Hurry Up!: A Book About Slowing Down (Kate Dopirak)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hurry Up!: A Book About Slowing Down, written by Kate Dopirak and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, a story of taking one’s time once in a while.

A boy wakes at the ringing of his alarm clock, and rushes down the stairs to school. He runs for the bus, scurries inside the building with his classmates, rushes from lesson to lesson, then home, where he hurries to complete his homework. At last, his dog tugs him outside for a walk, and as the two hurry to crest a hill… they stop. They breathe. They take in the sunshine and green grass around them. They pause for a game of fetch and an eye-level examination of daisies and insects. They explore a quiet stream, enjoy a summer shower, then meander along the path of a rainbow. At last, the two make their way home, enjoying the fireflies, and cozying into bed for a restful night – before the hurries begin again.

Marvelous! Broken into two distinct sections – fast and slow – each half of the book matches its intended pace well. In both art and text, the reader feels the rush and madness of the initial scenes, and bookworms young and old will understand the feeling of being pushed and pulled through a busy day. This setup pays off spectacularly as the story reaches the second half; the new leisurely pace and softer, simpler visuals feel like a breath of fresh air. It’s a wonderful example of how tone and mood can enhance a narrative, and help the main message – that it’s important to take time to relax, refresh, and appreciate the simpler things – to sink in. Neal’s art matches each pace perfectly, and his joyful, then quiet, scenes of the boy’s play are irresistibly charming. The length was perfect, and JJ loved it; this would be a fantastic title to wind down any little reader after a busy day. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Over And Under The Snow (Kate Messner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Over And Under The Snow, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, a look at the wondrous natural habitats that animals form during snowy winter.

A little girl and her father cross-country ski through a quiet wood, the trees bare and the ground covered in pure white snow. The girl sees a red squirrel disappear through a snowbank, and asks her father where the squirrel went. “Under The Snow,” he replies. As the girl and her father continue on their trek, they spot tracks and animals making their way through the frozen forest, while the reader is shown the animals who have made their shelter beneath the snowdrifts and the girl’s very feet.

This was a really pretty book with a lot of interesting information about how animals’ habitats can change in snowy climates. Between the tranquil, understated text that describes the activity above and below the snow and the serene simplicity of the mixed-media illustrations, the story achieves an almost meditative quality that is very soothing. For curious little readers, there is an informative appendix that expands on the information about the animals and habitats introduced throughout the book. The length is good, though I will say that the calmness of the text and the mostly-winter whites palette did not seem to hold JJ’s attention for long. This one would be best for slightly older bookworms, especially those interested in nature – animal lovers will treasure the gorgeous art and informative text. Overall, a lovely look at winter creatures, and Baby Bookworm approved!

Everyone (Christopher Silas Neal)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal, a fantastic book about feelings and why it’s okay to have them.

Everyone gets happy. Everyone gets sad, too. And everyone will cry, on occasion. Everyone has felt frustrated, anxious, or scared, or even like singing! So no matter how you feel or how you choose to express it, everyone has felt just like you do at some point. So really, the only thing you ought not to feel is alone, because everyone is here with you.

Loved this book! Proof that simple concepts can be absolutely beautiful when done well. It’s a fabulous book about feelings, how we all share them, and how it’s perfectly okay to express them. What made it special was the art, which used a simple color palette to show that emotions are universal, and tie you to the world around you, and that expressing them is healthy and normal (the visual of a little boy’s tears becoming bluebirds that fly away into an open sky, for instance, is an especially lovely one). The length is made for the youngest readers, and JJ loved it. This one is perfect for talking with little ones about feelings, and we absolutely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!