Halloween Boy And The Christmas Kid (Daniel Jude Miller)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Halloween Boy And The Christmas Kid by Daniel Jude Miller, a delightfully unique tale of friendship.

Two baby boys are born on the same day in November and from that moment on, they share a special bond. Coming together six years later in kindergarten, they become fast friends, despite not technically having anything in common other than their day of birth. One boy loves EVERYTHING Halloween: the spooky, the creepy, the strange and scary. The other is crazy for Christmas: tinsel, evergreen, presents and Santa. Whatever season or time of year, each boy’s chosen holiday is practically all they can think about! But somehow, this suits their friendship fine – they even once tried to be like the other, but it wasn’t for them. That is, until the day find themselves in a debate over the superior holiday. Can this friendship stand the test of competing holiday cheer?

If there’s one word for this book, it is definitely “unique”! Based on a true story (a photo of two similarly holiday-decked-out boys is shown on the last page with no other explanation), Miller provides a personal twist on a timeless lesson of friendship. The boys ultimately find that despite having almost nothing in common, they can still enjoy each other’s company and encourage the other’s interests, and that’s really all friendship requires. The text is really well-constructed, using clever alliterations and paired rhyming words that make it a delight to read aloud. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed and full of silly antics and hilarious Easter eggs. The final conflict resolves a bit abruptly with too little explanation, but other than that, this was great fun. The length was fine, JJ had fun with it, and it’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.)

Everybody Wake Up! (Daniel Jude Miller)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Everybody Wake Up! by Daniel Jude Miller, a tale of a precocious little girl keeping sleepers on their toes.

Sunny is a cheerful little girl who greets every morning with a smile; she loves being awake, and rises at the first rays of sunlight. Everyone else in her family is happy to sleep in a little later – but not on Sunny’s watch. One by one, Sunny creeps into the rooms of her baby brother, her older triplet brothers, and her mom and dad, greeting each one with a loud shriek of “EVERYBODY WAKE UP!”. Seeing how “helpful” this is to her family, she continues to do it throughout her day, waking a class of napping children, a theater of dozing moviegoers, a construction site of relaxing workers, and so on. After a long day of waking people up, Sunny settles into her bed for a good night’s rest… and gets a surprise wakeup of her own!

Silly fun. Miller combines the comedy of Sunny’s various wakeup calls with an alternating art style – soft, calming tones and environment for the scenes of slumber, and electric, bright, chaotic scenes of waking up – to create a book that’s highly engaging. It’s easy to see the potential of interactivity, especially when read aloud, and the humor in the plot and detailed drawings encourage repeat reads. The story does begin to feel a little repetitive towards the middle as the scenarios become more and more farfetched – it’s a one joke book, after all, and the joke gets repeated just a few too many times. Parents will also cringe at the thought of a child screaming at a sleeping baby or at bats in a zoo, though it’s noted in the end that Sunny’s behavior is highly unwelcome, and she learns her lesson to let people have their sleep. But overall, it’s an entertaining book, and JJ loved it – 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.)