Lulu Is A Rhinoceros (Jason Flom with Allison Flom)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Lulu Is A Rhinoceros, written by Jason Flom with Allison Flom and illustrated by Sophie Corrigan, a delightful story about being yourself.

Meet Lulu: on the outside, she looks like a bulldog, but when Lulu looks in the mirror, she sees… a rhinoceros. And sure, her skin may be furry and soft instead of tough and plated, and her tail may be short and nubby instead of tufted and whippy, but none of that matters – in her heart, she knows that she is a rhinoceros. Lulu decides that the thing she needs to make others see her as she sees herself is a horn. She tries several possibilities – a stinky sock, an ice cream cone, a banana peel – but nothing works out. She even gets laughed at or stared at, and has her banana peel stolen by birds. Will Lulu ever find a way to make others see her as she is? Or perhaps, the right friends will find her instead…

Lovely. Lulu’s story serves as a metaphor for identity, and helps convey to children that who we are on the outside, or who the world perceives is to be, can often be at odds with the person we truly are. The world may insist that Lulu is a very confused bulldog – until she meets a tickbird who recognizes her for who she is (Lulu is in a rhino exhibit at a zoo – why wouldn’t she be a rhino?). The message is an honest yet hopeful one: sometimes the world will refuse to see you for yourself, so find the friends and places that do, and they will help you be who you are. The illustrations are delightful, particularly Lulu’s incredibly expressive face and body language. And the length was fine, and JJ loved it. A great way to discuss identity with little ones, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

Antoinette (Kelly DiPucchio & Christian Robinson)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson, an adorable tale about finding one’s talents.

The Poodle and Bulldog families from Gaston are back with another adventure, this time centered around Gaston’s counterpart, Antoinette, a feisty poodle raised with three bulldog brothers. Antoinette’s brothers each have very special skills: one is smart, one is fast, and one is strong. But Antoinette can’t figure out her talent, so her mother encourages her to be patient. One day at the park, while playing with the Poodle family, one of Gaston’s siblings (Ooh-La-La) goes missing! All the puppies use their talents to try to find him, but with no luck! But Antoinette refuses to give up, going on the hunt for Ooh-La-La, and perhaps finding her special gift along the way!

Okay, if you’ve read this blog at all, you know that Kelly DiPucchio is one of our favorite authors, and that we adored the prequel to this book, Gaston. So of course, we were so excited to read Antoinette and it did not disappoint! Much like Gaston was centered around finding oneself in an adopted family, Antoinette is about finding one’s place in one’s own family and in the world. Christian Robinson’s adorable and gorgeous illustrations will make you fall in love with the Parisian pups of the story, the length is perfect, the text is fun to read, and JJ loved it so much that I could barely get her to put it down for a snack. This one is best paired with its companion book, but also just lovely on its own, and we emphatically recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!