The Lumberjack’s Beard (Duncan Beedie)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie, a funny yet sweet story of friendship and conservation.

Jim Hickory the lumberjack lives a simple life, following a comfortable routine. Each morning he wakes, limbers up (limbering is important for lumbering, you see), then eats a tall stack of delicious pancakes. Then he heads out into the forest and chop-choppety-chops down all the trees he can. After a full day of chopping, he is surprised to find a bird at his door, angry that Jim had chopped down a tree that held his brand-new nest. A decent sort, Jim offers to let the bird nest in his fine, full beard – and that’s where the trouble starts. More animals are showing up at Jim’s door in need of a place to stay, and soon his beard is full of guests and his routine is in shambles. He evicts his tenants, shaving his beard and leaving the hair on the porch for them to continue living in. Yet now, looking at his clean-shaven face and the barren landscape around him, he begins to wonder how he can help them even more…

We really liked this one! It’s a fun, silly story without an ounce of meanness: the animals are righteous in their dismay, and Jim is generous and kind, doing what he can to help them. By the end, he and the animals have formed a close friendship that has allowed him to adjust his perspective, and he sees the importance of replacing the trees that he’s cut down. It’s a fresh way of presenting conflict, not as one party versus another, but instead two parties adjusting to accommodate the other. The illustrations are adorable, and Jim and his furry friends are sure to delight, especially for kids with bearded men in their lives. The length is great, and JJ loved it. This one will make you smile, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Bear Who Stared (Duncan Beedie)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is The Bear Who Stared by Duncan Beedie, a cute story about a socially awkward bear learning how to make friends.

Bear has a bit of a people-skills problem: he is curious and wants to make friends, but he is too shy to say anything, so he has a habit of staring. It annoys and bothers the animals around him, but he doesn’t know how to interact otherwise. Fortunately, a frog helps him find that a smile and a greeting can make all the difference when trying to make new friends, and Bear finds that when he has the courage to be friendly, he is met with friendliness in return.

This was a sweet book that helps with a very specific, though common, social issue that children sometimes have. Bear doesn’t mean to be awkward, he’s just shy, and this book can help children who experience similar shyness, as well as helping children to recognize shyness in others. It’s well-executed, with great illustrations and a good length for baby bookworms. We liked this one! Baby Bookworm approved!