This is (Not) Enough (Anna Kang)

Hello, friends! Our book today is This is (Not) Enough, written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, a wonderfully heartwarming tale of the true meaning of the gifts we give.

Kang and Weyant’s pair of bear friends are back for the sixth installment of the You Are (Not) Small series. The large brown bear is on the hunt for the perfect present for their small, purple bear buddy. They look at a few options, but this is a gift for their bestest pal – it must be “COOL and FUN and BIG and ‘WOW’!” Meanwhile, purple bear decides to knit their large brown buddy a handmade scarf (they don’t know how to knit YET, but they’re confident that they’ll figure it out). After hinting about their gifts for one another, Big Brown feels dismayed at his choice for Purple’s gift: “This is not enough.” Will the two friends ever figure out the perfect gift to give the most important friend in their lives?

A simple lesson told with simple grace. Kang and Weyant’s series has a knack for exploring everyday themes with minimal dialogue-style text and warm, approachable visuals, and this latest addition is no exception. The friends find that gifts made and given with love are the most special, even if they’re imperfect (such as a snuggly, cozy scarf with more than a few loose strings). Along the way, their antics are gently comic enough to keep young kids entertained, and the well-balanced illustrations add visual gags and expression to immensely endearing characters. the length is perfect for a storytime at any age, and JJ enjoyed seeing the bears’ close friendship. Overall, a warm and cozy gift of a story, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

We Are (Not) Friends (Anna Kang)

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Hello, friends! Our book today is We Are (Not) Friends, written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, a sweet look at growing friendships.

The two bears (Big Brown and Small Purple) from the previous Kang/Weyant books are back, getting dressed up for playtime, when a blue bunny pops in and asks if he can join. Big Brown welcomes the newcomer, but Purple is less sure, especially when Brown and the bunny break off into intricate dance routine that Purple doesn’t know. The tables are turned then when Purple and Bunny build a pretend Jeep that Big Brown doesn’t fit into. Big Brown loses his cool and everyone takes a break to calm down. Brown and Purple have a heart to heart, establishing that it’s okay for them both to have NEW friends, because they will always be BEST friends. Feeling a bit more secure, they invite Bunny back, and the three friends enjoy their playtime as spies… with another newcomer asking if they can join in.

This is an important lesson in friendships – that they need not be exclusive to be special – told in a gentle yet fun way. The dialogue-only text is kept simple and to the point, but works beautifully with the expressive character illustrations to convey the message and tone of each scene. The length is great, and JJ enjoyed the antics of the bears (especially the opportunity to let out a loud ROAR near the end). This is a classic story of friendship, and we liked it a lot. 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.)

Eraser (Anna Kang)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Eraser, written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant, a look at how teamwork requires respect and cooperation.

Eraser is just as hardworking and dedicated as the other school supplies, but she can’t help but feel overlooked. After all, nearly all the other supplies create something, but her work leaves no trace behind. What’s worse, while she does all the proofreading and erases all the mistakes Pencil makes, Pencil always takes credit for her work, causing a Pencil to be lauded while Eraser is largely ignored. After her attempt to contribute creatively to a project is mocked by Pencil and the others, Eraser has had enough, and decides to move on. She takes a flying leap off the desk, landing in the wastebin, where she finds an unexpected group of supporters. Meanwhile, without Eraser to help correct mistakes, Pencil and the others find that perfection doesn’t come nearly as easy as it once did.

Clever! The dialogue-exclusive story uses a clever metaphor about the importance of diverse talents – mixed in with a healthy heaping of office supply-related puns, to explore why it’s important to respect every member of a team or group, no matter how unimportant their role may appear. After all, it’s often the people behind-the-scenes that do the most work of all. The illustrations are very cute, creating simple character designs out of easily-recognizable school supplies, which will spark little ones’ imaginations about the familiar objects. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it, so this one’s 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.)