Aalfred And Aalbert (Morag Hood)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Aalfred And Aalbert by Morag Hood, a charming love story.

Aalfred and Aalbert are aardvarks, their burrows dug mere feet from each other. Yet despite this, the two have never met; Aalfred is nocturnal and Aalbert only comes out in the day. Not realizing the other’s proximity, the two aardvarks go about their routines and explore their interests: Aalfred loves stars, broccoli, and picnics, while Aalbert is passionate about flowers, sunshine, and cheese (same). They’re happy in their day-to-days, but occasionally wish for a companion to share it with – and with the assistance of a matchmaking bluebird, they may find that love is closer than they ever imagined.

What a lovely book! Every element – from the simple, funny story, to the sweet and kind characters, to the charmingly adorable illustrations – comes together to form a short and sweet tale that will warm any romantic’s heart. The bluebird’s numerous failed attempts at matchmaking are hilarious visual gags, and the utter sweetness of Aalfred and Aalbert makes them so deeply endearing that you could find yourself a little misty-eyed at their happily-ever-after. Yet perhaps best of all are the subtle messages about love that the story tells: while the titular aardvarks hope for companionship, this is not the focus of their lives. Aalfred and Aalbert are happy, fulfilled, and well-rounded creatures all on their own, and are not depicted as “incomplete” without mates; what a fantastic message to send kids about the role of romantic relationships in one’s life. Furthermore, the fact that Aalfred and Aalbert are presented as a same-sex couple without fanfare or it being central to the plot is remarkably refreshing. JJ adored the little aardvarks and their bird friend, and I am happy to have a book for her that illustrates such an inclusive and positive model of love. A quiet and romantic gem of a book, and 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.)

I Am Bat (Morag Hood)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am Bat by Morag Hood, the cute and quirky story of a little bat and a beloved snack.

On the first page, we are introduced to Bat. Bat does not like mornings. Bat DOES like cherries. They are juicy and sweet, and they’re his very favorite. He has some cherries here, but you cannot have them. In fact, he knows exactly how many he has, so don’t even think about it! But as he speaks, crafty off-screen animals are snatching his dear cherries left and right. Oh no! Bat will be heartbroken! Unless a replacement can be found…

This was definitely an unusual little story, but that sort of added to its charm. Bat is a foolish yet sympathetic little creature, and the story and text is minimalist yet fun, perfect for beginning readers like JJ (she remembered the title after only one read-through, which is pretty remarkable). The woodblock-stamped-style art is simple and colorful, with uniquely adorable character design that creates an endearing main character. It was a good length and JJ loved it, so this one is 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.)