Go To Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons From the Fog of New Parenthood (Lucy Knisley)

Hello friends, and Happy Mother’s Day! As a special treat, today’s review is one for the moms: Go To Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons From the Fog of New Parenthood by Lucy Knisley.

In this delightful collection of sketches and one- to four-panel cartoons – conceptualized and created during the first few years of her son’s life – graphic novelist Knisley captures the highs and lows – and REALLY lows and lunacies and laughter and tears and in-betweens – of new motherhood. Capturing hilariously specific and relatable aspects of this adjustment period, such as bizarre search histories (“How Many Poops Normal Baby?”), the endless stickiness of one’s inner elbow, the pride/exhaustion of watching them discover the world, and an entire chapter titled “Bodily Fluids.”

I loved this. I definitely had multiple laughs of understanding and sympathy as I read, even texting excerpts to mom friends who also remember the wonderment and bewilderment of that crazy time in you and your baby’s life. Knisley lays it all on the page, from gushing over her somewhat-biased designation of her son as “the best” baby; to the endless frustrations and physical/emotional toll of breastfeeding, and everything in-between. The art is frank yet fond, sarcastic yet sweet, and perfectly captures the running theme of “Motherhood is Weird”. Readers who have survived this stage of motherhood will look back on their own bittersweet memories of babyhood, and new moms may feel a little less alone in their brave new world. Just note: this one is definitely for adult readers; while JJ enjoyed looking over my shoulder at the illustrations, the subject matter was far beyond her or most any child. This one’s just for the moms, and a warm and worthy tribute to motherhood it is. Baby Bookworm’s Mama approved!

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

Nightlights (Lorena Alvarez)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez, an exciting, scary, yet very empowering tale of creativity and self-confidence.

Sandy is a little girl who loves to draw. For her, drawing is like watching the air fill with the spark of her ideas and dreams (she calls them “nightlights”), then putting pen to paper to recreate what she sees. One day, she meets a new girl at school, Morfie, who loves her drawings. But there’s something very strange about Morfie… sinister, even. And when Morfie tries to take control of Sandy’s imagination, the young artist must think of a way to escape from the nightmare that her new companion has dragged her into.

Okay, so I sort of messed up here, because this book is DEFINITELY too advanced for baby bookworms. However, for older children, this may be one of the most beautiful and gripping graphic novels I’ve ever seen. Within the story, a very gothic and creepy tale with some truly nightmarish visuals, there is a powerful metaphor for self-doubt and how it can make us question ourselves and our talents. Sandy’s courage and cleverness, as well as her creativity, make her a phenomenal heroine for young readers, and Alvarez’s jaw-dropping anime-inspired art sets an epic atmosphere. And while the story was a bit advanced, JJ was spellbound by the art. So, while you might want to wait a few years to share this story with your little readers, I would definitely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!