I Am The Boss Of This Chair (Carolyn Crimi)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the delightful I Am The Boss Of This Chair, written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Marisa Morea, an adorable story of two cats learning the value of sharing.

Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III is boss of many things in his home. The toilet paper, the food dish, his toy mouse Bruce, but ESPECIALLY of his favorite chair. So when his owner brings home a new kitten, Oswald is decidedly put out. Pom Pom doesn’t understand the rules at all, eating whenever he feels like it, playing with the toilet paper without permission, even sitting on Oswald’s chair! When Oswald catches him playing with Bruce, it’s the last straw; he chases Pom Pom all over the house, earning both of them a scolding. Seeing how frightened and confused Pom Pom is, Oswald begins to wonder if he really needs all the space on the chair to himself. Offering Pom Pom a spot to make him feel better, Oswald begins to realize that being the boss of things can be lonely, but sharing them can earn him the most precious treasure yet: a friend.

We LOVED this one. An exciting, clever, and funny plot told from the deliciously particular feline point-of-view – a real treat for cat lovers who know the inherent regal attitude of their pets. The bright colors and adorable character design had JJ literally screeching with delight, especially during the action sequence. Plus, there’s a great message about how sharing opens us up to friendship and bonding, and encouragement to empathize with younger kids and siblings. The length was great, and we both adored this, so it’s definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Oh What Fun It Is To Share (Flora Agbaje)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Oh What Fun It Is To Share, written by Flora Agbaje and illustrated by Kim Merritt, a tale of the importance of sharing.

Our story opens on a little boy with a rather bad habit: he absolutely refuses to share. No one is allowed to play with or touch the things he’s decided are his – toys, books, even other people! To keep everyone from his things, he hugs them tightly to himself, earning him the nickname “Hugger Boy.” One day, however, as he is sitting with his closely guarded pile of things, he realizes that the other children are happily playing together, and his refusal to share with them has left him alone. Hugger Boy decides that he wants to make a change – but can he learn to share after all this time?

This one has a great premise, and while it’s a bit rough around the edges, there was a lot of good to take away. The lesson is a classic one, and the story is well-paced. The art is surprisingly good: in an area where many self-published children’s books are lacking, this one has expressive characters, great coloring, and an appreciated amount of diversity. Text-wise, it’s difficult to find the right rhythm at times due to some shifting syntax and, in at least one case, poor layout – this can make it a little difficult to read aloud. Also, it should be noted that while it is true that selfish kids often hug their items to themselves in a refusal to share, this is also an extremely common comforting gesture for children with ASD or social delays. This could cause some confusion in young readers who may read the story, then interpret children who have behavioral issues as being selfish. However, with a bit of adult guidance, this issue can be overcome. Otherwise, the story is a good length, and JJ seemed to enjoy it. A good lesson in sharing, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Pig The Pug (Aaron Blabey)

Hello, everyone! Today, we read Pig The Pug by Aaron Blabey, a morality tale about a selfish little pug being taught a lesson in sharing.

Pig is a pug, and a very greedy one at that. He does not care to share anything, not his toys nor his food. When a friendly dachshund named Trevor says that they might have more fun sharing, Pig throws a huge tantrum and piles all his toys into a mountain, climbing on top and declaring his ownership of them. But uh-oh; that pile seems a bit wobbly… 

I had some mixed feelings on this one. While I loved the Seussian rhyme scheme and the just rewards for the sweet pup Trevor, there was a sense of dissatisfaction for the way Pig’s story turns out. Namely, he falls out of a window. I’m not joking: a full page spread is dedicated to the sight of Pig’s chubby little body plummeting upside-down from a second story window. What results is him being put in a full-body cast and therefore forced to share his toys with Trevor while Pig, humbled, looks on meekly. While this is the kind of ending that can be very entertaining to slightly older children who can better understand that Pig’s hubris is what led to his comeuppance, younger bookworms may not make the connection as easily. And because Pig doesn’t really learn a lesson, other than “don’t play near open windows,” it’s maybe not the best book about sharing for the babies (even JJ seemed a bit underwhelmed). Still, there were some fun and goofy illustrations, and the length was fine, so maybe give this one a try for older readers, and overall, we’ll call it Baby Bookworm approved (with an asterisk).