Wonderfall (Michael Hall)


Hello, friends! Our book today is the lovely Wonderfall by Michael Hall, a clever book of word mash-ups that celebrates the fall season.

Told through the eyes of a colorful autumn tree, we are presented with scenes from fall, each set to the theme of a different play on the word “fall.” There are the “beautifall” shades of red, orange, and brown that make up the season’s colors, the “frightfall” costumes of the trick-or-treaters on Halloween, the “plentifall” harvest, and a “thankfall” holiday full of delicious treats to gobble-gobble up. Then, as the air turns cool and the tree loses its leaves, it is delighted to welcome a new kind of fall: the first snowfall of winter.

What a fabulous book! This one was a delightfall (yes, I did that) feast for the eyes and ears, using a clever premise and some truly joyful art to celebrate all the best aspects of the autumn season. Each “fall” word is accompanied by a short poem that captures the subject in lovely minimal style, which both illustrates the topic while giving the main character – a tree – an astounding amount of endearing personality. The art manages to use a fall color palette and simple shapes to create images bursting with life, energy, and spectacle. The length was perfect, and JJ and I both adored it. This is a wonderfall book to help ring in the season with your little one, and it’s absolutely Baby Bookworm approved.

Frankencrayon (Michael Hall)


Hello, friends! Baby Bookworm is on the road today, visiting some family, but we still found time to read our book! Today’s pick was Frankencrayon by Michael Hall, a hilariously spooky story about a Frankenstein story gone wrong.

We regret to inform you that this picture book has been cancelled! Too bad, there was a great scary story all planned, until the unthinkable happened: a SCRIBBLE mysteriously appeared across the pages! Who could have done such a dastardly deed? How can they clean up this scribbly mess? And is it just me, or is that scribble… trying to say something?

We loved Hall’s previous crayon book, Red, so we were very excited about this one, and it did not disappoint! While the theme and storytelling are very different (Frankencrayon is interactive, for instance, and much lighter in tone), it is just as enjoyable. As before, the bright, bold color schemes and illustrations are perfect for the youngest readers, and the length is great. And while Frankencrayon is much more comedic and silly, it even manages to sneak in some great lessons about not judging by appearances. This one was a lot of fun, and JJ loved it. Baby Bookworm approved! 

Top 5: LGBTQ Books

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Merry Christmas Eve, friends! As our gift to you, we hope you that like this week’s top five, full of LGBTQ children’s books! One of the most important ways that we can help people in the LGBTQ community to feel safe and welcome is by educating children early about the issues that can affect them. Gay, trans and/or queer children deserve to grow up knowing that there are other people like them out there, and straight/CIS children deserve to understand that people in those communities are just like them. So without further ado, here are our Top 5 LGBTQ books of 2016:

1. And Tango Makes Three (Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell)

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This classic true story of a same-sex penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo is a great way of introducing the topic of same-sex couples to children who may have questions about them, and showing that real families are always built around love. Roy, Silo, and Tango’s tale will melt your heart while informing about penguins and their habits, and showing that non-traditional families are just as loving and caring as traditional ones.

2. Red: A Crayon’s Story (Michael Hall)

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A fantastic book about being true to the person inside yourself, no matter your exterior. The tale of the “red” crayon finding happiness by being who it is meant to be, rather than who it is expected to be, is almost universally identifiable, and wonderfully applicable to children who may be struggling with confusion about gender or orientation. Combined with simple, bright illustrations, this makes for a fabulous lesson in being oneself despite the expectations or preconceptions of others.

3. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (Christine Baldacchino)

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A beautifully imaginative tale of a little boy and his favorite dress that sends a powerful message about the effects of bullying, as well as the power of acceptance and self-confidence. Morris is not portrayed as gay or trans (though these identities are not excluded either), but simply a boy who loves the dress that reminds him of tigers and his mother’s hair, and his story will leave you touched and feeling hopeful. A lovely book for boys and girls that shows that clothing has no gender, and what’s most important is to wear what makes us comfortable.

4. I Am Jazz (Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings)

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Another true story, this book has quickly become a seminal classic about trans issues. Co-written by an actual transgender youth, is offers an authentic and straightforward look at what it’s like to be born into and grow up with a body the wrong gender. Jazz’s courage to be who she is despite the challenges she faces offers hope to other transgender youth that accepting their identities and/or transitioning can help them be happier and healthier, while showing non-LGBTQ children that trans people are just that: people.

5. Worm Loves Worm (J.J. Austrian)

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One of our favorite books from this year! The sweet, adorably illustrated story of two worms in love will absolutely melt your heart. It’s a perfectly simple story for a perfectly simple lesson: that love is love, no matter what gender or orientation the lovebirds are. Cheerful, warm, and wonderfully fun to read, this book is a perfect addition to any baby bookworm’s bookshelf (in fact, don’t tell JJ, but Santa may be leaving a copy under her tree tonight)!

There we are! Those are our Top 5 LGBTQ books from 2016. Tell us what you think? Did you enjoy any of these books? Were there any that we missed? And be sure to come back next week (New Year’s Eve!) for another Top 5 list. Until then, have a very Merry Christmas!

 

Red: A Crayon’s Story (Michael Hall)


Hello everyone! Our book today is Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, and no, I didn’t go overboard with a filter on the book cover! This is a story of a little crayon figuring out who he is.

Red is supposed to be a red crayon: it says so right on his label. But every time he tries to draw something red (a strawberry, a stoplight, etc), it comes out looking, well, wrong. No one can figure out the trouble, especially Red, until one day a crayon asks him to color a blue sea. Red tries, and finds that he’s wonderful at it! In fact, he can color lots of blue things! Red and his friends and family realize that he was never bad at being a red crayon, he simply never realized what a fabulous blue crayon he could be.

This was a really great book about being different: Red’s struggle and eventual triumph with figuring himself out is so universally identifiable: not conforming to one’s appearance, finding one’s own inner talents, and accepting and supporting the differences of others (Red’s friends and family never question his realization that he is blue, they are simply pleased that he is happy). Obviously, this story has LGBTQ undertones as well, and it’s great at expressing that it’s okay to not be what people are expecting you to be, and that even if someone doesn’t fit the mold, they haven’t changed – rather, they have discovered who they always were inside.

Length-wise, it was wonderful for JJ, and she found the simple, bright illustrations highly entertaining. So all in all, Baby Bookworm approved!