Happy Dreamer (Peter H. Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds, an ode to creativity and imagination.

A little boy introduces himself to the reader as a happy dreamer: a creative soul who simply cannot help but let his mind wander, explore, create, and of course, dream. The world may tell him to sit down, be still, and keep quiet, but when his dreaming starts, he simply cannot. Whether they be quiet dreams, loud dreams, high-flying dreams, explosive dreams, colorful dreams, or a dozen other types of dreaming, he is proud that his mind is a doorway to the endless unknown, and that his dreamer’s spirit will guide him through.

Sweet. Reynolds’s meditation on the creative mind features colorful and appropriately expressive illustrations, and story that reads like a jazz song – each spread is a variation on the theme, culminating in a wonderful pull-out section that features dozens of diverse young dreamers expressing their creativity in their own ways (from art and music to community and civic service). There were a few moments that weren’t my cup of tea, such as the suggestion that a symptom of being creative is to also be disorganized – speaking from personal experience, this just isn’t true – or disobedient in the face of structure. But overall, for many imaginative kids who might share these qualities, it is a nice way of letting them know that they aren’t alone. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed the colorful art. This is a cute book that encourages the dreamer in all of us, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

The Word Collector (Peter H. Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds, a love letter to the power and passion of words.

Jerome, like many kids his age, loves to collect. But while others may collect comic books or stamps, Jerome collects words. Words he hears, words he reads, words that sound funny or appealing, words he doesn’t know the meaning of yet, short words, long words, descriptive words, powerful words. Jerome collects them all into scrapbooks, which grow more categorized and extensive as his collection grows. One day, while moving the scrapbooks, he stumbles and drops them, scattering the words about in disarray. But looking at how the words have landed – out of order and in fascinating new combinations – Jerome is inspired. He begins stringing the words together in new ways to express himself, write poems and songs, or to provide comfort and support to his friends. At last, he decides to share his collection with others, releasing the words into the wind as children gather them to start their own collections – something that makes Jerome indescribably happy.

Lovely. I’ve been a logophile most of my life, so this was such a treat – I loved Jerome’s relationship with words and their remarkable ability to express almost anything in the human experience. Even for those not word-obsessed, this is a great way of exploring the power that words have in both great and humble ways – how less is often more, how innovation drives language, and ultimately how a wider vocabulary can benefit its owner and user. The illustrations are delightful, using small vignettes and full page spreads to convey moments and concepts both big and small. Another review did point out that the story serves almost exclusively the English language – not necessarily a detraction, but something to note. Otherwise, the length was great, JJ enjoyed it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

I Am Yoga (Susan Verde)


Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am Yoga, written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, a children’s introductory guide to yoga poses and a story about the benefits of calm mindfulness in one.

A little girl confesses that sometimes, the world seems too big. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where she fits in, or everything moves so fast that it’s hard to keep up. So when she feels this way, she tries to quiet her mind, relax her body, and open her heart. Then, she is yoga. In her yoga poses, she can be tall as a tree, or free as a bird, or strong as a warrior. She can be beautiful like a flower, shine like a star, or just relax and be. And when her yoga is done, the world is a much more manageable size, and moves at a much easier pace, for her mind and body are quiet and peaceful again.

Honestly, I hesitated before picking this book because no one in our family has really practiced yoga before, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, this story was a very pleasant surprise! Simple, meditative texts that explore concepts like mindfulness, self-awareness, and calming one’s mind and body (not a bad lesson for hyper-wiggly little people) are combined with very lovely illustrations that incorporate each pose with the feeling and/or object it is meant to represent. For instance, being in a row of trees in tree pose, or flying through the sky in crane. The result is a lovely, soothing book with gorgeous visuals and a calming effect. The length was perfect, and JJ really loved it. Overall, a fantastic book for anyone, be they practiced yogi or the completely uninitiated. Baby Bookworm approved!