Thankful (Elaine Vickers)

Hello friends, and Happy Thanksgiving! Our book today is a special holiday treat: Thankful, written by Elaine Vickers and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill, a visually stunning tale of appreciation.

Every year, when the first snow falls, our unnamed child narrator has a special family tradition. They always make “thankful” paper chains to last through December, with each handwritten link expressing thanks for something the maker feels gratitude for. It can be hard to think of so many things, so the narrator explains that they like to start in their own room. They give thanks for a safe and warm home, loving parents, and the goodnight poem they repeat each bedtime. They are thankful for night and mornings, the moon and sun, and stars and candle to make wishes on. Soon our narrator is thinking of plenty of things to be thankful for, even as they grow too sleepy to continue the chain. Tucking into bed, the child expresses gratitude for what they are most thankful for: the wide, wonderful world outside.

A Thanksgiving feast for the eyes. While the text can read a little mature for a child’s voice, the sentiment of appreciating the little things in one’s life is always a welcome one. To that end, there are a few special moments that are particularly heartwarming, such as expressing thanks for a furry friend who comforts us when we’re scared, a teacher who shows patience and support, or the worlds of imagination that lie between the pages of books. But what truly elevates this title is the phenomenal artwork, comprised of illustrated characters placed within gorgeously-detailed miniature sets and then photographed. The play of focus, color, motion, and texture creates an incredible visual world filled with stunning detail, and each page is as striking as the last. The length is best for elementary-aged readers, and JJ loved the beautiful artwork. Well worth the read – a sweet and timeless message with a remarkable visual style. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Charlotte And The Rock (Stephen W. Martin)


Hello, friends! Today’s book is Charlotte And The Rock, written by Stephen W. Martin and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill, a sweet and unexpected story of a girl and her pet rock.

Charlotte longs for a pet of her own; any kind will do. A dog or a cat would be nice, or even a bird, she doesn’t care, as long as she can love and take care of it. Still, when her parents give her a pet ROCK for her sixth birthday, she can’t help but be a bit surprised. Still, the pet rock has its positives (it’s hypoallergenic, for instance), and Charlotte grows to love her new best friend, caring for and playing with her pet rock, Dennis, as she would any beloved pet. She only wishes that Dennis could love her back. And one night, when Dennis begins to shake and move, Charlotte might just get her wish in a most surprising way…

This one was simply delightful. The story was clever and sweet, and has several lovely messages for little readers, like being appreciative of what you are given, and being a caring and responsible pet owner and friend (even to a rock). The plot twist at the end is terrific as well. The illustrations are fantastic, using a minimal style reminiscent of older children’s books (the original Clifford The Big Red Dog comes to mind) to perfection. I especially liked that Charlotte was not an overly “beautified” little girl: round-cheeked, freckled and bespectacled, she has a unique look from many picture book protagonists that makes her a bit more relatable. The length was great, JJ loved it, and this one was just a joy to read. Baby Bookworm approved!

No More Bows (Samantha Cotterill)

Hello, everyone! Today’s book is No More Bows by Samantha Cotterill, a tale of friendship between a little girl and her pup.

Hugo the dog loves spending time with his human child, Milly. They have played the whole morning, and when Milly calls him to get ready for their walk, he is excited to go. That is, until he sees what Milly wants him to wear: a big frilly red bow! Hugo does not like the bow, and hates the way his dog friends laugh at him for wearing it. He attempts to dispose of the bows, but each time he does, Milly replaces it with a bow sparklier, spanglier and frouffier than the last! Finally, Hugo has had enough and runs away. He finds, however, that life without Milly is lonely, and realizes that the bows were Milly’s way of showing Hugo that she loves him. Hugo runs home to an elated Milly and proposes a compromise, one that his human is happy to make. After all, how could a few sparkly red bows come between a girl and her dog?

This was a cute and funny little story with a great message about friendship and compromise. I liked that once Hugo realizes that Milly is trying to show her love for him, he finds a good middle ground: a bow tie, rather than the bows he felt uncomfortable in. It shows little ones that real friendships will find compromise, and that you needn’t conform to someone else’s wishes against your own to find that happy medium. The illustrations are very cute, simple and charming and full of energy. The length was good, and JJ enjoyed it, so this one is Baby Bookworm approved!