Where Oliver Fits (Cale Atkinson)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson, a fantastic story of finding where you fit without compromising who you are.

Oliver is a puzzle piece, and like all puzzle pieces, he’s excited to find where he fits. He certainly hopes he’ll be a part of a super-awesome, exciting puzzle, but when he tries to fit into all the cool puzzles, they reject him. “Not enough red!” they say, or “too round, not square enough”. Oliver is sad, so he comes up with an idea: he will change the way he looks and is shaped so that he can fit in. But no matter what, he still stands out from the rest of the pieces, and they tease him away. Finally, in desperation, Oliver changes absolutely everything about himself, and finally finds an amazing puzzle to fit into. But when he sees his fellow pieces teasing other different-looking pieces, Oliver takes a hard look at himself and wonders: if he has to change everything about who he is to fit in, is it even still him anymore?

Fantastic. Using the wonderful puzzle piece metaphor, Atkinson teaches a valuable lesson in when the price of “fitting in” becomes a burden. It’s a story that assures readers that changing who you are to be part of the cool kids is ultimately quite empty, and may even limit your opportunities for finding your people. The last page is especially meaningful, reminding children that to make a complete, beautiful puzzle, every piece is important, including you – a poignant metaphor for “it gets better”. The art is wonderful, full of bright colors and fun visuals that kept JJ fascinated throughout. It’s a great length, and a vital reminder for little ones that, while it may take time, they WILL find where they feel – and make others feel – complete. Baby Bookworm approved!

Hello, My Name Is Octicorn (Kevin Diller & Justin Lowe)

Hey there, friends! Our book today is Hello, My Name Is Octicorn by Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe, a ridiculously fun tale with a lot of heart.

Meet Octi. He is an Octicorn (his mom is an octopus, and his dad is a unicorn). He’s a fun, friendly fellow who likes the same kinds of things everyone does: cupcakes, jet skiing, and making friends. Unfortunately, he has a bit of trouble with the latter: being half unicorn and half octopus means he has trouble fitting in wherever he goes, so he often feels left out. Say… might you want to be his friend?

This is one of those great books that reels you in with some fantastic comedy, then hits the reader with a very relatable message. Who hasn’t felt like they don’t quite fit in? The book ends with Octi asking the reader if they would like to be friends, and that makes for a great message: if you feel a little strange and don’t fit in, eventually, you’ll find someone else who feels the same way – and that person might just become a friend. The text is conversational, fun to read and moves at a perfect pace, which makes the book a fine length. The simple line-drawing illustrations are adorable and very funny, and give the book a unique look. It’s an enjoyable read, and JJ loved it, so Baby Bookworm approved!