What If Everybody Said That? (Ellen Javernick)

Hello, friends! Our book today is What If Everybody Said That?, written by Ellen Javernick and illustrated by Colleen Madden, a lesson in considering the impact our words and actions can have on others.

A little girl with a host of bad manners displays her rudeness in number of scenarios, beginning with not allowing boys to play with her in the park. “What if everybody said that?” the boys’ mother asks, and the following page gives a number of examples of people excluding others for arbitrary reasons. This model repeats, each time showing the same little girl acting impolite, selfish, or thoughtless in both her behavior and words: she mocks other children’s artwork, refuses to share her lunch with a hungry student, and teases others based on their appearance or aptitude. Each time she is admonished by being asked to consider what the world would be like if everyone acted so callous. At last, her mother’s final scolding hits home, and the little girl starts to make amends for her behavior.

I was actually sort of disappointed by this one. While the atrocious behavior of the girl certainly warrants consideration, the central theme of “words hurt” was hit-or-miss; often it was the girl’s actions that were just as, if not more, hurtful. Also, while it was nice that she finally started down a kinder path, she only made amends for ONE of her transgressions – the others went unpunished and not apologized for. And after such epic rudeness, her sudden change of heart felt too abrupt. The art was just fine, using a diverse cast and some poignant visuals, the length was fine, and JJ liked it okay, but it lacked a certain sense of satisfaction that one would expect in a morality tale. Still, a classic lesson worthy of learning, so Baby Bookworm approved.

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

Huggy The Python Hugs Too Hard & Roary The Lion Roars Too Loud (Ame Dyckman)

Hello, friends! Today’s review is of two board books from the Wee Beasties series: Huggy The Python Hugs Too Hard and Roary The Lion Roars Too Loud, both written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths.

Aiming to help little ones learn basic social skills, both books introduce adorable characters with lessons to learn. For instance, Huggy the python loves to hug the things he loves, but he finds that when he hugs things too tight (such as a balloon or an ice cream sundae), he can break or hurt them. Similarly, Roary the lion loves to let loose his big roar, more often than not startling his family members. In both cases, the reader is employed to help teach the character how to calmly interact, gently hugging a puppy and quietly wishing a baby “night-night.” And once the reader sets such a wonderful example, the characters learn how to gently and responsibly show their excitement.

We LOVED these! The lessons were well-imparted, necessary, and used the interactive elements in both fun and educational ways. The characters and illustrations were absolutely charming, and the friendly conversational text made reading them aloud a joy. The lengths were perfect, and JJ had an absolute blast with them, especially the interactive pages and the art. Even the clever twist at the end of Roary was perfect. I hope to see more of this series very soon, because these two are emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda (Steve Antony)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is I’ll Wait, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, the second book in the adorable series on manners starring Mr. Panda.

Opening on the dour Mr. Panda, who is back to his love of baking treats for those polite enough to warrant them. This time, many animals stop by to ask about his activities. An anteater inquires after cookies. A rabbit and his colony wonders if it’s cupcakes this time. To each curious visitor, Mr. Panda instructs them simply to wait and see, as it is a surprise. Yet, rudely, each animal decides that waiting is not for them and make their departures… that is, except for one little penguin who promises to wait patiently for Mr. Panda to finish his masterpiece. And at last, when the delicious treat is finished, the penguin is in for a generous surprise to reward his patience and good manners.

We absolutely loved the previous book in this series, Please, Mr. Panda, and its follow-up did not disappoint! The beauty of these stories are the simple way they teach and reinforce good manners, and this one definitely brought home the virtues, and spoils, of being patient. The wonderful hodgepodge of animals that Mr. Panda encounters is still lots of fun to give voice to when reading aloud, especially Mr. Panda’s terse, succinct, yet oddly endearing style of speech. The art and text layouts are simple yet wonderfully expressive, and the length is great. This is a favorite bedtime story of ours, and a great way to teach little readers that patience is a virtue often rewarded. Baby Bookworm approved!

Please, Mr. Panda (Steve Antony)

Hello, friends! If JJ seems a little more rosy-cheeked than usual, it’s because she woke up with a cold! Poor baby. Still, we were able to get our reading in today: we read Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, a short and sweet tale about the importance of the magic word.

Mr. Panda has some doughnuts. He grumpily offers the doughnuts to several animals, but when they rudely demand one doughnut or the other, Mr. Panda finds he has changed his mind and rescinds his offer. Finally, a little lemur asks Mr. Panda if he may have a donut: “Please, Mr. Panda?” he asks. And wouldn’t you know, Panda gives him all the doughnuts – he just wanted someone to say please.

This was a funny little book. It’s rather short, which actually makes is great for baby bookworms and young readers. Plus, the lesson is a classic one: having good manners is important, and can have wonderful rewards. The illustrations are simple and cute, and overall, JJ liked it a lot – especially grumpy old Mr. Panda. So this one is Baby Bookworm approved!