Bob Ross: My First Book of Colors (Robb Pearlman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Bob Ross: My First Book of Colors, written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Bob Ross, a look at the thirteen signature paint colors of the beloved artist.

“This is your world,” the text begins over a lakeside mountain vista, immediately capturing the soothing timbre and tone of iconic artist Bob Ross. The narrator describes each color – accompanied by a Bob Ross original that showcases it – as though leading the reader through a painting lesson. Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, Phthalo Blue – each of the thirteen paint colors that Ross favored is brought to life through his work, described with familiar phrases such as “happy little” tree trunks and “it’s just that easy”. After all, this is your world, and you can make it anything you want.

Peaceful and sweet. A love letter to Ross and the fans who grew up with him, a majority of the references may fly over the heads of younger readers. However, for those parents and caregivers who remember Ross so fondly, it’s easy to see how the narration and tone of the book capture his voice and style: soothing, inspiring, and comforting. So while younger readers may not get the same hit of nostalgia, they can still enjoy the lovely colors and serene nature scenes. JJ’s never seen a Bob Ross episode in her life, but she very much enjoyed the artwork and the quietude of the text. The length is perfect for a short storytime, especially for young nature and art lovers. A sweet title that serves as a fine tribute to Ross and his work. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Bo The Brave (Bethan Woollvin)

17342c87-d07a-4334-8811-1ae79f3d39a8

Hello, friends! Our book today is Bo The Brave by Bethan Woollvin, a lovely tale of a courageous young monster-hunter.

Young Bo lives in a castle, in a land of mountains and forests. Her older brothers, Ivar and Erik, are bold monster hunters, and Bo longs to be one too. Yet when she asks to accompany her brothers on their latest hunt, they laugh at and tease her. Determined, Bo decides to set off and catch a monster of her own – yet after a few chance encounters with friendly griffins, helpful krakens, and weepy dragons, Bo begins to question the monster-hunting lifestyle… and who the real monsters are.

Wonderful. Well-realized themes of tolerance, understanding, and compassion are explored in a story that stars a heroine for all little girls (and boys). Bo is indeed brave, but also clever, kind, inquisitive, and resolute. Upon realizing that the so-called “monsters” are only sweet beasts going about their lives, and that the true monsters are her baby dragon-kidnapping brothers, Bo fearlessly faces down her siblings and subdues the frightened, fiery tot. She then dedicates her time to learning about the beasts, rather than hunting them. It’s a wonderful message of judging by character rather than appearance, and thinking critically. The Scandinavian-style illustrations have a limited yet expressive palette, and feature some wonderfully designed characters, settings and creatures. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ loved Bo and her monster friends. This is a wonderful story that explores what it truly means to be brave, and we enjoyed it immensely. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Lali’s Feather (Farhana Zia)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Lali’s Feather, written by Farhana Zia and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, a delightful story of ingenuity and friendship.

Lali is playing in the field one day when she finds a feather. Wishing to return it to its owner, she asks Rooster, Crow, and Peacock if they are missing it. They all say no, pointing out the feather’s plainness (as opposed to Peacock’s fancy feathers) and pokeyness (as opposed to Crow’s perky feathers), and so on. So Lali decides to keep her feather to play with. Her friends Hen, Duck, Jay laugh at the little feather, but as Lali finds more and more ways to creatively play with the feather, all six of the birds become more excited and invested. Then, when a gust of wind blows the feather out of Lali’s grasp, she is left broken-hearted. Fortunately, her feathered friends are there, and eager to bring her feather back.

Wonderfully unique. Various themes are explored in this one (different species of birds, imaginative play, not judging by appearances, etc.), all weaving together to create a story that is rich with substance yet light and fun to read. Particularly enjoyable is Lali’s creative mind, which can find a hundred uses for a plain, small, pokey feather, such as tickling, sweeping, writing, and more. It shows little readers that any ordinary object can be a toy, and the very best games are often the ones we create ourselves. The illustrations are gorgeous, creating a lush country home setting and memorable characters. Lali’s Indian culture is flawlessly woven throughout, from her bindi and clothing to the Indian slang used in the dialogue (translations are not provided, yet easy to guess from context). The length is perfect, and JJ adored the colors and characters. A marvelously enjoyable tale, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Rosie: Stronger Than Steel (Lindsay Ward)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Rosie: Stronger Than Steel by Lindsay Ward, a fantastic tale of one eager little tractor and the women and men she helped when they needed it most.

There’s a war going on, and people have donated their scrap metal to build machines to help the effort. Some of those scraps are melted down and used to build Rosie, a bright green tractor built under FDR’s Lend-Lease Act. The all-female riveters, welders, and machinists who built Rosie inspire her to a sense of purpose, and she emerges the factory with a rose painted on her hood and an oath to work as hard as she can. Shipped to England to assist the Women’s Land Army: a collective of women who left their homes to, like the factory workers, take up the necessary work left behind by the men. Rosie helps them plow, haul, harvest, anything she can do. Together, she and her new friends keep the farms running, not only until the war is over but long beyond.

Phenomenal. This historical, girl-power tractor story is filled with a stunning sense of history, community, and humanity. From the jump, Rosie introduces the reader to the incredibly strong women of WWII, and all the ways they helped the war effort when they could not fight. Rosie’s story of steadfast loyalty and tenacity also showcases human women building, fixing, digging, felling trees, and more. And the ending, in which Rosie’s decades of tireless service are rewarded and recognized, brought a tear to the eye. Ward’s illustrations are friendly yet dynamic, and give Rosie herself an impossible amount of charm. Backmatter provides context for Rosie’s world and more in-depth information on women’s war efforts. The length is perfect, and JJ and I both fell in love with strong, faithful Rosie by the end. A lovely tale to end Women’s History Month, and a reminder to us all that in tough times, our willingness to help others is our greatest strength. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Am I Yours? (Alex Latimer)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Am I Yours? by Alex Latimer, an adorable dinosaur tale about family.

During a blustery day, a large blue speckled egg is blown out of its nest and rolls down a rocky hillside. Coming to a stop at the bottom, the egg – or rather, the baby dinosaur inside – begins to call out to others passing by, querying “Am I yours?”. Not being able to see the little one inside its egg, the dinos describe their features and ask if the baby shares them. Does he have sharp teeth like T-Rex? No. Spikes like the steggo? Nope. Long neck like Brachio? Nada. As the sun sets and the temperature grows colder, the egg’s occupant begins to panic. Yet the setting sun shines a light on the situation, and the helpful dinosaurs all band together to get the baby home.

Wonderful. This charming title combines a sweet story about kindness and family with a stellar early lesson in some of the most popular species of dinosaur and their distinctive features. The bouncy rhyming text flows wonderfully, and deftly utilizes repetition in a way that makes it a joy to read aloud (this would make a fantastic addition to any dinosaur storytime). The colorful, charming characters are a delight; even the egg manages to have presence and personality. Front and back endpapers even feature dozens of fully-illustrated and labeled dino species for further learning. JJ adored this one, and I did too. A winner that any little dino-lover (and their parents) can enjoy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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