This Book Of Mine (Sarah Stewart)

Hello, friends! Our book today is This Book Of Mine, written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small, a lovely ode to books and readers.

Told from the perspective of a book lover, the story explores the many things a book can be – a comfort, a teacher, an inspiration. It can hold stories or music or plays or incredible facts about the world around us. It can be a teething toy to a baby sitting on their mother’s lap as she reads, or a script as an actor prepares to perform, or a day of relaxation and quiet at the beach. A book can be many things, but every single book is at least one thing to its reader: a friend.

I always have a soft spot for books about books, especially when they are as beautifully written and illustrated as this one is. Stewart’s text is lyrical and graceful, using a shifting rhythm to make each page’s theme its own while connecting to the larger narrative. And Small’s illustrations are positively gorgeous, pairing precise pen-and-ink illustrations with splashes of purple watercolor as the basis for each scene, with the sole contrast being the book cover at its center. The cast of characters is pleasantly diverse in age and appearance, the length is short enough to be enjoyed by any age, and JJ loved the illustrations and soothing tone. This would make a lovely gift for bookworms young and old, 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.)

Read! Read! Read! (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Read! Read! Read!, poems written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated Ryan O’Rourke, a joyful and moving ode to books and reading for little ones.

Comprised of twenty-three poems written in different styles and forms, the reader is pulled into a celebration of reading, especially the impact that reading can have on a child. Books, magazines, newspapers, road signs, even the backs of cereal boxes; no type of reading is excluded or frowned upon. The poems explore the joy of getting lost in a thrilling story, how great books can change us or guide us through difficult times, and how we carry each tale we’ve read with us as we change and grow.

This book was an absolute delight. I was hesitant about a poem collection for JJ, considering the length, but this was so worth it. The poems themselves are bite-sized, only taking one or two minutes to read apiece, and the entire book can be completed comfortably in one sitting. And what marvelous poems they are, capturing the special relationship that children have with books and reading, and the impact that reading anything and everything can make on one’s life as they mature (the poem about Charlotte’s Web helping a young girl understand how to deal with grief was especially powerful). The illustrations are simply perfect, capturing the mood of each poem spectacularly and building fanciful and imaginative worlds around them. This one is a treasure, and JJ and I both loved it. Perfect for the little bookworm in your life, any age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

This Is Sadie (Sara O’Leary)

Hello, friends! Our book today is This Is Sadie, written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad, a sweet tale of a little girl with a big imagination.

When the reader is introduced to Sadie, she sits inside a cardboard box. But it isn’t the box it appears to be, Sadie explains. No, it’s a mighty ship, sailing a vast sea, and Sadie is exploring every corner, yet still back before breakfast. This is how Sadie spends her days: using her imagination, creativity and sense of adventure to craft wonderful stories. Some stories are real life with her friends, some are between the pages of books, and some stories are her very own. With these stories, Sadie can be a million people and have a million adventures, but best of all, she is always Sadie, which is the perfect person for her to be.

This was a strange, whimsical celebration of creative personalities, but we sort of loved it. It’s not a traditional linear story, instead more of a character study of a little girl who loves to use her imagination. But with gorgeously rich art that effortlessly takes the reader on Sadie’s journeys alongside her, and warm, guileless text, it makes for a lovely read. JJ adored the illustrations, and the length was fine for her, so if you’re looking for a book that sets a curious and adventuresome mood, this is a great book for you. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Whisper (Pamela Zagarenski)

Hello, everybody! Today, we read The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski, a story about a little girl learning the power and magic of her imagination.

A little girl who loves to read is loaned a magical book by her teacher. But unbeknownst to her, the words of the book fly out and away on the girl’s path home, so when she goes to read it, she is confused and disappointed to find that it only has pictures! How can she read a story without any words? But the girl hears a whisper telling her that she doesn’t need the words; she can use her imagination to look at the pictures and create a story all her own!

This was a very cool book with some great elements: with enormous and finely detailed illustrations, plus unobtrusive text and open-ended stories, the book invites the reader to do the very same thing as the girl: use their imagination to create a imaginative tale of their own. The story, message and art all support this concept well. Length could be an issue for baby bookworms, and even JJ began to wiggle towards the end. For the most part, however, this is a beautiful book that encourages children to think outside the box and create worlds in their heads, and we liked it. Baby Bookworm approved!