Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow (Michelle Cuevas)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow, written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Sydney Smith, a fantastic fairy tale about having the courage to explore the world outside one’s comfort zone.

Smoot is a precocious little shadow with a curious nature and a yearning to be free. The boy he is attached to is nice enough, but lives a dull, colorless life – he never jumps or leaps or plays or even colors outside the lines. Wishing for a day when he could have a life of his own, Smoot is surprised to hear a POP! – and to find he is no longer attached to his boy! At last, Smoot can dance, sing, ride the carousel, jump rope, and go wherever his dreams take him. His carefree attitude inspires the other shadows around him, and suddenly they are making their own dreams a reality: a cricket’s and grasshopper’s shadows strike up a band, a frog’s shadow becomes a handsome prince, and a tiny rock makes himself into a towering castle. Knowing that the shadows’ freedoms could become problematic if unchecked, Smoot devises clever solutions to help them realize their dreams, then decides to return to his boy – only to find his old friend has been following him since he left, and has been inspired by his boldness to embrace the color in his life.

This was such a wonderful little fable! Smoot is a charmingly earnest protagonist, both a dreamer and a realist who knows the proper balance of both. He and the other shadows serve as a great metaphor for how we should let our dreams influence us: allowing them to drive us out of complacency, but not letting them get too carried away. The illustrations are magical, and create an imaginative world that feels both familiar and fanciful. The length is perfect, and JJ adored it. A lovely tale for dreamers of any age, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Uncorker Of Ocean Bottles (Michelle Cuevas)

Hello, friends! Today, we read The Uncorker Of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead, a lovely tale about the power of messages to bring people together.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles lives in a small house by the sea, picking up the messages in bottles that the ocean brings him and delivering them to their rightful recipients. He sees the letters bring hope, sadness, tears and love, and he hopes someday to receive a message addressed to him. Unfortunately, he has no friends and no name, so he doesn’t imagine one will ever come. One day, he finds a message with no recipient, an invitation to a party on the beach. He searches for the letter’s origin with no luck, and so decides to go to the party to apologize to the sender for failing his mission, but what he finds on the beach fills his heart with joy.

This was a beautiful book, from the muted, gentle colors of the illustrations to the sweeping and simple yet enchanting text. The length might be pushing it for some baby bookworm, but JJ liked it, so no complaints. And the lesson of the importance of letters and togetherness warms the heart. We liked this one a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!