Dig Here (David Miles)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dig Here, written by David Miles and illustrated by Olga Zakharova, a delightfully ridiculous treasure hunt tale.

A tenacious seafarer (self-described as the “fiercest pirate in the world”) and his trusty four-legged first mate embark on a quest to retrieve a treasure of rubies and gold that the pirate has hidden away underground (“that is what fierce pirates do”). However, their endeavor quickly becomes complicated when the booty is not… exactly in the same spot that the pirate is 100% positive he left it in. Still, the pirate is not deterred, and will brave underground tunnels, aching muscles, and sleepiness to find his missing treasure… or will he?

Silly swashbuckling fun. Combining a colorful central character with equally vibrant artwork and charmingly absurd dialogue, this one is a treat for young readers. With the text addressing the audience and a clever use of cutouts to tease the climax of the plot, the book becomes interactive in ways that encourage kids to laugh along at the pirate’s antics while also creating opportunities to guess where the story may be headed next (Note: the cutouts are made of paper and not cardboard, so the book’s construction may not hold up to very small bookworms). The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ was rolling at the pirate’s missteps and nautical colloquialisms. Overall, a fun ride for any age, and we 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.)

Ask a Pilot: A Pilot Answers Kids’ Questions About Air Travel (Justin Kelley)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ask a Pilot: A Pilot Answers Kids’ Questions About Air Travel, written by Justin Kelley and illustrated by David Miles, a compact and informational guidebook of the questions that little ones love to ask about planes and flying.

There are plenty of mysteries that little bookworms – and, let’s face it, big bookworms – often have about air travel. For instance, where do the bags go? Why is it so bumpy? Is “airplane mode” on our devices really that important? And how do those big, heavy planes get off the ground in the first place? Pilot and dad Justin Kelley is here with answers to all these questions and more, and to help inquisitive young aviators learn the ins and outs of flying by airplane.

Fun and informative! Written in an interview/guidebook style, each question about being a pilot, airline travel, and aeronautics is answered in one to three pages of conversational text accompanied by stylized yet edifying illustrations. Kelley covers most of the FAQs that little bookworms are likely to have about air travel, and plenty that adults might wonder about as well! Scientific and/or industry-specific terms (such as “crabbing” or “TCAS”) are bolded and explained in approachable terms, leaving readers of all ages with a better understanding of how planes, flight crew, and airports operate. In addition, the lightweight design makes this ideal for a plane trip read (and/or distraction) for young and inquisitive travelers. The length and content makes this one better for older elementary and middle-grade readers, but JJ enjoyed some of the sillier questions and the colorful art. Overall, this is a great one to look into pre-travel, or for any little one obsessed with planes. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

The Stories Behind the Stories (Danielle Higley)

Hello, friends! We’re continuing our bonus gift guides with today’s review: The Stories Behind the Stories by Danielle Higley, an awesome look at the inspirations, stories, and histories of some of the world’s most popular children’s stories.

Did you know that Winnie the Pooh was based on a real-life bear resident of the London Zoo? Or that Nancy Drew’s name was originally Stella Strong? Or that a change to the title of Where The Red Fern Grows nearly resulted in the story being lost to history? Fans of children’s literature can learn the history behind the creation of these stories and dozens more, including The Hobbit, The Giving Tree, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

A visually stunning look at how timeless stories are made. This incredibly informative volume includes fairly comprehensive looks at the different ways stories can come to be, with each subject covered in one to three pages of well-researched material that includes quotes, dates and figures, and even a short “Did You Know?” factoid in the margins. The text itself is compelling on its own, but the beautifully-arranged mixed-media collages by David Miles elevates the book to a piece of art, and one that children’s book lovers from elementary school to adulthood will adore. I loved combing over the articles, and JJ was fascinated by the artwork. This would make a fantastic gift for any fan of kidlit; it’s as beautiful to look at as it is entertaining to read, and we loved 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.)