Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy And Fearful Cats (Alicia Potter)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Miss Hazeltine’s Home For Shy And Fearful Cats, written by Alicia Potter and illustrated by Birgitta Sif, a charmingly sweet story about finding courage to help a friend in need.

When Miss Hazeltine opens her Home For Shy And Fearful Cats, she’s not sure anyone will come… but they do, in droves. Owners bringing cats with one complaint or another (“won’t chase mice!”, “won’t purr!”, “useless!”) and timid strays all flock to her sanctuary, where Miss Hazeltine cares for the kitties and tries to give them confidence and teach them courage. Crumb is the most nervous little cat of all, hiding in dark spaces and never coming out, but still, Miss Hazeltine is kind and patient with him. But when Miss Hazeltine disappears one day while out to get milk, Crumb may find the courage inside him after all, especially if the lady he loves is in trouble.

This was a wonderfully sweet little tale with a lot of positives. It’s primarily a story about being brave when it’s most important, but there’s quite a few lessons here to be had: everyone has fears (including Miss Hazeltine), kindness is its own reward, and when the people you care about need help, it’s important to find the courage to do so, even take the lead if necessary. The illustrations are very cute, with lots of cuddly kitties and the endearingly exuberant Miss Hazeltine giving the story plenty of characters to root for. The length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed this one, especially the many cats that grace each page. All in all, a very cute story for the shy and/or fearful feline in all of us. Baby Bookworm approved!

Lionheart (Richard Collingridge)

Hello, everyone! Today, we read Lionheart by Richard Collingridge, a gorgeously illustrated and wonderfully dreamlike story about finding courage, both from one’s friends and within oneself.

Richard is in his bedroom one night with his best friend, his stuffed Lionheart, when he first sees it. But it can’t be real – monsters aren’t truly real… are they? Frightened, Richard flees into the night, losing Lionheart along the way, and running so far that he comes upon a magical jungle. There, he finds Lionheart again, only his beloved stuffed friend is much, MUCH bigger. The monster is still on his tail – can Lionheart help Richard find the courage that lies within him?

We LOVED this book. First, the art is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and transports the reader to the places and emotions that dwell within us all: the cold and dark twisted forests of fear, the sun-warmed and windy mountainsides of triumph, and everything in between. No less fantastic is the story, a fable that weaves together the surreality of a child’s imagination with a down-to-earth story about our capacity for bravery and where it can truly be found. Paired together, the art and text make each page of the story feel epic. The length is great, and JJ adored it. This one is a knockout, we heartily recommend it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!