What’s Your Favorite Color? (Eric Carle & Friends)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the visually stunning What’s Your Favorite Color? by Eric Carle & Friends, a gorgeous collaboration of fifteen of the most beloved children’s book illustrators on their favorite colors.

What’s your favorite color? Is it yellow, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Eric Carle? He likes yellow because it is often the color of the sun in children’s drawings. Or is it green, like Philip C. Stead, who likes to imagine that many things can be green, even an elephant if he really feels like it. How about the late, lovely Anna Dewdney’s favorite: purple, the color of her favorite childhood outfit and the peacocks she dreamed of having one day. Or is it blue like Bryan Collier, who is reminded of his daughter whenever there are rainy days and blue balloons. Everyone has colors that are special to them, even many colors, or all the colors! How about you? What’s YOUR favorite color?

Absolutely stunning. For kidlit nerds like me who absolutely love picture book illustrations, this is quite simply a treasure trove. Each color-inspired spread is unique, personal, and visually striking, from Mike Curato’s raccoon enjoying a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone to Frann Preston-Gannon’s vibrant orange tiger hidden in grass to Jill McElmurry’s hauntingly beautiful black garden. The short blurbs that the artists have written to accompany the colors are sometimes funny, sometimes touching; all of them will make you consider each color from a different perspective. The length was fine, and JJ and I both adored it – this was even the first color book in which JJ was able to distinguish between gray and black, and the first time I’ve heard her use “black” properly! A feast for the eyes for readers of every age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

It Is Not Time For Sleeping (A Bedtime Story) (Lisa Graff)


Hello, friends! Today, we read It Is Not Time For Sleeping (A Bedtime Story), written by Lisa Graff and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, an adorably sweet story about a little boy counting down the steps of his bedtime routine.

Dinner is finished, and a little boy’s mother remarks that it has been a nice day. “It IS a nice day,” he replies, because he knows that it’s not yet time for sleeping. No, first there are dishes to wash, a bath to take, a story to read. And of course, he couldn’t possibly think of going to sleep without brushing his teeth or saying goodnight to his beloved dog Jasper. So when IS it time for sleeping? When he’s in his pajamas? No. When he’s all tucked in? Not yet. No, it’s not yet time to sleep until he gets one last thing: a hug and kiss from Mom and Dad. Then, at long last, the boy can rest his head and go to sleep.

This was a charming book that could easily become a favorite bedtime story. I love that the many steps of the boy’s bedtime routine are partly him trying to stall for time and partly the serious officiousness all small children seem to have about following the steps of a routine in order. It gives the story a great voice and a feeling of authenticity. The art is adorable, creating a quiet, soothing atmosphere perfect for lulling little readers to their own sleep. Pacing and length is perfect, and JJ and I both loved this one. A simple, lovely story about going to bed, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Top 5: PoC Protagonists

top

Hello, friends! It’s the end of February, and so it’s time for another Top 5 list. As you know, February is Black History Month, and The Baby Bookworm dedicated our Friday reviews to books that celebrate the lives and achievements of historical black Americans. For our Top 5, however, we thought that we would instead recognize some of our favorite books that feature fictional protagonists of color.

As we mentioned in our Top 5 last month, people of color are woefully underrepresented in children’s literature. For instance, only 7.6% of children’s books released in 2015 featured characters who were black (by contrast, 73.3% of books featured white characters, and 12.5% featured non-human characters like animals or vehicles). And while children’s books about African-American history are immensely important, having kidlit that feature ordinary, everyday PoC characters that young children can relate to is just as vital. So for our Top 5 this month, and in no particular order, we would like to highlight some wonderful children’s books that feature black/PoC protagonists:

1. The Princess And The Pony (Kate Beaton)

img_7528

An awesome, and uproariously funny, girl power story to start this list off right! Princess Pinecone and her desire to be a great warrior are thwarted when, instead of the fierce battle steed she wishes for, she is given a roly-poly pony with a cuddly heart of gold. Adorable cartoonish illustrations set the stage perfectly, but the story will surprise you with an unexpected twist that gives it miles of heart. Additionally, Pinecone’s ferocity as a warrior is never questioned or doubted due to her gender, and her society is depicted as being one of many colors, shapes, and sizes – ponies included.

2. More-igami (Dori Kleber)

img_8440

Part-origami instruction manual, part-story about learning a new skill and the hard work and dedication it can take to do so. Joey loves everything that fold: accordions, old maps, even fold-away beds! So when a classmate’s mother shows him the art of origami, he wants to learn how to make beautiful folded paper art as best as he can, practicing day and night – and occasionally, to the inconvenience of his family! This is a wonderfully-illustrated (by G. Brian Karas) and thoroughly fun story about having the tenacity to follow a passion, and even features instructions for readers to attempt an origami craft of their own.

3. Twenty Yawns (Jane Smiley)

img_8364

A very different sort of bedtime book that appeals to readers old and young. Lucy is the only one in her house left awake in the silvery hour of twilight and, finding her atmosphere a bit spooky, gathers her stuffed animal friends to snuggle into bed with, finding her own courage along the way. Written by Smiley, and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, with a nostalgic air and gentle magic, it’s a sweet tale about finding confidence in being kind to others. Bonus: the titular twenty yawns are sprinkled throughout the book so readers can enjoy finding and counting them.

4. How To Find Gold (Viviane Schwarz)

img_8129

A story of exploration, daring to dream, and friendship. Anna and her crocodile friend set their minds to do something dangerous and difficult: they are going to find gold. They know they need to be good secret-keepers, so they practice their secret-keeping faces. They know they need a map with an X, so they draw one. And though, once they set sail, there’s a scary storm on the horizon, they sail in without fear, because they know that nothing is every too scary or dangerous or difficult with a good friend at your side. With cute then breathtaking (then cute again) illustrations and a charmingly childlike text and plot, this one is perfect for the dreamers.

5. Explorers Of The Wild (Cale Atkinson)

img_1379

An exhilarating and gorgeous story about friendship and exploration (again!). Every good explorer need guts, ingenuity, curiosity, and skill. With these qualities, one can explore the wild without fear. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can even find a friend to share your explorations with you. And while you may one day have to part, you will both always have the memories of conquering the wild together. Atkinson’s fantastic illustrations are full of both grandeur and quiet moments, with a wonderful sense of the indestructible feeling of adventuring in nature as a child as well as the bittersweet reality that while sometimes friendships must end, they are always precious.

There we are! A Top 5 filled with some of our favorite PoC protagonists! Also, we want to include two honorable mentions: Ada Twist, Scientist, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, and Grace For President, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, two of our favorite girl-power books that also have stellar PoC protagonists. The only reason we didn’t include them in this list is because we’d featured them before. What do you think? Did we leave any of your favorites out? Let is know in the comments, or message us from out Contact page. Thanks so much for reading!

Twenty Yawns (Jane Smiley)


Hello, everyone! Today, we read Twenty Yawns, written by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. This is a sweet bedtime story about the sometimes-spooky time right before bed.

Lucy and her parents spend all day playing at the beach, and when they all get home, they’re all very tired. Lucy’s mom begins to read her a bedtime story, but falls asleep before it’s through. Lucy is left alone in the silvery time of early night, and feels a bit spooked. She goes to find her teddy bear, Molasses, and after finding her father asleep as well, sees that all her stuffed animal friends are feeling a bit lonely and unnerved as well. As she takes care of them, she finds the courage and comfort she needs by snuggling into bed with all her plushies until everyone is yawning and drifting off to sleep.

This was a cute book with a gentle sort of magic to it. It’s definitely a time of night that most remember from childhood: when everyone was asleep but you. The illustrations are adorable, and the titular twenty yawns are sprinkled throughout the book so that readers can find and count them. The length is fine for baby bookworms, and we enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!