I’m a Feel-o-saur (Lezlie Evans)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I’m a Feel-o-saur, written by Lezlie Evans and illustrated by Kate Chappell, an adorable look at emotions and how we manage them.

Starring a cast of “dino-kids” – a group of children in colorful full-body dinosaur costumes – the upbeat rhyming text introduces young readers to a wide range of emotions, and how one might deal with them. Each dino-kid embodies a different feeling, from Happy-saurus to Shy-o-saurus to Scared-o-saurus to Brave-o-saurus. For negative feelings, strategies like deep breathing, counting, and seeking comfort are suggested; for positive feelings, kids are encouraged to embrace their energy and use it for good.

Absolutely fantastic. Precious, warm, and endearing illustrations paired with bouncy yet heartfelt rhyming text express a variety of moods and emotions in ways that kids can connect with. Each emotion is handled with tact and sensitivity; kids are told that it’s okay to go through many emotions in a day, and that there’s nothing wrong with having sad or mad or scared feelings. The tips on the last spread, such as drawing a picture of overcoming one’s fears or using bravery to stand up for someone else, are especially wonderful. And the diverse cast of dino-kids are simply delightful. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ absolutely loved this one. Overall, a great way to talk about feelings and coping strategies with little ones, and it’s a Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Twinkle, Twinkle, Dinosaur (Jeffrey Burton)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Twinkle, Twinkle, Dinosaur, written by Jeffrey Burton and illustrated by Zoe Waring, a sweet board book that combines a familiar melody with one of our favorite types of creature!

Part of a series of “Twinkle, Twinkle” reimaginings, (other books feature a unicorn and a fairy friend), our story starts off with an adorable little green theropod dino as he is waved off by his parents to another day of play. He frolics with other dino species like a sauropod, pterosaurs, and a ceratopsid, watches an erupting volcano, and of course, lets out the occasional mighty roar. When day is done, he returns home to his parents, who tuck him into his nest for a cozy night’s sleep.

Adorable. Any little dino lover will delight at the friendly-faced dinosaurs and gentle storytelling. Using such a well-known melody and accessible language allows little readers to join in from the get-go, and simple, colorful illustrations are engaging and fun. It’s a short read, only two verses, making it a great bedtime story for smaller bookworms. JJ loved this one, we had fun reading it together, 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.)

Bolivar (Sean Rubin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Bolivar by Sean Rubin, a phenomenal modern fairy tale of a dinosaur in the big city.

Young Sybil, a school-age girl living in a New York brownstone apartment, has quite the dilemma. You see, despite numerous attempts, she can’t convince anyone in her life that her next door neighbor is a dinosaur. Even her mother scoffs at the idea – after all, everyone knows that dinosaurs are extinct. Except… they’re not. Bolivar, a mild-mannered, modestly-sized (though still quite large) theropod, is the last dinosaur anywhere. And since he prefers not to be noticed, he’s made his home in New York City, a place where everyone is far too busy to take note of a dinosaur. Bolivar goes about his day, getting his NEW YORKER from the newsstand, shopping for old books, dining on corned beef sandwiches in cafes, and no one notices, all too consumed in their own lives to spot the massive yet quiet dinosaur in their midst. Everyone except Sybil, of course. And in her quest to prove Bolivar’s existence, she ends up setting into motion a chain of events that brings them adventure, friendship, and parking tickets.

We. LOVED. This. Right off the bat, this mashup of picture book, early reader, and graphic novel is not a quick read; it took JJ and I about half an hour to cover the story, and twice as long to pour back over the gorgeously detailed illustrations of the city that never sleeps. But JJ was riveted, and so was I – this modern take on classic tropes like “fish out of water” and “a day in the city” are made delightful with a fresh, wonderfully funny story and a thoughtful commentary on the connections we make with others. Readers will immediately fall for the timid, gentle Bolivar and the tenacious yet kindly Sybil. And the art – intricate, lovingly and painstakingly illustrated scenes of the city and her people – is a marvel. This one may take a few sittings to get through for younger bookworms, but I promise – it’s well worth the ride. Baby Bookworm approved!

It’s Not A Bed, It’s A Time Machine (Mickey Rapkin)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It’s Not A Bed, It’s A Time Machine, written by Mickey Rapkin and illustrated by Teresa Martinez, a delightful adventure that encourages little ones to be brave at bedtime.

“Be brave!” says the mom of our hero – a little boy – as she closes the bedroom door. “You’re the Boss of Bedtime!” But bedtime is a scary time, what with the dark corners and foreboding closets. As soon as mom is out of sight, however, his stuffed bunny Floppy has a counter-argument: it’s not a bed, it’s a time machine! Think about it: you fall asleep then wake up hours later – where did the time go?! Intrigued, the boy activates the time machine to travel to the past, all the way to the time of dinosaurs! Colorful beasts of all shapes and sizes roam across the landscape, doing hilariously human things like playing basketball or knitting. The two friends have now switched attitudes; Floppy feels a bit nervous, but the boy is in heaven, and even makes a special pet-like dinosaur friend. When the time comes to leave, he bids Dino-land farewell, and wakes up in his bed, excited to tell his mom about his dream… if it WAS a dream…

Wonderful! A creative concept with a practical lesson, the story both entertains little readers while encouraging them to create bedtime adventures of their own. The art in particular is phenomenal, rich with details in every spread, such as the subtle hints of foreshadowing in the boy’s messy bedroom and the wonderfully unique dinosaur village, and the character design is spot-on adorable. The length is perfect, and JJ the dino-lover went wild for this one. A fresh and fun bedtime book, 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.)

Stegothesaurus (Bridget Heos)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Stegothesaurus, written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by T.L. McBeth, a silly adventure for budding wordsmiths.

Once upon a time, there were two regular stegosauruses and their brother, a stegoTHEsaurus. And while the first two brothers were content with their simple words to describe their world (“big” mountain, “yummy” plants), their brother likes to use his wealth of synonyms instead: “Gargantuan, gigantic, Goliath!”, and “Savory, scrumptious, succulent!”. So when a terrifying Allosaurus sneaks up on their den one night, the first two brothers are quick to run – but Stegothesaurus is so caught up with finding the right words, he is frozen in his tracks! That is until the Allosaurus responds with a collection of words of her own – turns out, she’s an AlloTHEsaurus! Looks like this is the beginning of a lovely friendship… or is it?

This one was a delightful mix of weird, wacky, funny, and sweet. The set-up is the classic story of being the odd one out, a pretty common theme in kidlit, but with a fun vocabulary-driven spin. But from there, it takes some honestly surprising and entertaining turns; I don’t say this often about picture books, but there were some twists in here that I genuinely did not see coming! The art is simple yet enjoyable, using basic shapes and saturated colors to create the characters and their environments, and adding a few bold design elements during the exciting moments. The length was good, and JJ always loves a dinosaur. A marvelous and unexpected tale, and we liked it, enjoyed it, dug 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.)