Bird Hugs (Ged Adamson)

Hello, friends! The Baby Bookworm household has been down with another bug, so we’re happy to be back today with a review of the lovely Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson.

Bernard is different from the other birds. When he was a baby, he didn’t realize it; he just enjoyed playing with his friends on the ground and in the trees. When his friends began to fly, however, it became clear: Bernard’s extra-long wings – both of them many times the size of his small, round body – make flight impossible. Watching as his friends frolic through the sky, Bernard wallows in disappointment, particularly after a series of failed attempts to circumvent his impairment. But one day, he hears someone crying: an orangutan who feels inexplicable sorrow. Sympathizing, Bernard wraps his extra-long wings around his new ape friend, and is surprised to find that not only does the orangutan feel better… so does he.

Loved this. Much like one of our recent favorites, All The Ways To Be Smart by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys, this sweet story illustrates that talent and ability come in many forms, and celebrates the value of empathy and emotional aptitude. Bernard comes to find that there are many animals in need of emotional support, and both his hugs AND his talent for listening are of immense help. This earns him a jungle full of new friends, including a few who adorably help him in return in the final spread. This focus on how being different is often a strength in and of itself is a wonderfully welcome and heartwarming message, bolstered by Adamson’s adorable, emotional illustrations and clever yet tender text. The length is perfect, and JJ and I both adored it. A warm hug of a tale, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Ava And The Rainbow (Who Stayed) (Ged Adamson)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ava And The Rainbow (Who Stayed) by Ged Adamson, the story of a little girl and a very colorful friend.

After the rain, Ava runs to the hill; she is hoping to see a rainbow. And indeed, one is there – the most beautiful rainbow Ava’s ever seen. Returning home, she wishes that the rainbow could stay, and dreams all night that it could. When she wakes the next morning, she finds her dream has come true: the rainbow is still there, day and night, sunshine and rain. The town is sent into a tizzy, with visitors coming from far and wide, souvenirs being sold in shops, and events taking place under the rainbow’s arch. But as time goes by, the rainbow becomes commonplace, ignored and even disrespected by everyone but Ava. It decides that perhaps it is time to leave, and Ava is broken-hearted. But when the rain comes again, her friend is back, and she welcomes it with the songs and stories they shared from that very first day.

I confess, I didn’t quite understand the message of this one the first time around. After some thought, however, my interpretation is that it’s a comment on the fickle nature of popularity – the rainbow is honored and beloved when it’s a novelty, then quickly dropped as people’s attention moves on. Except of course for Ava, the rainbow’s one true friend – she understands when it is ready to do what’s right for itself, and is there for it when it comes back, the only person who shows genuine concern and support. And this is a wonderful lesson for little ones – friends are the ones who stay long after the fairweather followers have left. The cartoonish art is joyful, wry and colorful, and an absolute delight. The length is great, and JJ loved it. A subtle but powerful lesson in modern friendship, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Top 5: The Best Of The Rest

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Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! It’s been a long and grueling year for so many of us, and so The Baby Bookworm would like to go out on a positive note: our last Top 5 list of the year. This week’s theme is The Best Of The Rest, i.e our absolute favorite books that we read in 2016 that didn’t fit into the other weeks’ themes. These books were just too good not to get their turn in the spotlight: some are joyful, some sad, but all were books that left an impact. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Best Of The Rest Books of 2016:

1. Douglas, You Need Glasses! (Ged Adamson)

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This book was AWESOME. So awesome that I wish it had been written when I was a child and nervous about getting glasses of my own. Through adorable illustrations and a joyfully silly story, Adamson walks children through the process of getting their first pair of glasses and the improvement it can make on their lives. As a woman with a degenerative eye disorder who has had to wear corrective lenses since childhood, I’m so glad that this book is around for young readers to help guide them through, and maybe even get them excited about, this sometimes daunting process.

2. 14 Cows For America (Carmen Agra Deedy)

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A deeply moving true story about the power of empathy and generosity. 14 Cows For America tells the tale of a young Maasai man’s trip home to visit his village after witnessing the September 11th attacks (a tale relayed with great subtlety for young readers), and his people’s remarkable show of friendship and support to a grieving nation. Featuring some of the best artwork in a children’s book ever, this story will bring a tear to your eye and leave a lasting impact with its timeless message: no sincere gesture is ever too small.

3. Always Remember (Cece Meng)

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Speaking of tearjerkers. Sadly, The Baby Bookworm family has lost quite a few loved ones in the past few years: JJ’s great-grandmother and grandfather passed away in the two years before she was born, and we lost both of her surviving great-grandfathers in the last few months. Grief can a difficult concept for a child, and that she will never know or barely knew these remarkable people is a source of sadness for our family. But in our times of mourning, we found deep comfort in the remarkable book Always Remember, a story not about what happens after death, but how those left behind cope with loss by keeping our loved ones alive in stories and memories. The undersea art by Jago is breathtaking, but the message that those who have left us will live on within our memories of them is moving and powerful.

4. Brontorina (James Howe)

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A wonderful book about positive body image and believing in your dreams that has quickly become one of our favorite bedtime stories. The apatosaurus who knows that she was meant to be a ballerina despite her size, and the unwavering support of her friends to help her achieve that dream against the odds, is uplifting and inspiring, with a final page that gets me choked up during every repeat reading. Adorable illustrations and a perfect length support the book’s simple yet universal message: no dream (or dreamer) is ever too big or too small.

5. The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore (William Joyce)

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Last but not least, one of our favorite books that we discovered this year, a gorgeous fantasy about the power, joy, and legacy of a life lived in words. The story of a man who becomes the caretaker of magical flying books, caring for them and sharing them with those who need their stories most, is a gorgeous fable about the color and meaning that books and stories bring to our lives, and how the impact they make on us influences the impact we make on our world. The illustrations are intricate and enchanting, and the ending will leave a peaceful, solid feeling in your heart.

That’s it, friends! Our Top 5 Best Of The Rest Books of 2016! Did we leave any out? What were your favorite children’s books from this year? And while this is the last Top 5 of 2016, not to fret: we have decided to make our Top 5 lists a monthly feature starting in the new year! Hooray! So join us again in 2017 for more books, more stories, and more love for the power of reading. Happy New Year!

Douglas, You Need Glasses! (Ged Adamson)


Hello! Today, we read Douglas, You Need Glasses! by Ged Adamson, an adorably awesome book about getting your first pair of glasses.

Douglas loves to play with his human, Nancy, but he has a bit of a problem: he is nearsighted. Sometimes, when he thinks he’s chasing a squirrel, he’s actually chasing a leaf. Sometimes he can’t read important signs, and steps in wet concrete. Sometimes, he even goes to the wrong house! So Nancy takes Douglas to the eye doctor, and they find that he needs glasses. Once he picks a pair that he likes, he finds that life with good vision is twice as sweet!

This book was so great! Illustrations were adorable and funny, the text was fun to read, and the length was perfect for baby bookworms. I especially loved the subject matter, though: I have a degenerative eye disorder, and have had to wear corrective lenses or contacts for most of my life, and we know that the same may be so of JJ as she gets older. It’s great to know that if, down the road, she needs glasses like I did, this book can make the process less scary and more fun! Love this book, and we highly recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!