Nerdy Birdy Tweets (Aaron Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Nerdy Birdy Tweets, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Matt Davies, a fable of friendship for the digital age.

A sequel to Reynolds and Davies’ Nerdy Birdy, the story picks up with best friends Nerdy Birdy and Vulture. While the two may not have a lot in common, they still enjoy being together, making funny faces and taking silly photos. One day, Nerdy introduces Vulture to an app called Tweetster, where he can play games and make hundreds of internet friends. Vulture is not very interested, and begins to feel left out as Nerdy spends all his time on his phone when they hang out. She attempts to get into the app so she and her friend can have more in common, but when Nerdy unthinkingly posts an embarrassing picture of her, she feels betrayed and ends their friendship. Nerdy doesn’t know what to do – and his 500 internet friends aren’t interested in helping. Can Nerdy Birdy find a way to win his best pal back?

As you can tell, this one covers some modern issues that kids face while trying to navigate friendship in the age of social media. It makes for a wonderfully unique and poignant story, teaching children that they need to respect others online, and that “likes” from strangers may feel good, but are no substitute for real social interaction from real friends. In a time when internet bullying and exploitation is having devastating real-world consequences on kids, this is an important lesson to instill early on, and this story does a great job of introducing it. Davies manically energetic pen and ink illustrations are a delight, crafting unique, memorable characters. The length is fine for little bookworms, and JJ really enjoyed the birdies. This is a wonderfully modern tale that can help young ones understand the importance of digital caution, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Little Fox In The Forest (Stephanie Graegin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the very sweet Little Fox In The Forest by Stephanie Graegin, a touching tale of friendship and generosity.

This wordless picture book begins with a teacher telling a class of students, including the protagonist, that the next day will be show-and-tell; they should bring something precious and old. The little girl protagonist knows just what to bring: her beloved toy fox, which she has had since she was a baby as a constant companion. After class, she brings the little fox to the playground with her friends, but as she is enjoying the swings, a real-life fox snatches it from her backpack! The little girl and her best friend race after the fox, going on an adventure through the woods that parallels the adventure of the toy fox and its new owner. Will the little fox find its way back home – or will home become something new and unexpected?

I’ll be honest, JJ isn’t usually interested in wordless picture books, but we really enjoyed this one! The story is so charming and exciting, the characters are so expressive, and the illustrations so detailed and lively that it was easy to enjoy the story with our own narration. The ending was especially wonderful, with both the little girl and the real fox showing each other a touching generosity and kindness that stands as a great lesson for little ones. The length is as much as or little as you choose to make it, but it can be comfortably flipped through with a little reader, and JJ enjoyed this much more than other pictures-only books. This one will take a little more creativity than the average storybook, but the end result is well worth it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Rulers Of The Playground (Joseph Kuefler)

Hello, friends! We’ve finally had a chance to visit our new library and check out some books! The one we’ll be reviewing today is Rulers Of The Playground by Joseph Kuefler, the tale of two would-be conquerors fighting over some hotly-contested grounds.

At the playground one day, Jonah decides to declare himself ruler. He asks for the fealty of his fellow kids, and they all agree, not wanting to miss out on their favorite playground activities. Jonah is mostly a fair ruler, but sometimes not. Lennox doesn’t like this much, so she annexes half of the playground and declares herself ruler. Once again, the other children take an oath of loyalty so they can continue using the swings. And Lennox is a fair ruler… until she’s not. Jonah and Lennox don’t like having to share the playground with the other, so they begin laying claim to previously neutral ground, ultimately alienating all their playmates with their shenanigans. Can Jonah and Lennox make things right and earn their friends back?

This was an interesting book, and worked on a lot of levels. On the surface, it’s a story about learning to share and to treat others and your common spaces with respect. However, there are also some more subtle and more advanced themes at play here as well: what it means to be a good leader, how those in charge can often forget that their responsibility is to those who serve them, and the necessity of sitting down to compromise instead of fighting. The illustrations are clever, featuring expressive characters against minimal backgrounds to highlight the importance of the people instead of the playground they’re fighting over. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it. A multi-layered read with some great lessons to glean, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Nugget & Fang (Tammi Sauer)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Nugget & Fang, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Michael Slack, a hilarious and charming book about two best friends.

Nugget and Fang are the best friends in the ocean. They spend every day together, and that’s just about perfect. So naturally, it’s very difficult for them when Nugget starts school – and even more so when his school friends and teachers inform him that sharks like Fang eat minnows like Nugget! When Nugget informs Fang of this, effectively ending their friendship, Fang is brokenhearted: being a shark doesn’t make him a bad guy, does it? What he does know is that he needs his best buddy, so he’ll have to figure out a way to prove that being toothy doesn’t make you scary… but how?

This is always a fun one to read aloud for JJ; it’s got some wonderfully colorful art, expressive text and dialogue, and a great story with a surprisingly deep message. The way Nugget is peer-pressured and discouraged from his friendship with Fang, their reason being simply that Fang is a shark and therefore must be bad, is pretty clearly a metaphor for judging people on appearances and stereotypes. It’s a good way to teach children that people can’t be painted with broad strokes: Fang happens to be a vegetarian, and it’s his big sharp teeth that save the day. The art is fun, wth a cartoonish quality that gives the characters tons of personality. The length it great, and JJ adored this one. Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

I Love Cake!: Starring Rabbit, Porcupine And Moose (Tammi Sauer)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is I Love Cake!: Starring Rabbit, Porcupine And Moose, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Angie Rozelaar, a fun yet sweet story about learning how to be selfless.

Rabbit, Porcupine and Moose are the best of friends. They do everything together, and enjoy each other’s company immensely. So for Rabbit’s birthday, they are looking forward to having fun together at her birthday party. Rabbit is excited to throw a party, Porcupine is excited to see his friends and play games, and Moose is excited for cake. But when the party begins, Moose becomes so distracted by the delicious-smelling cake that he neglects his friends, and when the time comes to blow out the candles, the friends are shocked to find that Moose has impulsively eaten the whole thing without them! Rabbit is brokenhearted and Porcupine is furious, despite Moose’s attempts at excuses and apologies. They ask him to leave the party, and Moose realizes that putting his wishes ahead of his friends’ happiness was selfish. But how can he make it up to them?

This was a really great story, and it left me with a smile. The happy-go-lucky friends are adorable, the plot is meaningful yet moves at a good pace, and the lesson is a classic one. I liked that Moose put a lot of effort into trying to make up for his actions; it shows that it’s important to not only apologize, but to try and make things right. The art is adorable, and uses a pleasing color scheme, charming character design and some great visual tidbits to support the story. The length was perfect, and JJ definitely enjoyed it. This is a fun book with a fantastic lesson, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!