Beach Toys vs. School Supplies (Mike Ciccotello)

Hello, friends! Our book today Beach Toys vs. School Supplies by Mike Ciccotello, an end-of-summer tale of teamwork and cooperation.

Shovel and the other beach toys are having a lovely, lazy day at the beach – until Ruler and his fellow school supply pals show up. There’s clearly some bad blood between these implement gangs: the beach toys accuse the school supplies of being stuffy know-it-all’s, while the school supplies write the beach toys off as frivolous and silly. Only one way to settle this summer showdown: a sand-castle building contest. And while the beach toys think they’ve got an obvious edge, the school supplies are more skilled than they expected. Who will triumph? And can the instruments find a common ground, or will they draw a permanent line in the sand?

Punny summer fun. As kiddos start making the transition from the end of summer to the start of school, this entertaining tale does a great job of showing the importance of balancing talents and knowledge through teamwork and communication. In the end, the school supplies create a better castle, but the expertise of the beach toys saves it from the rising tide of the surf; it’s a good example of cooperation that also works as a metaphor for the summer/school transition. The dialogue is punny, though not obnoxiously so, and fun to read aloud. The illustrations are cartoonish and fun, using cinematic angles and expressive characters to add to the excitement. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ loved the clever mashup of the tool groups and their beach tale. This is a great one to check out as summer winds down, and we definitely recommend 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.)

Twins (Mike Ciccotello)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Twins by Mike Ciccotello, a silly yet sweet tale of a rather unusual set of siblings.

Beings a twin is lots of fun: you always have a pal to play with, someone who knows you better than anyone else, and sometimes people can barely tell you apart! Of course, that’s not to say twins are exactly the same – even the things they like to do together, they might do differently (like building snowmen, or eating salad). They might even have fights or disagreements, just like all best friends, and need some space from each other for a while. But that’s the best thing about twins: they always come back together (after all, they’re a perfect pair… even if one of them is a giraffe).

A cute tale of twins from an author with twin sons, this reads as a straight and sentimental look at what it’s like to be part of a set of twins. The joke is in the illustrations – the twins are a little boy and his brother, a giraffe. This peculiar set of circumstances is never explained to the reader, and the joke seems to illustrate the legitimate point that each twin is very much their own autonomous person, even while they share this special bond with one another. It’s a gag that will amuse little ones, especially those who are twins or have siblings otherwise very close in age. The illustrations are a bit simple but very charming, and the length is fine. JJ enjoyed it fine, but this is definitely one that will mean more to the subjects of the story themselves; still, it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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