Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy And Fearful Cats (Alicia Potter)


Hello, friends! Today, we read Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy And Fearful Cats, written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Birgitta Sif, a charmingly sweet story about finding courage to help a friend in need.

When Miss Hazeltine opens her Home For Shy And Fearful Cats, she’s not sure anyone will come… but they do, in droves. Owners bringing cats with one complaint or another (“won’t chase mice!”, “won’t purr!”, “useless!”) and timid strays all flock to her sanctuary, where Miss Hazeltine cares for the kitties and tries to give them confidence and teach them courage. Crumb is the most nervous little cat of all, hiding in dark spaces and never coming out, but still, Miss Hazeltine is kind and patient with him. But when Miss Hazeltine disappears one day while out to get milk, Crumb may find the courage inside him after all, especially if the lady he loves is in trouble.

This was a wonderfully sweet little tale with a lot of positives. It’s primarily a story about being brave when it’s most important, but there’s quite a few lessons here to be had: everyone has fears (including Miss Hazeltine), kindness is its own reward, and when the people you care about need help, it’s important to find the courage to do so, even take the lead if necessary. The illustrations are very cute, with lots of cuddly kitties and the endearingly exuberant Miss Hazeltine giving the story plenty of characters to root for. The length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed this one, especially the many cats that grace each page. All in all, a very cute story for the shy and/or fearful feline in all of us. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Darkest Dark (Chris Hadfield & Kate Fillion)


Hello, friends! Today, we read The Darkest Dark, written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion, and illustrated by The Fan Brothers, a story based on Hadfield’s childhood fear of the dark, and how overcoming it changed his life.

Little Chris is an astronaut. Each day, he explores the vast cosmos in his cardboard rocketship; each night he won’t get out of the bath because he is busy battling aliens. But even brave astronaut Chris is scared of something: the dark. He doesn’t like sleeping in his room; it’s far too dark, and that’s when the spookiest aliens come out of hiding. His parents try everything to help, but Chris is too scared. But one night, he and everyone on his small island gather around to watch a man land on the moon for the first time. Chris is astonished. He sees that space is the darkest dark of all, but it doesn’t scare him. Seeing those astronauts jumping on the moon, Chris decides to brave the dark, because he wants to explore every corner of it. He learns the dark doesn’t just hide the scary things, it hides the wondrous things, too. 

This book was a lot of things in one, which is great. First, it’s a book about overcoming fears, specifically of the dark and sleeping alone, something that almost every little one goes through at some point. I love that this fear is alleviated by encouraging one’s curiosity to explore the unknown of the dark rather than fear it. It’s also a wonderful slice of life during a seminal moment in American history, and a true story of what inspired a real-life astronaut, both of which are educational and encouraging for young minds. Lastly, the Fan Brothers supply their gorgeously enchanting art, bringing to life the weird, wonderful, and epic creatures a child’s imagination can conjure. This is a very cool book, and we highly recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!

When I Was A Child, I Was Always Afraid (Michael Cascio)


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

Hello, everybody! Our book today is When I Was A Child, I Was Always Afraid, written by Michael Cascio and illustrated by Bentley Wong, a story about conquering our fears.

Told in rhyme, the narrator relates that when he was a child, he had many fears: dark basements, the noises outside his window, even under his own bed. One day, his father takes him to look at all these places in the light, and he finds that, with a new perspective, these things aren’t scary, and can even be friendly! The narrator explains that he has always remembered that lesson, and so should we too, because sometimes facing our fears is the best way to overcome them.

We liked this book a lot! The message is universal for children, and even the fears that are described are fairly common (who among us wasn’t afraid of shifting shadows in the dark?), and it makes the story very relatable. The illustrations are great: taking the various situations from their “scary” versions to their innocuous versions nicely, and complimenting the story well (plus, the added pops of watercolor under the main illustrations on each page were lovely eye candy for very young readers like JJ). The length is perfect, JJ really enjoyed this one! Perfect for helping a little reader through nighttime fears. Baby Bookworm approved!