Be Thankful For What You Have (Miranda Mittleman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Be Thankful For What You Have, written by Miranda Mittleman and illustrated by iNDOS Studios, the third installment of the adorable Paws And Think! series.

Weaver the Dog is back with a new lesson in self-reflection for little readers. Weaver lives in a city with his family, and they love going on walks and trips together. One of Weaver’s favorite places to visit is the pet store, where the owner always gives him a treat, he can look at all the toys and bones, and even pick out a brand new plaything to take home with him. But as Weaver is leaving, he notices something new in the store: a crate with a rescue dog inside. Reflecting on all that he has when the rescue dog has nothing, Weaver decides to share his toy with the pup and offer words of encouragement, he being a rescue dog as well. Later at home, Weaver takes stock of all that he has to be thankful for – his home, his toys, and especially his family – and reminds himself that he doesn’t need new things to be happy when he already has so much.

Lovely. So far, the Paws & Think series has been one of our favorite independent series, and once again Weaver’s winning look and voice make him instantly likable. The story could have used slightly more stakes – perhaps Weaver could have been too greedy at the store – to draw focus to the lesson, but it still stands on its own, reminding kids of the importance of appreciating what they have and being generous to others who have less. The art is still some of the best we’ve seen in self-publishing, with adorable character design and a great sense of color and scale. I especially loved the detail of the dog in the pet store being a rescue – always, ALWAYS adopt, don’t shop! The length was great and JJ loved it. Another fine chapter to Weaver’s story, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

We Are All Different & I Am Important (Miranda Mittleman)

Hello, friends! Our books today are the Paws And Think! series: We Are All Different and I Am Important, written by Miranda Mittleman and illustrated by iNDOS studio, a set starring a curious pup learning important life lessons.

In We Are All Different, Weaver introduces himself as a playful spotted dog with a loving family. At the dog park, he muses that none of the other dogs look just like him: they are all different colors, shapes and/or sizes. Weaver likes this though, because when all those differences mix together, it makes for a fun day of play with friends. In I Am Important, Weaver notices that many other pups have important jobs, like police dogs or service animals. He wonders if he is important or not, and decides to leave home to find out. As he walks around town however, he begins seeing flyers with his pictures on him – he family thinks he’s run away. Weaver returns home and realizes that everyone is important, because everyone has someone that they are important to.

These were delightful! Weaver is a strong protagonist for these types of lessons: he’s open, inquisitive, and has a positive outlook that children can connect to. And while the messages of self-esteem and diversity are well-worn in kidlit, it makes them no less important, and these books communicate them engagingly and effectively. The story in I Am Important is a bit stronger, but We Are All Different has a great payoff: Weaver notes that while others may be different to him, he is different to them. It’s a concept that often gets skipped over in books on diversity, and encourages children to consider the perspectives of others. The illustrations were very cute, with colorful environments and charming characters. The lengths were perfect, and JJ really liked them. Definitely Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)