Saturday (Oge Mora)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Saturday by Oge Mora, a heartwarming story of mother and daughter.

Saturdays are Ava’s favorite day; her mother works every other day of the week, so Saturdays are just for the two of them. They even have their weekly ritual all planned out: first, go to the library for storytime; then relax at the beauty shop as they get their hair done; then off to the park for a picnic. And today’s Saturday is even more special, because they’re capping it off with a special, one-night-only puppet show across town. However, when they get to the library, the find that storytime has been cancelled… and that’s only the beginning of their bad luck. Disappointment after disappointment mounts, culminating in a heartbreaking realization that they’ve left their puppet show tickets at home! This proves to be Ava’s mother’s breaking point, and she apologizes to her daughter for a day wasted. But little Ava knows the truth, and is there to remind her mother: a day is never wasted when it’s spent with the one you love.

Absolutely wonderful. Mora has a real talent for telling simple, uplifting stories that are grounded in reality. Watching Ava and her mom suffer their series of letdowns is painful, and the mother’s eventual feelings of guilt for “ruining” the day hit so close to home as a parent, especially because EVERY mother I know has had that kind of day at some point. And it’s Ava’s gentle, kind reassurance that both warms the heart and teaches several important lessons to young readers: sometimes things can’t go our way, sometimes parents even (gasp!) mess up, but it’s how we handle these bumps – and who we handle them with – that makes us who were are. It’s quietly powerful, deeply touching, and wonderfully inspiring. The mixed-media paper collage art is rich and beautiful, filling Ava’s city with life and color, and managing to imbue deep emotion and personality in spare figures. The length is perfect, and JJ and I both loved it. Absolutely Baby Bookworm approved!

This Beautiful Day (Richard Jackson)

Hello, friends! Today, we’re reviewing This Beautiful Day, written by Richard Jackson and illustrated by Suzy Lee, a celebration of the often-underestimated potential for loveliness in rainy days.

Told in flowing syncopated rhyme, the story opens on three children, watching the dark skies outside their window. Nothing to do because of the rain? No way – just put on a little music so you can dance and spin, all in time to the rain’s pitter-pat. And when the rain lets up a bit, grab your umbrella, because misty weather is perfect for a puddle parade with friends. And when the sky lightens and the sun comes out again, you’ll know that a good day has nothing to do with the weather, and everything to do with a positive attitude and being with good friends.

This was a sweet and fun book with a simple message, some great art, and a good deal of charm. I loved Lee’s use of watercolors to represent water and clouds, and gradual shift from grayscale to full color as the weather became brighter and clear. The message is a great one as well, showing that having a good attitude can make any day a beautiful one. The unusual rhyme scheme tripped me up a few times on first reading, but not so much that it diminished our enjoyment of the book. The length was good, and JJ enjoyed it, so we can definitely recommend this wonderful rainy day read. Baby Bookworm approved!

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days (Shelly Becker)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is Even Superheroes Have Bad Days, written by Shelly Becker and illustrated by Eda Kaban, a fantastically super-powered book about positivity.

It’s true! Even superheroes can have bad days: they can get sad or mad or disappointed just like you. And they COULD throw super-powered tantrums: hurl cars, let loose sonic screams, or stomp and stamp and make the whole world shake. Or they could just stop being good, do bad things or let the criminals get away with their dastardly deeds. But superheroes would not, they could not, so they don’t, instead choosing to channel their sadness or frustrations into kindness and courage. Even superheroes have bad days, and that’s okay, because it’s the way they chose to handle them that counts.

This book was so awesome! First, the theme is perfect: bad days happen to everybody, no matter how big or powerful or strong. And the book stresses that it’s okay to cry or feel sad or mad, but it’s how a person chooses to channel those feelings afterwards that can make a difference for them and for others. There’s also a great message in there about how our attitudes and actions can affect other people. But the story still makes room for young readers to have fun watching superheroes throw some hilariously over-the-top tantrums before learning how to positively deal with their emotions. The illustrations are wonderful: colorful, full of action and detail, and I loved that women/people of color were depicted as superheroes, too. The rhyming text has perfect rhythm and pacing, and it was a joy to read aloud. Length was great, and JJ loved it. This one would be a phenomenal addition to any library. Emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!

Rain! (Linda Ashman)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Rain!, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Christian Robinson, a story about what a positive attitude can do.

As the rain falls over the city, a grumpy old man grumbles about the wet weather while putting on his rain gear. Across town, an excited little boy greets the rain with glee, putting on his froggy rain hat and coat, and hopping through the puddles. Each person he passes sees his joy, and it brings a smile to their faces. Meanwhile, the old man’s angry mood has not improved, and darkens the mood of everyone around him as he lashes out on others. When the two opposites walk into the same cafe, what will happen? Will the man’s foul mood infect the boy as well? Or can a bit of positivity and kindness from the little boy turn the man’s day around?

This was absolutely adorable. The central theme was fantastic, showing that we choose to view things positively or negatively, and those choices not only effect our mood by can make an impact on the attitudes of those around us. I love that it encourages children to examine how what we put out into the world comes back to us, for better or worse. The illustrations are fabulous of course, utilizing Robinson’s signature cut-paper artwork to build a city full of life, people, and weather. The length is perfect for little ones, and JJ loved it. This is a perfect book for a rainy day. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Yes (Sarah Bee & Satoshi Kitamura)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is The Yes by Sarah Bee and Satoshi Kitamura, a Seussian parable about the power of positivity over doubt.

In a cave in the great wide Where, there lives a large, friendly, orange beast named the Yes. One day, the Yes goes out to explore the great big Where, and finds that it is filled with Nos, who travel in endless, aggressive packs and discourage the Yes at every turn: from climbing a tree or exploring a forest or swimming a river. Yet in the end, no matter how persistent they may be, while there are hundreds and thousands and millions of Nos, they still are not able to overpower just one single unshakable Yes.

This was a great book! As I mentioned, the text is full of really interesting wordplay that is extremely reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, and is a lot of fun to read aloud (even if I messed up the first page and accidentally read “Nos” as “nawss” – oops). It has a good length, and a wonderful lesson about belief, especially belief in yourself in the face of discouragement. The art is very creative, full of bright colors and unique environments that feel pleasantly otherworldly, and that work really well for the symbolic nature of the story. JJ really seemed to enjoy this one, but this is the sort of motivational story that can easily grow with a child, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!