Go For The Moon: A Rocket, A Boy, and the First Moon Landing (Chris Gall)

Hello, friends! To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, our book today is Go For The Moon: A Rocket, A Boy, and the First Moon Landing by Chris Gall.

Based on the author’s childhood memories, our story begins with a young bespectacled boy preparing for the event of the century: the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. He has his astronaut outfit, and has built models in every scale of the remarkable equipment that will be used in the real mission: a water rocket like the Saturn V, a cardboard command module clubhouse, miniatures of the astronauts and even of the LEM. Following along on his fuzzy tv, he re-enacts the mission as he watches it unfold – but when Neil Armstrong takes his historic first steps, silence falls and all eyes are glued to the television in wonder. Once the astronauts return safely to earth, the boy begins planning his next launch, a lifelong love of astronautics ignited.

A wonderful balance of education and nostalgia. As outlined in the afterward, Gall draws on his own memories of a childhood inspired by the Apollo missions and what they achieved, and this personal connection shows on every page. The mechanics of the moon launch are explained in a detailed yet accessible manner that shows a passion for the science, and the little boy’s perspective that weaves the story together captures both the excitement and awe of experiencing the landing live. Detailed drawings capture the spirit of both perfectly – a spread of the astronauts floating in their module, Buzz Aldrin breaking the fourth wall as he smirks at the reader is especially joyful. The length is best for older bookworms, but some of the technical jargon can be skimmed over for younger readers; JJ still appreciated the lovely illustrations, even if the tech was a little advanced for her right now. Overall, a lovely historical account of a seminal moment in human history, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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

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Let The Children March (Monica Clark-Robinson)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Let The Children March, written by Monica Clark-Robinson and illustrated by Frank Morrison, a powerful account of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade.

In Jim Crow Alabama, a little girl’s family attends church to hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King. He is trying to raise a peaceful army to march for civil rights, but the attendees are reluctant for fear of losing their jobs. But a remarkable group from the congregation step forward to volunteer: teens and children, who sagely point out that they have no jobs to lose. The adults, including Dr. King, are hesitant – even peaceful protests can and often do turn violent – but the children insist; it’s their own rights they’re marching for, after all. On a sunny Thursday, one thousand children begin their march and, over the course of three days, thousands more would join – despite being harassed, threatened, brutally assaulted by police, and arrested. But in the end, their courage was a landmark moment for the movement that caused the world to sit up and take notice, and began a wave of desegregation in Birmingham less than a week later.

I am always shocked that the Birmingham Children’s Crusade is not a more wildly-known event, likely because of the national shame the horrific treatment of American minors brought. Clark-Robinson handles this difficult story deftly, putting the reader into the perspective of a young, unnamed marcher and allowing them to connect to the pain, pride, and perseverance of the children and teens who marched. Each child is illustrated in exquisite detail, giving every character vivid personality and humanity. The art also doesn’t shy away from the violence, an bold choice – children are seen huddling against fire hoses and cowering from attacking police dogs, clothing tattered and bloody. It’s never exploitative, but brutally and vitally honest of what these kids risked to be heard. The length is fine for most reading levels, and JJ was spellbound by the heartbreaking art. This is a book that should be read by bookworms of every age, to pay tribute to these brave young people and remind us that courage knows no age. Baby Bookworm approved.

Baabwaa & Wooliam (David Elliott)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Baabwaa & Wooliam, written by David Elliott and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, a fun little tale of two adventurous sheep.

Baabwaa and Wooliam are very best friends who spend every day together. Wooliam is an avid reader, which is a strange hobby for a sheep, but Bwaabaa certainly doesn’t mind. Bwaabaa herself has a passion for knitting, a remarkably practical hobby for a sheep. After reading a story on pirates one day, Wooliam suggests that the two set out on an adventure, which Bwaabaa excitedly agrees too – so what if they are technically in a great square pasture surrounded by a rock wall? Not thwarted by the inability to, you know, actually go anywhere, the two are content to adventure by walking around and around their pen, working up a nice appetite in the process. When the two stop for a nibble of grass, they notice a third… sheep(?), this one with a pointy snout, sharp fangs, and a filthy pelt, and who bears an odd resemblance to a character from one of Wooliam’s books. Perhaps their adventure is just beginning after all…

Delightfully funny. Using a combination of sharp and ridiculous humor, the hilarious duo of Baabwaa and Wooliam lead the reader on an adventure filled with subtle yet increasingly entertaining turns. The absurdity is perfectly paired with the deadpan delivery of the text and wonderfully expressive character design, resulting in a tale that’s fun for readers young and old. The story has a suitably happy ending, and a perfect length for any storytime. JJ thought the sheep, especially their pun-tastic names, were hilarious, and I had a ton of fun reading this one aloud. A silly joy of a book, and Baby Bookworm approved!

Poor Louie (Tony Fucile)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Poor Louie by Tony Fucile, a charming tale of a troubled pup.

Poor Louie. Life used to be paradise for this diminutive little dog; sitting at the table and dining on scraps, cuddling on the couch and in bed with his mom and dad, and being the pampered center of attention in their household. He even loved when his mom would invite her friends over for visits… until THEY started to arrive. First one, then two, then four – smaller humans on all fours who pulled his ears and poked his tummy. Louie was relieved when the babies would leave, but soon some new oddities began to appear at home. Suddenly he had to eat his meals on the floor, and bedtime was a much tighter squeeze as his mom’s belly grew (and… KICKED him?!). Spying a collection of new baby items – all in pairs – and a double stroller, Louie suddenly realizes that his family is about to grow by TWO. Oh no – how much change can poor Louie take?!

ADORABLE. The story of a new baby joining the family from a pet’s perspective is a classic one, yet this take feels fresh in every way, from the wonderfully expressive character design to the hilarious and endearing story. Louie’s concern over the changes in his family are specific and exaggerated just enough to be funny, but relatable enough in a broader sense that older brothers and sisters of the human variety can identify. And the resolution is one as adorable and heartwarming as a book about puppies and babies should have, with an added and unexpected modern twist. The length was fine for all ages, and JJ LOVED little Louie, as did I. An absolute treat, and Baby Bookworm approved.

Happy Dreamer (Peter H. Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds, an ode to creativity and imagination.

A little boy introduces himself to the reader as a happy dreamer: a creative soul who simply cannot help but let his mind wander, explore, create, and of course, dream. The world may tell him to sit down, be still, and keep quiet, but when his dreaming starts, he simply cannot. Whether they be quiet dreams, loud dreams, high-flying dreams, explosive dreams, colorful dreams, or a dozen other types of dreaming, he is proud that his mind is a doorway to the endless unknown, and that his dreamer’s spirit will guide him through.

Sweet. Reynolds’s meditation on the creative mind features colorful and appropriately expressive illustrations, and story that reads like a jazz song – each spread is a variation on the theme, culminating in a wonderful pull-out section that features dozens of diverse young dreamers expressing their creativity in their own ways (from art and music to community and civic service). There were a few moments that weren’t my cup of tea, such as the suggestion that a symptom of being creative is to also be disorganized – speaking from personal experience, this just isn’t true – or disobedient in the face of structure. But overall, for many imaginative kids who might share these qualities, it is a nice way of letting them know that they aren’t alone. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed the colorful art. This is a cute book that encourages the dreamer in all of us, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.