.

From Petra Brown: “No rabbits, this time it’s Eurasian red squirrels. Although this is an American book, I’ve based all the characters on European wild animals, because I really wanted to do red squirrels… I do think they are such lovely colourful little creatures with tufty ears, great fun to draw and paint. I have to admit though, I’ve only ever seen red squirrels once. Whilst on holiday in Normandy, France, I was thrilled to see about six of them performing gymnastics on a tree outside the gîte where we were staying. There are supposed to be red squirrels on Anglesey in The Newborough Forest, not too many miles from where I live. They were introduced by the Anglesey Red Squirrel Project. But greys are the local squirrels around my area. I really enjoyed working on the ‘Hyde Park Squirrels’ series written by Nick Croydon. They were red squirrels too.”

Daddy Loves You! 

Daddy's joining my family
 of "Loves You" books.

March 2020 


I’m the author of almost two dozen books for children
 including a "family" of "Loves You" books: 
Grandma Loves You!, Grandpa Loves You!, 
Mommy Loves You! Auntie Loves You! 
and I'm currently working on Daddy Loves You! 
(It will be published in the spring of 2020.)

I'm the author of two Christmas books 
(Santa's Christmas Train and Grandma's Christmas Wish). 
I was born on Labor Day and married on Memorial Day. 
I definitely love holidays, 
but that’s not all I write about. 

Want to learn more? 
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting my website
 to read some information about me 
and my books. 

I love to read, write, and roam!

Happy Reading! 

Dr. Helen Foster James

So Happy to Announce!

With Love, Grandma
July 2018

Kirkus Reviews reviewed With Love, Grandma

Author: Helen Foster James Illustrator: Petra Brown
Review Issue Date: June 15, 2018 Online Publish Date: May 28, 2018 
A hedgehog grandmother takes a monthlong vacation with friends while continually staying in touch with her beloved grandchild through a volume of correspondence. Taking a break from the usual routine of "Camp Grandma," this active grandparent embarks on an adventurous excursion enjoying the woods, hiking, participating in painting classes, kayaking, visiting the beach, and even finding a "super bookstore." Taking time out for herself is important, but Grandma continually thinks of her little one and relays a series of endearing messages in letters and postcards that arrive almost daily in her grandchild's mailbox. Each begins with a term of endearment for the child and a line or two about what new experience Grandma is enjoying, always linking it to something the two, elder and youngster, did together in the past or will do once again when "Camp Grandma" resumes. "Dear Doodlebug, I took a painting lesson outside today," leads to the assurance that "We'll paint together at CAMP GRANDMA. Let's walk to the park and paint whatever we see." Although it is chronological, the story is not linear, asking readers to glean it from the specifics of each letter or note. Soft pencil and delicate watercolors show an engaging, vigorous grandmother enjoying her outings with smiling fellow forest animals while complementary scenes lovingly portray her memories of days spent with her grandchild. Should encourage dialogic reading and discussion—and hugs. 

About With Love, Grandma . . . Every grandma knows that her love for her grandchildren can span great distances! So when Grandma heads out on an adventure of her own, she stays in touch with her grandchild through a series of sweet letters and memories. Grandchild follows Grandma through her notes until Grandma finally returns home--and opens up Camp Grandma for a visit full of fun, grandma snuggles, and games. This tender story from the author and illustrator team behind Grandma Loves You! proves that a grandma's love knows no bounds.


Auntie Loves You! 

September 2018

About Auntie Loves You! . . . This touching tribute to an Auntie's love celebrates the sweet bond between an aunt and her little bunny. From tender snuggles to play and giggles, author Helen Foster James and illustrator Petra Brown capture the unique relationship in loving color.

Daddy’s Girl—April 2017 

What’s more fabulous than a tea party? 
Tea with Daddy, of course! 
This exuberant story begins before the honored guest arrives, 
with much ado—preparing, decorating, and accessorizing. 
And when Daddy makes his entrance, 
it’s clear that the little hostess couldn’t be more thrilled. 
Perfect for daddy-daughter reading time, 
this new picture book and its warm conclusion 
are sure to serve up smiles and tug at heartstrings.

Published by Ideals Children's Books


Kirkus Review

A young girl enjoys tea with her dad.The narrator prepares for the day carefully with handmade signs, a beautifully set table, and some primping and accessorizing. Her excitement is palpable in James' rhymes (though the words don't always match the girl's youth): "That's his knock. / My daddy's here! / Be my guest / and sit right there. // Welcome / to my special tea. / Glad you're here / to be with me!" Dad is all smiles and arrives bearing flowers for his girl. The daughter enumerates (at some length) all the festive elements of a tea party, giving readers ideas for their own. The blissful expressions on both faces at the end of the tea say it all: "Here's a hug, / my daddy dear. / I just love / that you are here. / Love and hugs, / and kisses too. // Daddy, / tea is best with you." Pink and yellow are the predominant colors in Corke's watercolor illustrations, and readers will be left in no doubt that this is a girly-girl: boas, crowns, beads, bangles, sparkly shoes, and a beribboned hat. Dad and daughter are both white and brown-haired.

Publishers Weekly 

In this resolutely cheery story, a girl welcomes her father as the guest of honor at her tea party, a time-honored playroom tradition. The girl, who narrates, dons her sparkly finest for the occasion, and her father follows suit, allowing his daughter to dress him up with a paper crown and boa. It isn't a story with much emotional range--James's honeyed verse sticks to the girl's gushy sense of excitement and gratitude for her father's participation: "Teas and cakes we'll each have some--/ Sip, sip, sip, and yum, yum, yum!" Likewise, Corke's cozy paintings aren't especially distinctive, but they certainly convey the tenderness shared between father and daughter. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)

Feathered Quill Book Review 

It's tea time! What a perfect time for a little girl to prepare a party with her stuffed animals, and her guest of honor...her daddy! 

Daddy's Girl is a delightful story about a young girl who is all excited about her upcoming tea party. Before her special guest arrives, she has to prepare the table. She grabs "Little Bear," her stuffed teddy, and together they set the table, arrange the flowers, and get some yummy treats ready. Then it's time to dress up in ribbons and bows, add some glitter and bling and then wait for that special guest. When daddy knocks on the door, the party can start! 

Daddy and his little girl are soon joined by several other guests including frog, turtle, monkey and cat. The little girl dresses her stuffies in their best bows and ribbons, and they all enjoy some treats. With plenty of hugs and kisses from Daddy, there's no doubt that this is the best tea party ever! 

Told in perfect flowing rhyme, author Helen Foster James has written a winner of a story about a little girl and the close bond she shares with her daddy. The story is very upbeat and happy, with smiles all around. The artwork, with a strong pink influence, is delightful and adds a tremendous amount to the story. If you're looking for a great gift for the little girl in your life, consider this one - you won't be disappointed. 

Quill says: A happy, sparkling, uplifting story about a little girl who has the perfect tea party with her daddy.

April 2017

Board Book Editions of

Grandma Loves You! 


Grandpa Loves You! 

Spring 2017 
Mommy Loves You! 

Mommy Loves You! has arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day! 

“From the author-illustrator team that created Grandma Loves You! comes a touching story just for Mommy and baby. Told in charming verse with the signature bunny characters, this book celebrates the deep love a mother has for her child, this pair’s adventures and tender moments will warm the heart.”

And . . . keep a look out for Grandma Loves You! and Grandpa Loves You! in board books this spring!

Press Release 

Celebrate a Mothers Love with


From the author–illustrator team behind the popular Loves You series (Grandma Loves You! and Grandpa Loves You!) comes a tribute to the most enduring bond of all, that between a mother and her child. In tender rhyming text, Mommy Bunny tells Baby of the love she feels in her role as a mother.

My heart’s full of love that blossoms and grows
from your little nose to those teensy toes.
You are my moonbeam, my stars in the sky.
My hopes and my heart, my cute, honey pie.

Accompanied by enchanting artwork, touching endearments express the devotion found within a mother’s heart. A heartwarming gift for every mother (and all mothers-to-be). Along with a presentation page, the book also provides space for a keepsake photo and a letter.

Author Helen Foster James is a former teacher and coordinator of library media services. She received her doctorate from Northern Arizona University. This is her seventh book with Sleeping Bear Press. Other books include Grandma Loves You!, Grandma’s Christmas Wish, S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet, Little California, and Paper Son: Lee’s Journey to America.

Petra Brown has been a children’s book illustrator since 2006 when her first picture book If Big Can…I Can, written by Beth Shoshan was shortlisted for the Booktrust Early Years Awards for Best Emerging Illustrator. Since then she has been illustrating for publishers in the U.K. and abroad. Her books with Sleeping Bear Press include: Rags: Hero Dog of WW I, Grandma’s Nursery Rhyme board books, and of course, Grandma Loves You! Petra lives with her partner in Wales.

Please consider this book for a review or reading recommendation. To arrange for an interview with the author or illustrator, or for jpegs of cover or interior art, please contact 
Tara Lehmann at 734.619.6226 

Mommy Loves You!
 (Jacketed HC) 978-1-58536-941-6 $15.99
Ages 0-4 / eBook available
32 pages / 10 x 10 inches