Hello, friends! Our book today is Tiny Little Rocket by Richard Collingridge, a journey through the stars on a very special day.
Once a year, a special little rocket leaves earth and heads to the stars. The little pilot (that’s you!) guides the wee rocket, with its silver fins and golden door, past the sun, past meteors, past the asteroid belt of our solar system. There are a few moments of peril and excitement, but the little pilot fears not, deftly guiding the rocket through the black until it can complete its mission: unfurling a great banner that reads “Happy Birthday, Earth!”
Lovely, yet a bit underwhelming. Perhaps because of the grand, majestic fantasy style of Collingridge’s last two picture books (When It Snows and Lionheart, which are two of the most visually stunning picture books I’ve ever seen), I was expecting something similar as he headed for the cosmos. And while there are some spreads that capture his impeccable sense of scale and detail, much of them focus on the vast, black emptiness of space and the little rocket’s interior, lit by the buttons and control panels. The latter has it’s own visual interest – though obscuring the pilot’s face behind a highly-reflective helmet makes it difficult to connect with them – but the former, while scientifically fascinating, may not hold the interest of young bookworms. Similarly, the story is a little uneven, using a rhyme scheme that changes abruptly, making it a challenge to read aloud, and a plot that feels a little directionless. However, it should be noted that both lead to a final fold-out spread that is absolutely worth the price of admission. The length was fine, and JJ enjoyed the moments of onomatopoeia and the more colorful illustrations, so overall, we’re calling this one Baby Bookworm approved.