Mary Poppins (P.L. Travers, adp. by Amy Novesky)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mary Poppins, a picture book based on the original novel by P.L. Travers, adapted by Amy Novesky, and illustrated by Geneviève Godbout.

With a story that follows Travers’s classic 1934 book and visuals that evoke the beloved Disney movie, we are introduced to the Banks children: Jane, Michael, and their twin baby siblings. Their previous nanny has left unexpectedly, but as a shift in the wind gusts down Cherry Tree Lane, it brings with it a strange figure from the skies. From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at their doorstop, she is equal parts prim, proper, and magical. Taking the reader on a whirlwind tour through adventures around London, the children marvel at Mary’s peculiar acquaintances and the uncanny ability they have to inspire childlike wonder. At last, when the wind changes once again, Mary takes off into the sky, bidding the Banks children a fond “Au revoir” – not “goodbye”, but “to meet again”.

Enchanting. Cutting the original down to a few tasty morsels, Novesky adapts the story perfectly for young readers; some favorites like the Bird Woman or Admiral Boom don’t make the cut, but most of the edits – the questionable world tour, the plotlines of the Banks parents, and Mary’s odd habit of gaslighting the children about their adventures – create a lighter tone that fits the picture book format perfectly. And the art is absolutely wonderful, combining a prim and delicate sense of shade, color, and character design with scenes of absolute wonder; the nighttime zoo adventure was a particular favorite during our read. The length isn’t bad – though may work best for more patient bookworms – and we adored it. A lovely adaptation to introduce the world’s most beloved nanny to young readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Three Little Words (Amy Novesky)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Three Little Words, written by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Grace Lee, a sweet tie-in picture book to the Pixar movie Finding Dory about perseverance.

Life can be rough sometimes. Sometimes the journey is long, and you don’t exactly know where it will end. Sometimes you will come to a crossroads; always look both ways, but then move forward. Sometimes you will be alone; have courage. Sometimes you will be with friends; treasure it and enjoy yourself! Sometimes your path will be hard, and sometimes it will be scary. Just remember this: keep good friends close, and rely on them when you need to. Try to be brave, and never give up. And in the end, all you need to remember are three little words: just keep swimming.

This was really a lovely book, and not at all what I was expecting from a movie tie-in (books which, let’s face it, can sometimes be a bit lazy). While the illustrations and text very abstractly follow the plot of Finding Dory, the core of the book is a lesson in optimism, perseverance, and courage. It has the same feel as books like Oh, The Places You’ll Go! or The Wonderful Things You Will Be, offering broad life advice that can apply to children of any age (yes, this would be a lovely grad gift for a Disney fan). The illustrations are sweet, soothing and gentle, capturing the familiar characters of Finding Nemo in soft pastels, and the length is perfect. JJ really enjoyed this one, and so did I. A great book for Finding Nemo fans of any age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Me, Frida (Amy Novesky)


Summer Reading Day 47: Today’s book was Me, Frida by Amy Novesky, and as you could probably guess, it’s a children’s book about Frida Khalo. The story covers the period of time in which Frida moved with Diego Rivera to San Francisco and felt out of place and homesick. Eventually, of course, she worked hard, painted, and carved a life for herself by being herself, and all of that is covered here.

The story is a well-written, and leaves the reader with an important moral about perseverance and belief in yourself, even if it relies a little too heavily on Frida’s supposedly devoted and loving relationship with her husband (when in fact, their relationship was a tumultuous mess) as her motivation and validation. And of course, as you would expect from any book about Frida, the art is gorgeous. The length was not even unreasonable for a one-year old. Thumbs up!