Who Is It, Whoodini? (Roman Yasiejko)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Who Is It, Whoodini?, written by Roman Yasiejko and illustrated by Gustavo Ramos, a playful pastoral tale of a mysterious discovery.

One day, two owls’ teatime is disrupted by a larger, colorful bird crashing into a nearby tree. Whoodini, a deerstalker-and-cape-clad owl, and her trusty pal Cahoots are on the case, embarking on an investigation to identify the rabble-rouser and where they’ve come from. After questioning a few animals at the nearby farm, Whoodini overhears a conversation that breaks the case wide open – but can the reader figure out the answer before the final page?

Uneven yet ambitious. What works in this Holmesian mystery tale for young readers works very well; it is a fun guessing game to try and determine the mystery behind the crashing bird, and one that is simple enough for little bookworms to suss out on their own if they so choose. The rhyming text flows extremely well, and it is a lot of fun to read aloud. I was even pleasantly surprised by Whoodini being given female pronouns, yet not overtly “feminized” visually; it was nice to find that our intrepid sleuth was a girl all along. However, there are a few areas falter a bit. I could nitpick about Whoodini’s slightly confusing name, especially as she is clearly modeled thematically and visually after Sherlock Holmes, but the main distraction was the disconnect between the artwork and story. While both are wonderful in their own right, it felt odd to have such a playful mystery paired with such deeply atmospheric acrylic and gouache paintings. While the artwork is gorgeous, it feels a little too weighty for such a light story, and the characters often blend in to the scenery a little too much. Otherwise, the length is fine for a storytime, and JJ did enjoy the final reveal. This one is definitely worth a look; even with its flaws, it’s a delightful ride from start to finish. Baby Bookworm approved.

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

Owl Sees Owl (Laura Godwin & Rob Dunlavey)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin and Rob Dunlavey, a unique and lovely little tale about a curious little owl on the nighttime.

Told in four words per page, the story begins with a young owl waking from sleep in the nest he shares with his mother and siblings. From there, he ventures out into the night sky, exploring a twilight world of autumn leaves, scampering mice, and moonlit ponds. Stopping to rest on a branch, he sees his reflection in the water (“owl sees owl”), and the text reverses, covering the same quartets of words backwards as the little owl makes his way back home.

This is a cool concept for a book, and we both really liked it. The simple, short vocabulary words that comprise the text make for a quick read for babies, while giving them gorgeous nighttime landscapes and creatures for illustrations, then transitions well into a book for beginning readers. And though it lacks a traditional narrative, the words are evocative enough to still make reading it aloud entertaining and fun. We enjoyed this one! Baby Bookworm approved!

Hoot And Peep (Lita Judge)

Hello, everyone! It’s been an overwhelming day for many of us, so it was nice for JJ and I to take a moment to enjoy a book together. Today, we read Hoot And Peep by Lita Judge, a story about an owl learning to love his little sister for all her differences.

Hoot is very excited to take Peep, his little sister, out for the first time; he’s looking forward to sharing all his big brother owl wisdom, such as how to hoot. However, Peep has her own way of singing all her own that is VERY different from the way Hoot does things. He quickly grows frustrated with Peep because, wanting to be herself, she refuses to take his advice even though he is older than her. Eventually, he yells at Peep and scares her off, but quickly regrets his actions: the night is much lonelier without his sister and her unique song. Can Hoot make amends with Peep and learn to accept his little sister for who she is?

We absolutely loved this one! The story of older and younger siblings is timeless, especially the aspect of older siblings growing frustrated when younger siblings won’t follow their instructions or advice. The resolution was lovely, and the language, owl songs included, was fun to read. The art was gorgeous, too, filled with beautiful scenes of the owls flying playfully over Paris at night. JJ really liked this one, and the length was fine, so we are definitely calling it Baby Bookworm approved!