Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy And Fearful Cats (Alicia Potter)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy And Fearful Cats, written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Birgitta Sif, a charmingly sweet story about finding courage to help a friend in need.

When Miss Hazeltine opens her Home For Shy And Fearful Cats, she’s not sure anyone will come… but they do, in droves. Owners bringing cats with one complaint or another (“won’t chase mice!”, “won’t purr!”, “useless!”) and timid strays all flock to her sanctuary, where Miss Hazeltine cares for the kitties and tries to give them confidence and teach them courage. Crumb is the most nervous little cat of all, hiding in dark spaces and never coming out, but still, Miss Hazeltine is kind and patient with him. But when Miss Hazeltine disappears one day while out to get milk, Crumb may find the courage inside him after all, especially if the lady he loves is in trouble.

This was a wonderfully sweet little tale with a lot of positives. It’s primarily a story about being brave when it’s most important, but there’s quite a few lessons here to be had: everyone has fears (including Miss Hazeltine), kindness is its own reward, and when the people you care about need help, it’s important to find the courage to do so, even take the lead if necessary. The illustrations are very cute, with lots of cuddly kitties and the endearingly exuberant Miss Hazeltine giving the story plenty of characters to root for. The length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed this one, especially the many cats that grace each page. All in all, a very cute story for the shy and/or fearful feline in all of us. Baby Bookworm approved!

Lion Lessons (Jon Agee)

Hello, friends! Today, JJ and Mr. Dinosaur read Lion Lessons by Jon Agee, a silly story about a little boy proving that he has what it takes to be a lion.

Learning how to be a good lion is a seven step process, an unfortunately, the narrator is having a bit of trouble with all of them. His roar is not quite fearsome, his pouncing is paltry, and he can’t seem to keep his tail out of sight while hiding. Both he and his instructor-lion are beginning to wonder if he’s really got what it takes. But when faced with a situation that needs his intervention, perhaps the narrator will find that being lion-hearted is something you find within yourself.

This was a very cute story, mostly silly, but with a nice bit of lesson at the end: bravery can’t always be taught, and sometimes you find your courage only when you need it most. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure where the story was going at some points, but I was glad for a satisfying resolution. Otherwise, the illustrations are fine, simple yet cute, and add a lot of personality to the characters. The length was good, and JJ enjoyed it very much, so this is definitely a good one for the littlest readers. We liked this one! Baby Bookworm approved!

Shy (Deborah Freedman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the lovely Shy by Deborah Freedman, a gorgeous fable about overcoming fears and shyness.

Shy is a very timid sort. He’s most comfortable hidden between the pages of a book (this one, to be precise). Still, he dreams of having the courage to explore “a land far away,” where so many of his books are set. One day, he sees a beautiful bird, one of his favorite reading subjects, a decides to do the unthinkable: he leaves home. What follows is a beautiful tale of what can happen when we step out of our comfort zones to create our own “Once upon a time…” 

We loved this book. The concept is unique and well-executed, the text is soothing yet inspiring, and the story’s message of courage and inner strength is wonderful. The art is also breathtaking: the colors of each page tell stories of their own, weaving together muted and understated with bright and vibrant depending on what the story calls for. This is an awesome book with a great length for baby bookworms, and JJ adored it, so definitely check this one out. Baby Bookworm approved.