In My Life (John Lennon & Paul McCartney)

Hello, friends! Our book today is In My Life, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, illustrated by Genevieve Santos, a picture book interpretation of the classic Beatles song.

Following the lyrics of the timeless ballad “In My Life”, the artwork opens on a young curly-haired girl discovering a brand new bike with training wheels, and taking it for a spin with an older female character (their relationship is never explicitly defined, but context suggests she is the girl’s mother or caregiver). The girl is shown adventuring on her bike all over their seaside setting: exploring, playing, discovering; sometimes with her companion, sometimes alone. As she grows, her bike changes – losing training wheels, becoming a larger model, changing out colors and handlebars. The girl is shown attending college, commuting through city streets, then returning to the seaside town with her own young daughter in tow (on her bike’s new child seat, naturally). They have someone to visit… and a new bike to try out, so all three girls can begin exploring anew.

Heartwarming, if occasionally puzzling. While “In My Life” is quite possibly one of the most universally affecting Beatles songs, the lyrics do feature the word “lovers” repeatedly, a word which is, frankly, odd to read in a children’s book in its intended context (we chose to “sing” the book through, and I’m afraid it didn’t make those lines any less awkward). That being said, the sweet and gentle story told by the artwork is lovely to behold, as Santo’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations are gorgeous and atmospheric, and the use of color to set each scene’s tone is stunning. The length is great for a storytime, JJ loved that we could sing it, and I won’t lie: the final few pages got me a little choked up and teary-eyed. A few hiccups, but overall a lovely and moving reimagining that music-lovers in particular will adore. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Littles, And How They Grow (Kelly DiPucchio)

Hello, friends! Today’s review is the sentimental and sweet Littles, And How They Grow, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by AG Ford, a lovely book of about growing babies.

There are so many special things about Littles (little babies, that is): their little toys, their little smiles, their little clothes that show off their adorable dimpled knees. There are Little books, Little games, and wonderfully messy Little meals. Most of all, there are lots of friends and family who love their Little so very much. And all too quickly, all those Littles, with their giggles and tantrums and naps and cuddles, are not-so-little anymore.

There’s a grand tradition of books about babies becoming big kids, and this is a welcome addition to it. Sweet, simple rhymes and universal reflections on all the magical things about babies create a warm and gentle story that’s fun to read. And the illustrations, in addition to being appropriately adorable, are fantastically inclusive. LGBTQ, multicultural, mixed-race, and non-traditional families are shown raising babies of many ethnicities, and there was a wonderfully welcome illustration of a baby nursing that can help teach children about breastfeeding. The length was great, and JJ adored all the little babies and their antics. A sweet celebration of the joy of watching babies grow, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Book Of Mistakes (Corinna Luyken)

Hello, friends! Today’s review is The Book Of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken, a positively charming story about how mistakes can often turn out to be just what we need.

It all starts with one mistake: an artist, drawing a girl, makes one eye a bit larger than the other. Trying to correct by making the smaller eye bigger doesn’t help; now that eye is bigger than the other one was! So the artist draws glasses to hide the uneven eyes, which works perfectly. And on it goes: the artist makes mistakes, but finds increasingly creative ways to cover them that end up making the drawing even more beautiful. And at last, the drawing is finished, and the reader is left with the lesson that mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of – oftentimes, they make us even better than we were before.

We LOVED this one. What a fabulous lesson to teach children, that making mistakes is a natural part of life, and can help us to grow and change in ways we wouldn’t otherwise. And the way this was woven into the clever, then exciting, then absolutely majestic visuals of the illustrations was perfection. The length was great, and JJ and I both enjoyed it so much. This is one that should be read to every little bookworm, encouraging them to take risks, create art, be themselves and, most importantly, make mistakes. Baby Bookworm approved! 

Lizard From The Park (Mark Pett)

Hello, friends! Hope you don’t mind that we took last night off! We’re back today with a new review: Lizard From The Park by Mark Pett, a sweet story about friendship, family, and dinosaurs.

While taking a shortcut through the park one day, Leonard comes upon a most unusual egg. He takes the egg home, playing with it and caring for it, until the next morning when it begins to hatch. Busting through the shell, out pops a tiny lizard whom Leonard names, appropriately, Buster. Leonard and Buster are inseparable, and Leonard takes his new little one to all his favorite places in the city. But as the two grow closer together, Buster is growing as well – he soon outgrows the other people, Leonard’s room, even the roof of the apartment building. Leonard needs to find a solution for his rapidly growing friend, even if it means having to say goodbye… 

This was a very sweet and playful story, with an honest yet hopeful ending that felt just right. Much like Love Is by Diane Adams, Leonard comes to terms with the fact that Buster needs to go out into the world on his own, making this a wonderful metaphor for parenthood as well as a sweet tale about friendship. The illustrations are perfect; sometimes wry, sometimes sentimental, and with a wonderful visual story that dovetails to the main theme nicely. The length is great, and JJ loved it. Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

I Wish You More (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Hello, friends. Our book today is I Wish You More, written by the late, great Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, a heartfelt meditation on the wishes parents hold for their babies.

I wish you more hugs than ughs. More ups than downs. More umbrella than rain. More stories than stars. Simple, earnest sentiments make up the text, with a loved one wishing the reader friendship, joys, and courage as they grow. The narrator wishes these things with all their heart, because their child is everything that they could wish for, and more.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal sadly passed away last month, and this sweet, tender book was recommended to us as one of her best works, and we must agree. It’s sentimental without being schmaltzy; sincere yet still whimsical. The endearing and playful art captures the small wonders and simple pleasures of childhood in a way that young readers can connect to and older ones can feel nostalgic for. The length is perfect for baby bookworms, and JJ really enjoyed it, especially the illustrations. This is a all-around lovely book that celebrates the hope we have for our children, and the endless possibilities that their futures hold. We loved it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.