We Wait For the Sun (Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe)

Hello, friends! Our book today is We Wait For the Sun, written by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, an uplifting true story of hope in the darkness.

Based on Roundtree’s childhood, our story opens on young Dovey and her grandmother, Rachel, venturing out into the darkness of early morning in the woods of North Carolina. For a moment, it is so quiet and still that Dovey imagines they are the only two beings on earth awake, but soon other neighborhood women join their march into the predawn hours. Grandma teaches Dovey to navigate in the darkness; not to fear it, but to look for the light that will guide her out. They follow the birds to their destination: blackberries, so many that Dovey will be eating them dawn to dusk. Her grandmother offers her a taste of the morning’s first berry, and she savors it as the ladies get to work. Soon, Grandma stops Dovey and directs her eyes to the horizon, where the pair share a glorious sunrise before returning home.

Magical. Evoking the mystery and wonder of predawn twilight, this simple story of a bonding ritual between grandmother and granddaughter becomes a fairy tale. Figueroa’s gorgeous use of inky indigos and violets during the night scenes, interspersed with the soft glow in shafts of moonlight and dancing fireflies, create an otherworldliness that is a feast for the eyes. Reading McCabe’s afterward and profile of Roundtree and Rachel Graham gives valuable context to the impact of the story’s events on Roundtree’s life, yet even without, it serves as a poignant tale of resilience and hope in the face of uncertainty. The length is just right for a storytime, and JJ adored the illustrations and soothing, affectionate tone. A beautiful real-life family fable, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Sophie And Little Star (Amber Hendricks)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sophie And Little Star, written by Amber Hendricks and illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, a gorgeous fairy tale of friendship.

Little Star lives up in the clouds, anxious for the day she will find her shine and be able to bring her own light to the sky. Once night, she is so restless that she tumbles out of her cloud bed and to the earth, taking the form of a little girl in a pale nightgown. Scared and alone, she is comforted by human Sophie, who promises that they will find a way for Little Star to go home. They ask various nature spirits for their assistance, and while some try, no one has the strength or reach to put Little Star back. At last, a kindly cloud agrees to bring her home, and Little Star suddenly glows brightly with happiness – only to immediately dim when she realizes that she must leave her new friend behind. But once again, Sophie assures her: she will look for the brightest star in the sky each night, and know that it is Little Star.

Magical. While the story itself lacks a overt central message, it beautifully explores themes of friendship, empathy, loyalty, and hope. Sophie’s kindness, especially in the face of supernatural forces and a rather daunting task to achieve, is a wonderful example for little ones in how to care for others in need, even if it’s just providing support. The real standout here is the artwork, which was absolutely ASTOUNDING. Figueroa’s sweeping fantasy scenes and creatures are breathtaking in their originality and creativity, and she has an impeccable eye for angles, composition, color, and tone. Readers will easily be swept away by illustrations of towering sentient oak trees, graceful breeze-entities, and sassy talking birds. The length was great, and JJ and I loved it. A strikingly gorgeous fairy tale of sisterhood, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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