Try A Little Kindness (Henry Cole)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Try A Little Kindness by Henry Cole, a sweet and sometimes silly guide to simple acts of kindness.

Alternating between rhyming text, instructional sentences and vignetted dialogue, readers are encouraged to try to add a little kindness to their daily routines. First, they can start by waking up with a smile and a positive attitude. Examples such as sharing toys, giving hugs, being an ally and inviting someone to play are accompanied by whimsical illustrations of animals doing just those things. And when the day is done, you can feel good about having shared your kindness with others.

Mostly cute. I really enjoyed the various examples the story gives on how children can infuse goodwill into their days, especially in ways that are often overlooked or forgotten about (such as writing Thank You notes). The slightly haphazard jumps between text rhythms was a little jarring at times, but not so much that it couldn’t be gotten used to. My only main issue is apparently a selling point of the book – in many of the art sets that accompany the acts of kindness, there will be one vignette not like the others – such as a cat “opening to door for others” to a birdcage, or a chicken nervously “playing” with a gang of foxes – that is meant to provide humor but honestly sort of undercuts the message of the book. While this is the kind of gag that older kids would probably love, it flew over JJ’s head and was just sort of bothersome to me. However, for the most part, this is a great way to encourage little ones to find ways to be friendly, generous, and sweet, and it’s hard to argue with that. The length was fine, JJ enjoyed it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

And Tango Makes Three (Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell)

Banned Books Week Day 3: Hello, everyone! Today, we read And Tango Makes Three, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole. This is a sweet true story about a very special family of chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo.

Roy and Silo are not like the other male penguins in the penguin habitat. Instead of wanting to spend time with the girl penguins, they prefer to spend time with each other. They act just like the other penguin couples: they spend all their time together and build a nest that they share. They only thing missing from their family is something the other penguins have: an egg to care for. So their caretaker finds an egg that needs parents and gives it to Roy and Silo, who ecstatically care for their egg together. One day, their egg hatches, and they welcome their daughter Tango, making their family complete.

This adorable story about a same-sex penguin family raising an egg together has the dubious distinction of being the most banned and challenged book from 2006-2008, then again in 2010 (it dropped to second place in 2009) due to its positive portrayal of a same-sex relationship (again, between two PENGUINS). 

So what was our opinion? This is a lovely story about family, and how it doesn’t always have to look traditional to be warm and loving, and an informative book on how penguins find mates and raise families. The illustrations are darling, and JJ loved them. It was a bit long for a one-year-old, but she did okay with it, so older children would definitely love it. Baby Bookworm approved!