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.)

Sea Rex (Molly Idle)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sea Rex by Molly Idle, the third in her positively charming Rex series.

Rex and his two young friends – Cordelia and her younger brother – head down to the beach for a day of fun and sun. But just like their previous outings, there are certain rules of etiquette and safety to be followed, which the text enlightens the reader to: staying in sight of a lifeguard, using plenty of sunscreen, and being sure to hunt for seaside treasures. During their day, the trio meet new dinosaurs during their adventures, which leads one more rule of beachgoing – the best day at the beach is one spent with friends.

So adorable. Idle’s delightfully cheeky style of combining instructional text with the tongue-in-cheek, beautifully laid-out, and incredibly endearing illustrations makes for a fun read no matter the age. Dino-lovers like JJ will be particularly pleased with the friendly-looking dinosaurs and the children’s interactions with them. The length is perfect, and JJ was grinning for every page. A fantastic summertime read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

When I Was A Dinosaur (Tatsuhide Matsuoka)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When I Was A Dinosaur by Tatsuhide Matsuoka, a charming little tale of a dinosaur-obsessed boy unexpectedly swept into the adventure of a lifetime.

As a birthday gift, the young boy’s grandpa gives him his very own dinosaur suit! He rushes to the park to show the other kids, but his growling and roaring scare them off. Saddened, he sits alone until another offer to play comes by… from a pack of real live dinosaurs! They play with the boy, then bring him back to their home in Dinosaur Land, showing him the special islands that the herbivores and carnivores live on and all the fun things that dinosaurs do. That is, until a pack of hungry Tyrannosauruses begin making their way toward Herbivore Island! What can the boy and his new friends do to defend themselves?

A fun flight of imagination, especially for those who love dinosaurs (and, as you can see from her own dinosaur suit, JJ fits the bill!). There are definitely some notes of The Nutcracker or Where The Wild Things Are – where an imaginative child is swept into a fantasy world, becomes a hero, then is returned home – though I wish we had spent more time in Dinosaur Land so the reader could have been immersed in its magic a bit more. Still, there’s a fun story and some lively detailed art that brings a heap of species and their environments to life, and the ending is adorable. The pace seemed a bit quick, but the length was fine and JJ enjoyed it. This one would be best for dinosaur fans, but most children will likely enjoy their journey into the land of dinosaurs. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Lizard From The Park (Mark Pett)

Hello, friends! Hope you don’t mind that we took last night off! We’re back today with a new review: Lizard From The Park by Mark Pett, a sweet story about friendship, family, and dinosaurs.

While taking a shortcut through the park one day, Leonard comes upon a most unusual egg. He takes the egg home, playing with it and caring for it, until the next morning when it begins to hatch. Busting through the shell, out pops a tiny lizard whom Leonard names, appropriately, Buster. Leonard and Buster are inseparable, and Leonard takes his new little one to all his favorite places in the city. But as the two grow closer together, Buster is growing as well – he soon outgrows the other people, Leonard’s room, even the roof of the apartment building. Leonard needs to find a solution for his rapidly growing friend, even if it means having to say goodbye… 

This was a very sweet and playful story, with an honest yet hopeful ending that felt just right. Much like Love Is by Diane Adams, Leonard comes to terms with the fact that Buster needs to go out into the world on his own, making this a wonderful metaphor for parenthood as well as a sweet tale about friendship. The illustrations are perfect; sometimes wry, sometimes sentimental, and with a wonderful visual story that dovetails to the main theme nicely. The length is great, and JJ loved it. Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

Dinosaur Kisses (David Ezra Stein)

Hello, everybody! Our book today is Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein, a wonderfully funny book about a little dinosaur’s quest for kisses.

Dinah the dinosaur hatches from her egg, excited and ready to explore all the new things to see and do. She finds that she can STOMP! and CHOMP! and WHOMP! with natural ease, but when she sees two little dinosaurs giving a gentle kiss, she decides to try that too. Only one problem: Dinah has a little trouble with the “gentle” part. She accidentally stomps or chomps when trying to kiss the big dinos; the little ones simply scatter in terror. Will Dinah find someone to kiss who doesn’t mind her brute enthusiasm?

This was a very cute and very funny book, especially for toddlers, who are often a bit rough with affection themselves. The bright colors, bold lines and cartoon sound effects spelled out in huge text kept JJ wildly entertained throughout, as did the silly story. Mind you, this isn’t a lesson about being gentle: Dinah eventually finds another baby dino like her, and they are able to “kiss” by chomping, stomping and headbutting together. So if anything, it’s a tale about finding someone who likes the same things as you, and appreciates you for who you are, which is a fine lesson too! Also, it’s a small thing, but I loved that Dinah was a girl. Most books automatically make dinosaur characters male, especially if they’re carnivores. It was cool to see a vivacious, roaring, stomping female dinosaur for once. The length was perfect, and this one was pure fun. Baby Bookworm approved!