The Good Egg (Jory John & Pete Oswald)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Good Egg by Jory John and Pete Oswald, a comedic yet poignant tale about the importance of self-care.

The unnamed narrator introduces himself on the first page as a Good Egg (he is in the process of rescuing a kitty from a tree as he does). This very good egg is always helping people, volunteering to assist with painting houses or carrying groceries or watering plants… with earnest, if mixed, results. He’s been this way always, even from his early days at the store, where he was one of a dozen eggs – and the only good egg of the bunch. His siblings are troublemakers and rule-breakers, and while Good Egg does his best to clean their messes and keep the peace, the stress of being the only voice of reason begins to wear on him. One day, he wakes with cracks in his shell, a sure sign of the impossible pressure he’s put on himself. Knowing that he has to make a change, he bids farewell to his rowdy siblings and embarks on a journey of self-care. At first it’s lonely, but soon he learns how to put himself first, and begins to heal.

Empowering and sweet. In this creative story, John and Oswald explore the importance of putting ourselves first once in a while, and understanding that not everyone can or wants to rise to our personal standards. It’s a simple message and a necessary one, especially in a time in which readers young AND old place so much pressure on themselves to be perfect. Good Egg eventually returns to his carton-mates, who have genuinely missed him, and he learns to balance taking care of others with taking care of himself – a subtle nod to how the people we love may not always be perfect, and that’s okay because NO ONE is. All we can do is our best, for each other and ourselves. The art is adorable, soft and simple yet filled with comedic beats that match the punny text well. The length is great, and JJ really liked this one. An important read for any perfectionist, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Sad Little Fact (Jonah Winter)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Sad Little Fact, written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Pete Oswald, a fable about the confusing misinformation of modern times.

There was once a sad little fact… except, no one took him seriously. Most simply ignored him, but some actually tried to claim he was not a fact, but a lie. Little Fact tried not to let this deter him, stating that “a fact is a fact”, but when The Authorities declare him to be a lie, he is locked in a box with other facts and buried deep underground. Meanwhile, the same Authorities begin manufacturing lies and declaring them facts, and these lies wreak havoc on the world above. At last, a group of Fact Finders search for the Facts, finding them in their box and setting them free upon the world. And while there are still some who will not believe in them, the facts begin to help the world heal through their knowledge of the truth – after all, a fact is a fact.

This is an inventive concept for a picture book, to be sure – in the age of fake news and dangerous misinformation, it’s very easy to see what inspired this tale. Indeed, some of the facts are silly (“a refrigerator is not a moose”) many allude to modern debates over misinformation (“dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago”, or “People are causing the Earth to get warmer”). However, this concept quickly begins to fall apart, due mostly to the direction and tone the narrative takes. Indeed, the story reads more like a satire for adults than an earnest picture book for kids. The shadowy “Authories” are introduced without much explanation as to their motives – it’s an allusion that adults will understand but will have little ones scratching their heads. There are also elements, such as the adorable, wide-eyes Facts being literally BURIED ALIVE that are just downright disturbing; not in a “makes you think” way, but in a “mommy, am I going to be locked up if I tell the truth?” way. The illustrations are creative, colorful and visually interesting, and the length is fine, but JJ seemed genuinely confused by the adult tone. It’s an interesting concept, but this is just not the best way to introduce it to little bookworms.