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!

Baby Wren And The Great Gift (Sally Lloyd-Jones)

Summer Reading Day 80: Hey there! Today, we read Baby Wren And The Great Gift, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jen Corace. In this story, a baby wren observes life in the canyon where she lives, admiring the amazing things she sees her fellow animals doing (eagles soaring, sunfish swimming, etc), and feeling sad that she can’t join in on their fun. Wishing she could be amazing like her friends, she observes the splendor of her canyon habitat, and finds something within her that is as grand and beautiful as her home.

This was a wonderfully sweet story about finding one’s own talent and greatness, combined with a testament to the beauty of nature. Between the lively, colorful illustrations and the wistful descriptions, the reader can get a sense of the awe that Baby Wren’s canyon inspires. The story wasn’t a bad length for a 1-year-old, though JJ’s attention span was threatening to run out for the last few pages. Overall, though, this was a lovely book with a great message. Baby Bookworm approved.

Chamelia (Ethan Long)

Summer Reading Day 61: Our book today was Chamelia by Ethan Long, a story about a little chameleon girl who loves to stand out. As messages go, this book had sort of a complicated one: Chamelia is an original, and loves to be different from everyone else, but she lacks the understanding that her constant rebelling can affect others negatively. 

Honestly, I’m not sure how I felt about the conclusion that Chamelia needed to try to blend in with everyone else (she’s a chameleon, get it?) by giving up some of her individuality. It seemed very odd to me to tell a little girl to stop being too loud, or too colorful, or too independent. It felt, well, like a book written for little girls by a man who has never been one. I can’t say I would recommend this one. Girls should not be discouraged from being who they are, regardless of how loud, unique or different they may be.