I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About A Simple Act Of Kindness (Kerascoët)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About A Simple Act Of Kindness by Kerascoët, a story of the power of empathy and compassion.

Using only pictures, we meet Vanessa, a new girl at school. She is shy, reserved and hesitant around her more boisterous and familiar classmates. When school ends, she walks home alone, where she is stopped by a bully who taunts her to the point of tears. Vanessa runs home crying, much to the dismay of another girl, who has watched the entire exchange. She tells her small circle of friends of what she saw, and they part ways sadly, upset over the incident. The girl worries over it all night, until she has an idea over breakfast. On her way to school, she stops by Vanessa’s house and offers to walk together. Vanessa accepts, and they chat as they go, until another friend joins them. Then another, then another, until a whole crowd of children is walking Vanessa to school, and she is protected from the chagrined bully. That day, Vanessa begins getting to know her new friends, finally feeling safe enough to come out of her shell.

Absolutely wonderful. It speaks to the sheer perfection of Kerascoët’s art that words aren’t needed to tell a compelling, touching, and uplifting story; in the absence of text, the bully’s harsh words are still cutting and cruel, the downcast expressions of the two girls speaks volumes, and the reader can practically hear the chatter of friendly, supportive children during the final scenes. The simplicity of the story can speak to readers of any age: hatred and callousness always loses when good people come together to stand against it. Wordless picture books are often tough with JJ, but the lovely, earnest art and compelling story it tells kept her riveted, and left me with a warm heart and misty eyes. A positively beautiful book, and Baby Bookworm approved!

Dragon Was Terrible (Kelly DiPucchio)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Dragon Was Terrible, written by the awesome Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. This fun story is about a mean dragon, and the little boy who tames him in the most unexpected of ways!

There’s no getting around it: Dragon was terrible. Every day, he seemed to find new ways of being rude, mean and a bully to everyone around him. So the king advertises an award for the person who can tame Dragon, first to the brave knights (who fail miserably) and then to anyone who dares try (who also fail miserably). Still, there is one little boy who thinks he has the solution, though it’s a bit unusual: has anyone tried reading Dragon a story?

Kelly DiPucchio is one of our personal favorite authors, and she doesn’t disappoint with Dragon. The story is the perfect length, tons of fun, and has several fantastic messages to take away: the effectiveness of ingenuity over brute strength, and the power of books, patience and friendship. The illustrations are simply adorable and lots of fun, and JJ loved them. A fantastic and fun read to tame any terrible little dragon. Baby Bookworm approved!

Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth (Jarvis)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth by Jarvis, a story about bullies and the secrets they sometimes hide.

Alan is a fearsome, scary alligator with sharp and gleaming teeth. Everyday, he goes out into the jungle and snaps and growls at all the animals, terrifying them. But Alan has a secret, and when the animals find out about it, they laugh at him until he is in tears. That night, as they listen to his embarrassed weeping, the animals realize they big, scary Alan has feelings, too. So they animals strike up a deal: if Alan stops scaring the animals, they won’t tease him. The creatures all become good friends, and Alan only scares them with a friendly campfire story or two.

This was a really great book about bullying. The metaphor of bullies like Alan having a secret insecurity that makes them act scary is well-executed, and I love that the animals realized that by making fun of Alan’s secret, they become bullies themselves. It’s a great message wrapped in a cute, fun-to-read story and some exciting, colorful illustrations. The length was great for baby bookworms, and JJ really liked it! Baby Bookworm approved!