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.

Please Bring Balloons (Lindsay Ward)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward, an absolutely lovely story of a girl, a polar bear, and a wonderful adventure.

One day at the carousel, Emma notices a folded note peeking out of the saddle of the polar bear:. “Please bring balloons” it reads, in text and doodle. While Emma wonders why the carousel polar bear needs a balloon, she’s happy to help, leaving a polka dot balloon tied to the bear’s saddle. She even thinks she sees the polar bear give her a tiny smile. When she returns the next day, another note: “Bring more balloons!” Emma happily complies, and when she does, she and the polar bear lift off into the air, buoyed by their magic balloons, and head off on an adventure together. Where are they going? What will they see? It all depends where the balloons take them.

This was a very sweet book. The story is very simple, but it’s charming nonetheless, and is a great celebration of the magic to be found in everyday things; it inspires the sort of imagination that makes one look at a carousel animal and wonder what enchantment it holds, and I love that. The art is the star of the show here, with gorgeous mixed-media illustrations that are equal parts realistic and fantastic, and fit the theme and atmosphere of the story perfectly. The length is just right, and there’s a stellar fold-out page that lit JJ’s eyes up. Overall, we both really liked it. This is a perfect story for the curious, the adventurous, and the dreamers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!