What in Dragon’s Backpack? & What’s in Unicorn’s Backpack? (Joan Holub)

Hello, friends! Our books today are both by Joan Holub: What in Dragon’s Backpack? (illustrated by Christopher Lee) and What’s in Unicorn’s Backpack? (illustrated by Alyssa Nassner), a back-to-school pair of lift-the-flap books for fans of fantastic creatures.

Each board book features 12 pages of lift-the-flaps for little ones to explore, accompanied by short rhyming couplets the describe the theme of each page (art class, reading, math, lunch, etc). Find out what books a dragon prefers, and what a unicorn eats for lunch.

This is a tricky one: Dragon’s Backpack was certainly a delight, offering clever lift-the-flaps like a readable book, solvable arithmetic problems, geometric art with simple shapes, and plenty of fun hints into the dragon’s personality (including both traditionally-masculine and -feminine items). It was such a treat, in fact, that it made Unicorn’s Backpack pale in comparison. While dragon’s backpack featured a well-rounded mix of the educational and personal, unicorn’s highly feminized backpack is comprised of far fewer academic items, and far more items centered around personal care and aesthetics. Dragon has flash cards, books, toys, videos games, pictures of their family, puzzles, art projects; Unicorn has stickers, glitter, bubbles, doodle pads, and multiple lipglosses. This effect leaves an odd comparison between the two books; Dragon presents a well-rounded student with multiple interests, Unicorn presents as… not that. Even JJ favored Dragon, with more variety in the lift-the-flap surprises and illustrations. So while we would probably skip the mostly shallow Unicorn’s Backpack, we can definitely recommend Dragon’s Backpack as a fun way to get little bookworms excited for school. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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