Pruett and Soo (Nancy Viau)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Pruett and Soo, written by Nancy Viau and illustrated by Jorge Lacera, a tale of shaking up the status quo.

Robot student Pruett lives a humdrum life on the Planet Monochrome, a place where everyone and everything blends in. He, his family, his classmates, and his teacher all follow very strict rules: be calm. Wear and write in only black, white, or gray. No asking or answering questions, and no zigzagging or playing tag. One day, a new student appears in Pruett’s class: a colorful transfer from the Planet Prismatic named Soo. Soo does everything against the rules – asking questions, coloring in crazy colors, and zigzagging to her heart’s delight – to the horror of Preutt’s classmates and teacher. Pruett feels the urge to join her, but struggles to follow the rules he’s always known. How will Soo adapt to Monochrome’s society… or will she and Pruett lead a change toward the more colorful?

Sweet, if slightly simplistic. This is a pretty classic tale of a newcomer shaking things up for an overly-rigid society, reimagined with a wildly creative and visually appealing interstellar twist. Bringing color to a grayscale world is a pretty common trope, but Viau and Lacera’s unique alien characters and settings give it some spice. There’s also a pleasantly surprising (yet respectful) subtext of challenging authority, especially when it seeks to conform or negate those who lie outside the mainstream. My main issue is with how quickly and effortlessly such a massive societal change takes place, which seems a little naive, even for a picture book. It’s a wonderful notion, but one that feels a little disingenuous to young readers. Other than that, the length was great for a storytime, and JJ did love the colorful artwork and expressive dialogue. Overall, absolutely worth checking out – Baby Bookworm approved!

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

First Snow (Nancy Viau)

Hello, friends! Our book today is First Snow, written by Nancy Viau and illustrated by Talitha Shipman, a lovely celebration of wintertime fun.

The first snow of the year has come, and covered a quiet neighborhood in a white, crisp blanket of the stuff. A little boy helps his younger sister put on her cold weather gear and mittens, then the two and their exuberant pup head outside to meet up with friends. As the snowflakes continue to flurry down, the children engage in all manner of classic snow-day activities: snow angels, snowball fights, sledding, and so on. The group plays merrily until the sun begins to set, then the siblings and their dog head back inside for hot cocoa and bedtime, but not before enjoying the unique, stunning calm of a moonlit snowy night.

Simple and sweet. Playful rhymes, adorable illustrations, and overall sense of joy and wonder combine to perfectly capture the thrill of a snow day through the eyes of children. From there, small details – such as the diverse cast, the care the older brother shows for his little sister, and the seamless transition from daytime snow activities to the unearthly wonder of a snow-covered world at night – make the book a treat from cover to cover. The length is great, and JJ loved it. A perfect story to get kids excited for winter, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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