Hello, friends! Our book today is The Someone New, written by Jill Twiss and illustrated by E.G. Keller, a sweet tale of courage and kindness in the face of change.
Jitterbug the chipmunk wakes up with the rumble in her tummy – Something New is coming. See, Jitterbug’s tummy can always tell when things are about to change because Jitterbug is not a fan; she prefers that things stay the way they are, especially her peaceful forest home and the company of her friends (a butterfly named Toast, two otters named Duffles and Nudge, and a goose named Geezer). The nervous chipmunk checks in with her pals, but finds them going about their daily routines. With growing trepidation over the Something New, she turns to find that the something… is a someONE. Pudding the snail has travelled to the forest after a flood has destroyed her garden and left her alone, and she hopes to make a new home in the forest. Filled with swirling irrational thoughts of what MIGHT go wrong, Jitterbug dismisses the snail immediately. She instantly feels calm.. until her friends point out that her actions were cold and irrational. With the help of her friends, can Jitterbug come to understand the importance of compassion, even in the face of change?
Lovely. The main storyline features a lot of good lessons in empathy, especially Jitterbug being talked out of her kneejerk reaction; her friends patiently convince her that while change is unavoidable, kindness is a choice. Pudding’s story, and later some of the friends’ stories as well, give nods to the plight of refugees and other groups in need, gently showing how those in need can often have their lives upturned in a moment, and how the acceptance and goodwill of others can often be a life-changing gesture. Keller’s animals are an adorable mix of realism and anthropomorphized characteristics, and the language of the story is light, yet impactful exactly when it needs to be. The length was fine, and JJ loved it. A lovely tale of empathy, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!