Star Wars: ABC-3PO, Galactic Basic Edition (Calliope Glass & Caitlin Kennedy)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Star Wars: ABC-3PO, Galactic Basic Edition, written by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy, and illustrated by Katie Cook. This is a fantastic little alphabet book set in the Star Wars universe that is fun for fans of all ages.

C-3PO (Human-Cyborg Relations) introduces us to an alphabet book from a galaxy far, far away, where A is for Ackbar, P is for Poe Dameron and Y is for Yoda. Accompanying each letter is a short, humorous poem describing the character or thing, tongue firmly in-cheek as the text describes Kylo Ren’s ostentatious light saber or why you should seriously consider letting a Wookiee win at dejarik.

This is more like it! Unlike the disappointing Star Wars ABC we read last month, this is a Star Wars alphabet book that is as delightful as it is geeky. Nearly every letter is packed with the best-known and/or fan-favorite characters, and the poems are hilariously fun. Adorably cutesy renditions of familiar Star Wars visuals are a treat and make the book perfect for all ages. The length is fine, perhaps edging on long for the tiniest padawans, but JJ was grinning the whole way through. This is a fun, lovingly-crafted and wonderfully nerdy alphabet book for those who are knowledgeable in the ways of The Force. Perfect for fans of all ages, and definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

When The Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc And The Creation Of Hip Hop (Laban Carrick Hill)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is When The Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc And The Creation Of Hip Hop, written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, an awesome tale of a revolutionary musical innovator and his contribution to the birth of hip hop.

Clive Campbell loved music of every kind, and growing up in Jamaica, there was no music scene hotter than the block parties hosted by the local dancehall DJs. When Clive moved to New York City, he brought his love of music and DJing with him. After earning the nickname Kool Herc on the basketball court, Clive and his sister Cindy threw a back-to-school party one summer night at their apartment building on Sedgewick Ave. Clive set up his audio system, stepped up to the turntables, and unleashed his signature style of mixing and rapping on the crowd. And just like that, DJ Kool Herc was born, and he would go on help create an entire genre of music: hip hop.

This was an awesome book! Music history fans will love how the story of this seminal era of musical experimentation is told. For those unfamiliar with the origins of hip hop, this is an awesome primer for all ages that introduces the figures, styles and theory that brought hip hop to be. The illustrations are colorful, lively, and have a distinctly musical feeling about them, which is perfect. The length may be a bit much for the smallest bookworms, but JJ enjoyed it start to finish. This is a great one, especially for young DJs and MCs looking to learn more about the roots of hip hop and the people who brought it to life. Baby Bookworm approved!

When I’m A Mommy Like You! (David O’Connell)

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the illustrator in exchange for an honest review.)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When I’m A Mommy Like You!, written by David O’Connell and illustrated by Francesca Gambatesa, a sweet ode to the special relationship between mother and daughter.

In conversational rhyming text, the book introduces a mommy and daughter who spend their days together: shopping, cooking, playing, etc. The mommy works very hard, and the girl thinks she is doing a wonderful job of being a mommy. The little girl tells her mommy that she’s learning how to be a grownup from her, and that she’ll do her best to be a great mommy like her. The mother is touched, and tells the little girl the secret to making their days fun and full of adventure: she does it because she loves the time they get to spend together, and while being a mommy is hard work, it’s very much worth it.

This was a sweet book with a lovely sentiment. I enjoyed the conversational nature of the text, how one spread would be daughter addressing mother, then the opposite for the following spread. The illustrations were adorable, done in a pastel-hued cartoon style that shows great affection for the characters. However, I do have two complaints: the rhyme scheme of the text is a choppy at times, and it can be difficult to keep the rhythm. Also, I would have loved to see the mother doing something that wasn’t domestic- or appearance- related. It might have been nice to show her teaching her daughter a skill that is not traditionally “feminine,” but instead stuck to wearing dresses, gardening, doing yoga and the like. Overall, however, it is a very nice book that explores a timeless dynamic. The length was fine, and JJ enjoyed it, so we’re calling this one Baby Bookworm approved!

Nightlights (Lorena Alvarez)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez, an exciting, scary, yet very empowering tale of creativity and self-confidence.

Sandy is a little girl who loves to draw. For her, drawing is like watching the air fill with the spark of her ideas and dreams (she calls them “nightlights”), then putting pen to paper to recreate what she sees. One day, she meets a new girl at school, Morfie, who loves her drawings. But there’s something very strange about Morfie… sinister, even. And when Morfie tries to take control of Sandy’s imagination, the young artist must think of a way to escape from the nightmare that her new companion has dragged her into.

Okay, so I sort of messed up here, because this book is DEFINITELY too advanced for baby bookworms. However, for older children, this may be one of the most beautiful and gripping graphic novels I’ve ever seen. Within the story, a very gothic and creepy tale with some truly nightmarish visuals, there is a powerful metaphor for self-doubt and how it can make us question ourselves and our talents. Sandy’s courage and cleverness, as well as her creativity, make her a phenomenal heroine for young readers, and Alvarez’s jaw-dropping anime-inspired art sets an epic atmosphere. And while the story was a bit advanced, JJ was spellbound by the art. So, while you might want to wait a few years to share this story with your little readers, I would definitely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Bear Likes Jam (Ciara Gavin)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Bear Likes Jam by Ciara Gavin, an adorable tale about the importance of a balanced diet.

Gavin’s lovely blended family of ducks and their beloved bear returns, with a new challenge to overcome. When Bear tries jam for the first time, he is hooked. Sometimes, he gets so excited that he forgets to share. Sometimes, he eats more than his fill, or even eats jam when he’s not supposed to, like after bedtime. Mother Duck is beginning to worry: growing bears should have healthy, balanced diets. She puts her webbed foot down: no more jam until Bear eats his vegetables. But Bear doesn’t like vegetables! He refuses to eat them, and goes to bed hungry. Can his adoptive family find a way to get Bear excited about healthy eating?

This is the third book in Gavin’s Bear series, and we enjoyed it just as much as the last two. As always, the pen-and-watercolor illustrations are just adorable, and create wonderfully lively characters. The story here was great too: encouraging a balanced diet is always a good lesson for little ones, but I especially liked that it acknowledged that veggies just aren’t always delicious. The family encouraging healthy eating by making a game out of it felt more honest and, frankly, like a fun idea. The length is perfect for young readers, and JJ enjoyed it very much. A great addition to the series, and Baby Bookworm approved!