Good Night, Good Night (Sandra Boynton)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Good Night, Good Night by Sandra Boynton, the original, longer version of the author/illustrator’s massively popular The Going To Bed Book.

After nearly 40 years in circulation, The Going To Bed Book gets an expansion based on Boynton’s original 1985 version, with redrawn illustrations to accompany the evergreen bedtime tale’s new layout. Fans of the story will enjoy the familiar rhyming text as it follows a motley group of animals at sea as they prepare for bedtime – brushing teeth, taking a bath, putting on jammies, and even working in a spot of exercise to get out that last minute energy. New scenes include cuddling into bed and a performance by two bunnies of a jaunty song about dreams of playing in the mud (including lyrics and musical notation). At last, the animals cut the lights and let the ocean gently rock them to sleep.

For nearly the entire first two years of JJ’s life, her bedtime routine included reading The Going To Bed Book, a perfectly paced and executed book that readers have been enjoying for decades. So naturally, we were excited to read this expanded version, and we weren’t disappointed! Boynton’s illustrations include all the fun and familiar visuals of the original, spaced out and with additional details to spot but otherwise effortlessly merging old with new. The addition of the song changes the story’s rhythm a bit, but JJ enjoyed the silly, simple tune immensely. Both versions are delightful in their own way, and present an opportunity to caregivers who can start with the board book version for very little bookworms, then introduce the expanded version as they grow. Overall, this was a treat – a fresh and fun new version of an undisputed classic. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Unicorns Are The Worst! (Alex Willan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Unicorns Are The Worst! by Alex Willan, a hilarious tale of mistaken impressions and the importance of overcoming them.

Life has simply been disastrous for the unnamed goblin narrator since the meadow next door was taken over by – ugh – unicorns. All their prancing and glitter and harp music is utterly unbearable to the serious and studious goblin, who prefers to spent his days quietly studying spells and sorting ingredients. And don’t get him started on the tea parties, the ones they never even INVITE him to – not that he’d want to go anyway! Yet when goblin finds himself in a jam, he might be surprised how useful those silly unicorn traits can be… and why he should know not to judge a book by its cover.

Adorable, funny, and with a great message. Goblin certainly seems to have it out for the mostly-innocuous unicorns, but his tirades begin to show the true motivation behind his ire: he feels left out and doesn’t know how to connect with his new neighbors. When the unicorns use their prancing and glitter to defend the goblin from a dragon attack, he realizes that their seemingly frivolous hobbies have value, just as his magical studies do. It’s a nice way to show that there is value in our differences, and that we shouldn’t judge the interests of others simply because they don’t align with our own. The illustrations are delightful, using bright colors and sparkles (naturally) to show a visual contrast between the carefree unicorns and the more drab and staid goblin, and creating tension and comedy with dramatic angles and visual gags. The length is perfect for a storytime, I loved reading the expressive and conversational dialogue aloud, and JJ was tickled pink by the humor. This one is a treat – a throughly entertaining title with a solid lesson, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

A Small Kindness (Stacy McAnulty)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Small Kindness, written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Wendy Leach, a sweet story about how even the smallest acts of goodwill can have a huge impact.

“It was like a game of tag”, our story begins, over a sepia-toned schoolyard where Ms. Jones’s new class has congregated; all the children are sepia-toned as well, with the exception of Alice. But when Alice smiles at Lucas, a bit of bright color spreads to him. When Lucas says hello to Jasmine, the color spreads to her as well. And on it goes, with every small act of kindness – a joke, a compliment, an act of service, a word of encouragement, etc. – bringing more and more pigments to the students, adults, and the school itself. By the time class lets out, the dullness has faded away and left a world of color – and it all started with one small act of kindness.

Lovely. McAnulty’s story is just perfect for young readers – the “game of tag” metaphor and the simple, short sentences to narrative the “movement” of the kindness create a concept that is as easily recognized as it is universal. Leach does a nice job with the illustrations, showing a diverse group of kids and giving them individual styles and expressions, helping to distinguish them from each other as the kindness moves through the class. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ really enjoyed it. This would be a great addition to any classroom or home library, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

A Friend For Mole (Nancy Armo)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Friend For Mole by Nancy Armo, a tale of an unlikely friendship.

Mole lives a quiet life in his underground burrow, where he enjoys the dark and the quiet. Still, he feels a bit lonely, which is why, when he hears the noises of other creatures above, he ventures out one day. However, the bright sun and loud noises are too disorienting for the little mole, and he stumbles into a bush to hide. When night falls, he is comfortable in the dark once more, but now he’s lost! Worse, there’s a mysterious noise nearby – another creature is near! Will it be a scary predator… or perhaps a new friend?

Sweet but slightly uneven. Mole is adorable, but his motivations and fears are a little inconsistent and therefore confusing. His budding friendship with Wolf is very sweet, though, and their night-time games to help Wolf with his fear of the dark are unique and fun. The ending is a little abrupt, and the illustrations a little simplistic yet still charming. The length is fine for a storytime, but JJ’s attention was definitely wavering. Overall, this one has pluses and minuses, but for a simple story of friendship and overcoming fears, it’s worth a look – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

The Little Kitten (Nicola Killen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen, an adorable autumn tale of feline friendship.

Little Ollie, clad in a playful catsuit, is ready to head outside to enjoy a fall day with her own pet cat, Pumpkin. Yet just as she’s about to jump into a pile of crunchy leaves, a gust of wind blows them all away – to reveal a shivering kitten hidden within! Ollie and Pumpkin welcome their new friend with a day of play and cuddles, but in all the excitement, Ollie and the new kitten run off and accidentally leave Pumpkin behind. Discovering some “Lost Kitten” flyers, Ollie realizes that her new friend is missed by his own person, and endeavors to help him find his way home. With a mysterious path, a missing Pumpkin, and a quickly-falling night, can Ollie get the kitten home… without becoming lost herself?

Delightful. This sweet-as-pumpkin-pie story is as gentle and cozy of an autumn tale as any reader could wish for. Themes of adventure and friendship (and just a hint of Halloween) are rich, yet the story itself is simple, making for a lovely and light storytime. Equally appealing is the soft yet striking artwork, which features adorable, endearing characters in shades of gray, white, and orange. The sporadic cutouts and gorgeous use of foil amongst the fall foliage is the cherry on top. The length is perfect, and JJ adored it. A modern fall classic-in-the-making that’s sure to please, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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