Swim, Jim! (Kaz Windness)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Swim, Jim! by Kaz Windness, a silly story about facing fears, supporting siblings, and swimming.

One night in the Swigwater Swamp, three baby crocodiles were hatched – Sim, Kim, and Jim. While older sisters Sim and Kim are natural swimmers, Jim can barely bring himself to dip in a toe. It’s not that he’s afraid of swimming; he’s afraid of SINKING. His sisters tease him, but Jim just can’t get past the darkness and deepness of the scary swamp water. Jim decides to set out and find a small, well-lit swamp to practice in. After a fruitless search, Jim stumbles upon a strange-looking group of scaleless crocodiles swimming in a clear “swamp,” and using floaties and noodles to keep from sinking! Maybe Jim should try… and maybe he’ll have some unexpected help while he tries to be a swimming Jim.

Very cute. A multifaceted story, Windness does a great job balancing lessons on overcoming the fear of swimming (including a few instructions that little ones learning how to swim themselves will recognize) and being supportive of companions who may take longer to learn a skill. The text can be a little tough when reading aloud, as the Sim/Kim/Jim/swim sounds can result in some serious tongue-twisting, but the humor and resolution are both enjoyable. The exaggerated illustrations are colorful and the crocodile characters are charming, though scale can be a little difficult to determine, especially for the human characters. Other than that, the length was great, and JJ and I enjoyed this one. A fun summer read, especially during swimming season. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

How To Find Gold (Viviane Schwarz)

Hello friends! Today, we read How To Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz, a cute little tale about a girl, her crocodile, and a hidden treasure.

Anna and her crocodile friend decide that they want to do something dangerous and difficult. “Let’s find gold!” suggests Anna, and they set about preparing to find gold. First, they practice their secret-keeping faces, then Anna decides that she is strong enough by lifting Crocodile. They know they need a map with an X, so they draw one. They set off in their boat and spot a scary storm on the horizon, and sail straight in! Will the friends find their gold?

This was a really cute book with two great messages: all things are possible with imagination, and don’t be afraid of the dangerous or difficult, especially if you have a good friend beside you (I especially loved that a female protagonist was embodying this message, and a POC at that). The book is also a lot of fun to read: the nonsensical and deliberately illogical conversations definitely feel like they come from the mind of a child, and are quite funny. The illustrations are sweet, then magical, then sweet again in turn. Our only issue was that it was starting to border on too long for a one-year-old, but JJ still sat through the book without too much wiggling, and slightly older kids definitely would. Baby Bookworm approved!

Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite (Nicola O’Byrne)

Hello everybody! Today, we read Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne and written by Nick Bromley (while the author is typically billed first on the cover, in this case the illustrator is). This is a very silly and fun interactive book in which a crocodile invades a copy of The Ugly Duckling and wreaks havoc by eating the letters, then the words, then whole sentences! The Ugly Duckling and the reader must work together to subdue this troublesome reptile and determine a way to get him out of the book!

I’m sure that summary doesn’t make much sense! This is an interactive book, which are almost always a hoot for older readers, and this one is very funny and entertaining. Even a younger reader like JJ can have some fun with it, shaking the book when prompted and playing with the cutouts. The length is just fine for a baby bookworm, and the illustrations were colorful and full of personality, which she loves. This is a fine book for baby bookworms, and an even better one for older readers, too! Baby Bookworm approved!