Eek!: A Noisy Journey From A to Z (Julie Larios & Julie Paschkis)

Hello, friend an our book today is Eek!: A Noisy Journey From A to Z by Julie Larios and Julie Paschkis, a unique alphabet book of onomatopoeias.

When a little mouse plucks a flower and takes an appreciative sniff, he lets out a polite sneeze (“achoo”), which disturbs the bee who was hiding within the petals (“buzz”). As the story unfolds further, each letter is represented by a different “noisy” word – “fwump”, “plop”, “vroom”, etc. – popping up as a different element of the rollicking and unpredictable story of the mouse and his flower unfolds.

Silly fun. Exploring an alphabet’s worth of sound words is a clever twist on the typical ABC fare, and the choices of onomatopoeic words range nicely from noises, animal calls, and even emotional exclamations (a weeping raccoon wails out a “maaaah!”, for instance). The colorful illustrations introduce an entire cast of animals and settings that flow nicely from one to the next, giving a good sense of cause and effect and allowing readers to interpret the story for themselves through context clues. The folk-inspired artwork is distinctive and eye-catching, if occasionally busy. The length is great, and JJ really enjoyed this one. A fun way to explore the alphabet and sounds, and we liked it – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color (Julie Paschkis)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color by Julie Paschkis, a delightfully quirky look at all our favorite hues.

Using a loose structure, nearly each spread is dedicated to a color, except when two colors share one, or one color gets two in a row. The accompanying poems are almost exclusively free-verse, keeping the language short, simple, and easily accessible for readers of all ages. Eccentric topics of verse range from diving into an ocean that becomes bluer the deeper one goes, a cat and dog discussing various shades of red paint colors, and an artichoke-dragon-giant foodchain. Each page also features a nonfiction fact or point of interest on the featured color, such as the etymology of the word “green” or an explanation of why purple is associated with royalty.

Very interesting! Let’s face it: with the breadth of color books out there, it’s always nice to see one that stands out, and this one does. The poems are unique and original, yet still very child-friendly for the most part. And the illustrations, rich with pigment and graceful, flowing figures, are beautiful and fun. The length is great, and we easily finished the entire book in a single storytime (not always the case with poetry books). And of course, JJ loved finding the colors and animals throughout. A fresh take on a well-loved subject, and we appreciated it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Night Of The Moon (Hena Khan)

Hello friends, and Ramadan Mubarak! Today marks the first day of the month of Ramadan, and since we wanted to learn more about this Muslim holy month, our book today was Night Of The Moon, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. This story teaches the reader about Ramadan as seen through the eyes of a young girl named Yasmeen.

Yasmeen is seven years old, Pakistani-American, and Muslim. One night, her mother shows her the bare sliver of the new moon and explains that this begins Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and celebration for people of Islamic faith. As the new moon waxes and wanes, Yasmeen and her family attend celebrations with friends and relatives and services at their mosque. They practice kindness and community, and Yasmeen’s parents fast during the day to reflect on their blessings. Then, after the end of the month, the family and their community celebrate Eid, a festival filled with gifts, treats, and a brand new moon.

This was a fantastic book to introduce Ramadan and its customs to those just learning about it. Yasmeen and her family provide a wonderful narrative through the eyes of a child, relating the various celebrations, traditions, and beliefs in a concise and simple way. I especially loved how the passage of time was marked by the phases of the moon. The illustrations, heavily inspired by traditional Islamic art, are rich with color and design, and create a ton of visual interest for little readers. The length was fine, and JJ really liked this one, especially the art. This is a fantastic story about Ramadan, perfect for Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike to learn about and celebrate. Baby Bookworm approved!