Star Wars: BB-8 On The Run (Drew Daywalt)

Hello, friends! Our review today is Star Wars: BB-8 On The Run, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Matt Myers, an adorable adventure featuring the lovable little droid learning the importance of kindness.

Taking place during The Force Awakens, the story follows BB-8 as he flees across the desert planet of Jakku after his friend Poe is taken prisoner. BB-8 has an important mission to complete, and he needs to get back to the Resistance. How can one little droid accomplish this when he is alone and afraid? BB-8 remembers something that Poe told him: being kind to others will always been returned to you. And as BB-8 tries to catch a ship off-planet, he keeps finding creatures and droids in need. So he keeps stopping to help – often with mixed results – making it less and less likely that he can catch his ride. Will BB-8’s kindness truly come back to him? Can he fulfill his mission and make Poe proud?

This one was WONDERFUL, especially for little Star Wars fans. The story is surprisingly nuanced: BB-8 struggles repeatedly with doing the right thing for others vs. doing the right thing for himself, but always chooses to help those in need. Near the end of the story, this actually leaves him disadvantaged – he’s missed the ship home and has been captured by a scavenger – and he wonders why doing the right thing left him even worse off than he’d started. But he is, of course, rescued by Rey in the final pages, picking up the movie narrative again and showing that being kind truly did come back to him. It’s a subtle and honest lesson in why we must be kind even when it’s hard to be. The art is lovely, capturing the Star Wars world and creatures in pleasantly desert-hued paintings. The length was best for toddler and up bookworms, and JJ adored seeing her pal BB-8 on every page. A lovely fable that does the Star Wars universe proud, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Fox In The Dark (Alison Green)

Hello, friends! JJ had her Bookworm Birthday Party today, so we picked a favorite from our personal library to read to her guests: The Fox In The Dark, written by Alison Green and illustrated by Deborah Allwright, a sweet and poignant tale about mistaken first impressions.

Rabbit runs home at a hurried pace; there is a vicious fox out in the dark tonight. As soon as he secures himself in his burrow for the night, he hears a knock on the door. A duck has gotten stranded in the woods, and asks to take shelter with the rabbit. Soon after, an exhausted mouse and a timid lamb also beg sanctuary, making Rabbit’s only bed quite crowded for the evening. And just as they are settling in, there is another knock at the door: the fox! But he isn’t quite what he appears to be… 

This is one of our favorite bedtime books, and we enjoy it every time. The message, that things and people are rarely as simple as they appear, is a classic but with an important twist: don’t fear what you don’t understand. By revealing that the fox isn’t hunting for a meal but for her lost cub, it encourages little readers to consider things from all perspectives before snapping to judgement. The rhyming text, full of onomatopoeia and opportunities for unique character voices, is a delight. The art is funny, surprising and sweet in turns. The length is perfect, and both JJ and her party guests are fans! This is a great story, and we love having it as part of our library. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Littlest Family’s Big Day (Emily Winfield Martin)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is The Littlest Family’s Big Day by Emily Winfield Martin, a sweet story of a tiny bear family’s move to a new neighborhood.

The Bear family has just moved to the forest, and they are excited to explore their new neighborhood. They aren’t like regular bears; only five inches tall, different colors, and their youngest child an adopted fox cub, they look very different from their neighbors. Still, the neighbors welcome them with cheer and hospitality as the family goes for a wander around their new home. But after much wandering, the family finds that they are lost! Fortunately, a kindly owl carries them home, where they find that the neighborhood has put together a huge party to welcome them to the forest.

This is a very cute book. As always, Martin’s art is the star of the show: her delicate yet rich environments and characters capture the magic of the forest. The story is simple, but there are some great lessons to be found about acceptance, being neighborly and welcoming, and showing kindness to new people. It feels very much like a metaphor for the immigrant experience, which is cool, and definitely includes a non-traditional, mixed-race adoptive family, which is even cooler. The length is great, and JJ always enjoys Martin’s art, as there are so many details to pick out. We really enjoyed this one, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Rain! (Linda Ashman)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Rain!, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Christian Robinson, a story about what a positive attitude can do.

As the rain falls over the city, a grumpy old man grumbles about the wet weather while putting on his rain gear. Across town, an excited little boy greets the rain with glee, putting on his froggy rain hat and coat, and hopping through the puddles. Each person he passes sees his joy, and it brings a smile to their faces. Meanwhile, the old man’s angry mood has not improved, and darkens the mood of everyone around him as he lashes out on others. When the two opposites walk into the same cafe, what will happen? Will the man’s foul mood infect the boy as well? Or can a bit of positivity and kindness from the little boy turn the man’s day around?

This was absolutely adorable. The central theme was fantastic, showing that we choose to view things positively or negatively, and those choices not only effect our mood by can make an impact on the attitudes of those around us. I love that it encourages children to examine how what we put out into the world comes back to us, for better or worse. The illustrations are fabulous of course, utilizing Robinson’s signature cut-paper artwork to build a city full of life, people, and weather. The length is perfect for little ones, and JJ loved it. This is a perfect book for a rainy day. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Happiest Book Ever! (Bob Shea)

Hello, everybody! JJ was a bit under the weather today, so we really needed a good book to cheer us up! Fortunately, our book today was The Happiest Book Ever! by Bob Shea, a wonderfully fun interactive book guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

This book is determined to be the happiest book EVER! So it’s filled itself with things that everybody loves: delicious cake, smiling clouds, hugs, a flyin’ lion, even a candy parade! Still, it feels like the book could be happier. What’s holding it back? Oh, maybe that frowny frog has something to do with it… 

This was a fantastic book – not only did it have a lot of fun ways to interact, but it also had a great lesson about kindness and not losing one’s temper, which was unexpected and nice (most interactive books don’t really have a message, they’re just all in good fun). JJ got a lot of laughs out of the different activities, emotions, and ultra-bright, mega-colorful illustrations. The length was good, and it was a blast to read. We would absolutely recommend this one! Baby Bookworm approved!