Noodle and the No Bones Day (Jonathan Graziano)

Hello, friends! It’s JJ’s seventh birthday, and we’ve saved a special book for the occasion! Our book today is Noodle and the No Bones Day, written by Jonathan Graziano and illustrated by Dan Tavis, an adorable tale about self-care featuring TikTok’s favorite senior pug.

Noodle is a sweet, silly, and stubborn elderly pug with a ton of personality. He loves his life with his human, Jonathan, and all the things they do together. Noodle loves to go for walks, sit outside and bark at neighbors, and especially munch on snacks (chicken is his favorite, but he even enjoys broccoli). But one day, when Jonathan calls Noodle for their walk, Noodle doesn’t seem to want to get out of bed. Even when Jonathan picks him up and sets him on his paws, Noodle only plops back down (“It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” Jonathan muses). Noodle isn’t sick or hurt – and he’s still got his appetite – so Jonathan asks if he would just like to stay home and cuddle instead. Noodle replies with a definitive “yes” in the form of a sneeze, and the two develop a new understanding – oftentimes it’s fun to go out and have a day full of excitement, but sometimes, we all need a “No Bones Day” to rest and recharge.

Precious. Self-care and avoiding burnout are topics that are slowly making their way into kidlit (The Good Egg by Jory John is a fantastic and well-beloved example), and Graziano tells the real-life narrative behind Noodle’s TikTok fame in a way that explores this concept for young readers. Fans of the real Noodle’s antics (which we are) will absolutely adore the picture book version, captured in all his cozy, cuddly glory with Tavis’s soft and affectionate artwork. But even readers not familiar with Noodle’s social media presence can find a lot to love here, especially in the universal lesson that it’s okay to take a day for yourself sometimes. The length was perfect for a storytime, and JJ loved this one, especially the darling illustrations. Overall, this is a great one for curling up with on your own No Bones Day, and we highly recommend 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.)

Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion (Stephen W. Martin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Fluffy McWhiskers Cuteness Explosion, written by Stephen W. Martin and illustrated Dan Tavis, the silly story of one exceedingly cute kitty.

Fluffy McWhiskers is one cute cat… perhaps a bit TOO cute. You see, whenever someone lays eyes on her undeniable adorableness, they literally explode from cuteness overload. Fluffy tries to combat this by wearing an ugly sweater, giving herself a bad haircut, even wearing a bag on her head, but alas, all these preventative measures backfire – she’s even cuter than before. Making a few failed attempts to isolate herself, she finally finds peace on a deserted island; unfortunately, she finds that deserted islands are pretty lonely. That is, until the day she hears barking coming from the beach! Can she save her latest victim from cuteness explosion? Or perhaps… she won’t have to.

Hilariously weird. Flat out, this is a bizarre one with an oddly dark premise that somehow… works. Whether it’s Martin’s irreverent and deadpan text or Tavis’s hilarious artistic interpretation of the cuteness overloads – illustrated as smoky/inky clouds of rainbow dust – and visual gags, this very strange tale has a lightness of tone that overtakes any heavier implications of a cat so cute she causes literal death. The comedy works so well, from the dry jokes paired with outrageous artwork to scenes that come out of nowhere yet further the ludicrous plot in humorously expected ways (“The handwriting is so cute!” a fishing bear proclaims, reading a message in a bottle written by Fluffy, before bursting into the now-familiar visual of death-by-cuteness). The length is fine for storytime, but the tone may work better for slightly older elementary readers who will get the dry humor; that being said, JJ thought it was a riot. A wonderfully weird read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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