Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, the classic alphabet story of an adventurous young alphabet and their brush with disaster, now available in an storytime-friendly spiral-bound version.

“A told B, and B told C, ‘I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree’”. After the first three letters scale the palm tree, the other lowercase letters of the alphabet join in, until the entire alphabet finds themselves weighing the now-wobbly tree down. After a disastrous tumble, and some coddling by their caregivers (the uppercase letters, naturally), the lowercase letters limp off with a few bumps and bruises for their trouble… but not deterred in the least from trying to scale the coconut tree again soon.

What can we say about such a classic? There’s a reason that this simple, masterfully-metered, and charmingly-illustrated alphabet story has been a beloved staple of libraries and bookshelves for over forty years. Reading it again for this review was like slipping on a cozy sweater: familiar, comforting, and wonderfully enjoyable. This new spiral-bound version, inspired by the kamishibai style of storytelling, allows the adult reader to recite the enlarged text off the back of the book while holding the illustrated spread (which includes a smaller version of text as well) up for optimal audience visibility. While this is great for any storytime experience, this is a wonderful adaptation for educators reading to a larger audience. In addition, the book can still be enjoyed in the traditional orientation, allowing for a versatility of reading styles. JJ and I loved revisiting this old favorite; it’s the perfect length for a quick storytime, and a wonderful way to brush up on the alphabet. Overall, a classic title that can be enjoyed in a brand new way, and we loved 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.)

Boo To You! (Lois Ehlert)

Halloween Week, Day 3: Hello, everybody! Our book today is Boo To You! by Lois Ehlert, a story about some tricky mice, told with harvest-themed collage art.

The mice are setting up for their harvest dinner with their friends Squirrel and Racoon, but they are all frightened that the cat (a meat-eater) will find out and crash the party. So all together, they use their autumn vegetables to create a scary costume to frighten the cat off.

This book definitely had a different art style, and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, the use of different autumnal veggies, squash and other harvestables in the collages to create the animals is neat, and the fact that the veggies are all identified in a glossary at the end is cool, because readers can go back and try to identify them page-by-page. But, to be frank, the overall effect of the collages is underwhelming. The color scheme is going for autumnal but just looks sort of dingy. The story itself is okay, but doesn’t really stand up to the much bolder visuals. The length is fine for baby bookworms, and JJ sat through it, but this one sort of left us feeling a bit “meh.” Still, we had no major issues with it, and other readers might enjoy it more, so we will technically call this one Baby Bookworm approved.