In The City (Dominika Lipniewska)

Hello, friends! Our book today In The City by Dominika Lipniewska, a colorful look at all the things a major city has to offer.

The city (unnamed and geographically ambiguous) wakes slowly, but soon begins to positively hum with life. Each spread explores a different aspect of city life – people, professions, vehicles, noises, foods, buildings, animals, etc. – and the myriad of diversity found therein. Little readers can interact with the text, which questions which sound in a page of city noises might be the loudest (the helicopter? the jackhammer?) or who might still be awake in a city once everyone else goes to sleep (such as the various denizens of a hospital). When the sun sets then rises again, the city’s day begins once more, a beautiful rainbow of life all living together in one place.

Simple yet sweet. Done in a distinctly Scandinavian modern art style, the colorful, abstract characters and settings are full of charm and visual interest without being overwhelming for little eyes. The simple, straightforward text keeps the story light and brisk while educating and encouraging reader participation. The length was fine, and JJ loved pointing out all the elements of each illustration, such as animals at the zoo or different foods on a table. A lovely trip to the city for beginner bookworms, and we enjoyed 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.)

Something Beautiful (Sharon Dennis Wyeth)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Something Beautiful, written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth and illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet, a story about finding unexpected beauty in our surroundings.

Outside a little girl’s building, there is garbage and broken glass. Someone has written angry graffiti on the front door. There is a scary alleyway on her way to school that she runs past, heeding her mother’s warning to never linger there. In school, she learns the word “beautiful,” and decides to look for something beautiful in her neighborhood. When she begins to look, she finds that there is beauty everywhere: in Miss Delphine’s fish sandwiches, in her friend Georgina’s dance moves, in Jamal’s new shoes, in Mr. Lee’s colorful fruit stand. Returning to her home, she takes a broom and bucket, cleaning up the garbage and glass and scrubbing away the graffiti. She decides that beauty is everywhere if you look for it, and her mother agrees, because to her, the little girl is the most beautiful thing of all.

This was a fantastic story with an amazing message about perspective, and the effect our attitude can have on how we view the world. The girl’s city starts off as cold and menacing, but when she chooses to look for beauty, it’s everywhere, especially within herself. The best part is the end, where she decides to create change in the world to add to its beauty: she removes the graffiti that makes her sad, she makes plans to plant flowers in her courtyard, she decides that one day she will help the homeless woman who lives on the street next to her home. It’s a powerful encouragement to children that anyone can be an agent of change. The art is drop-dead gorgeous, and captures the authentic beauty of city life. The length is great, and JJ really liked this one. Fantastic book, and we highly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!