Tiny Little Rocket (Richard Collingridge)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Tiny Little Rocket by Richard Collingridge, a journey through the stars on a very special day.

Once a year, a special little rocket leaves earth and heads to the stars. The little pilot (that’s you!) guides the wee rocket, with its silver fins and golden door, past the sun, past meteors, past the asteroid belt of our solar system. There are a few moments of peril and excitement, but the little pilot fears not, deftly guiding the rocket through the black until it can complete its mission: unfurling a great banner that reads “Happy Birthday, Earth!”

Lovely, yet a bit underwhelming. Perhaps because of the grand, majestic fantasy style of Collingridge’s last two picture books (When It Snows and Lionheart, which are two of the most visually stunning picture books I’ve ever seen), I was expecting something similar as he headed for the cosmos. And while there are some spreads that capture his impeccable sense of scale and detail, much of them focus on the vast, black emptiness of space and the little rocket’s interior, lit by the buttons and control panels. The latter has it’s own visual interest – though obscuring the pilot’s face behind a highly-reflective helmet makes it difficult to connect with them – but the former, while scientifically fascinating, may not hold the interest of young bookworms. Similarly, the story is a little uneven, using a rhyme scheme that changes abruptly, making it a challenge to read aloud, and a plot that feels a little directionless. However, it should be noted that both lead to a final fold-out spread that is absolutely worth the price of admission. The length was fine, and JJ enjoyed the moments of onomatopoeia and the more colorful illustrations, so overall, we’re calling this one Baby Bookworm approved.

When It Snows (Richard Collingridge)

Merry Christmas, friends! We are celebrating with the last book in our holiday countdown, When It Snows by Richard Collingridge. This gorgeous fable tells the story of the journeys a young boy makes into a world of magic each snowfall.

Whenever the snow falls, the little boy and his faithful teddy bear begin their journey. They walk past the frozen cars and trains, following the footprints to the beautiful open fields, crisp and white with snow and filled with joyful children. They travel past the land of snowmen, on into the dark night and through the shadowy forest, led by a single floating light by which to see. They are greeted by the queen of the forest and hundreds of elves, who take them to see a very special friend, a familiar figure in a jolly red suit…

AMAZING. We were blown away by Collingridge’s Lionheart last year, so we couldn’t wait to read When It Snows, and it was even better than we had imagined. Spare, lyrical text invites the reader along on a magical winter adventure, brought to life through the jaw-droppingly enchanting illustrations, leading to a final page so unexpected and perfect that it made me gasp with delight as we read. The length is great, and JJ and I both adored it. This is a stunning book, both in art and story, and would be a wonderful addition to any child’s library. We highly recommend it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Lionheart (Richard Collingridge)

Hello, everyone! Today, we read Lionheart by Richard Collingridge, a gorgeously illustrated and wonderfully dreamlike story about finding courage, both from one’s friends and within oneself.

Richard is in his bedroom one night with his best friend, his stuffed Lionheart, when he first sees it. But it can’t be real – monsters aren’t truly real… are they? Frightened, Richard flees into the night, losing Lionheart along the way, and running so far that he comes upon a magical jungle. There, he finds Lionheart again, only his beloved stuffed friend is much, MUCH bigger. The monster is still on his tail – can Lionheart help Richard find the courage that lies within him?

We LOVED this book. First, the art is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and transports the reader to the places and emotions that dwell within us all: the cold and dark twisted forests of fear, the sun-warmed and windy mountainsides of triumph, and everything in between. No less fantastic is the story, a fable that weaves together the surreality of a child’s imagination with a down-to-earth story about our capacity for bravery and where it can truly be found. Paired together, the art and text make each page of the story feel epic. The length is great, and JJ adored it. This one is a knockout, we heartily recommend it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!