Hidden Treasure (Elly MacKay)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hidden Treasure by Elly MacKay, a sweet, summery ode to the small yet priceless treasures to be found all around us.

A young girl makes for the beach with her Papa and her dog, excited to hunt for treasures. There are things in the shops they pass that others might deem valuable, but the girl knows that the best treasures are found for free at the quiet seashore; in the surf, in the grass, in the seabed, and even in the sky. There are unique stones, a whale’s tooth, a moth’s cocoon (though that last treasure, she insists, is best left alone to simply enjoy through observation). After a day of diving and beach-combing, she and her Papa choose the best additions to her treasure box, and she notes that the very best treasures are the ones that cannot be held in hand at all – sometimes, they’re just a day spent together at the beach.

Gorgeous. With a combination of calm yet playful text and warm, soothing visuals – done in a dreamy diorama style that blends real-life materials with charming cutout illustrations – MacKay perfectly evokes the quiet adventure and exploration of a childhood day at the beach. The art is the standout, creating scenes that feel both fantastically grand yet wildly intimate, such as the girl lining up her treasures on a dock as she treads water beneath it, or a massive sunlit cloud that suggests the shape of a pirate frigate. The rich and meditative text is gentle and relaxing, and the length is perfect for a storytime. JJ and I both really enjoyed this one: it’s a great way to wind little bookworms down after a busy summer day. Overall, a lovely and sunny read – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Butterfly Park (Elly MacKay)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the gorgeous Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay, a joyful story of a little girl and her love for butterflies bringing a town together.

A little girl is moving to a new town and is sad to leave her country home, especially the beautiful butterflies that live there. Moving to a house in the city, she feels lost at first – until she finds that she lives next to a Butterfly Park! When she visits the garden the next day, she finds that there are no butterflies in barren park. She goes searching, and find one in a neighbor boy’s yard. She asks for his help to catch it and bring it to the garden, but when they release it, it flies away. Enlisting more neighborhood children, they capture more butterflies, only to have them fly away as well. The kids begin to follow the last remaining butterfly, chasing it through town and attracting a parade of amused onlookers. At last, the butterfly leads them to a garden and the girl realizes her mistake: butterflies are attracted to flowers! She returns to the park with flowers, but still no butterflies arrive – until the park is suddenly filled with the townspeople, who happily help the girl build a flower garden that attracts her beloved bugs.

This was a wonderfully sweet story, filled with a guileless innocence that captures a feeling of childhood awe. But the absolute star of the show here are the gorgeous paper-cut illustrations, arranged and captured using tilt-shift photography, that give the art of the book a positively magical air. The reader can practically feel the movement, energy, and warmth of the characters within a three-dimensional space, and it’s really quite beautiful. The length was good as well, and JJ enjoyed it. This is a genuine feast for the eyes paired with a charming story about community, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!