Nerp! (Sarah Lynne Reul)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Nerp! by Sarah Lynne Reul, a silly twist on the classic dinnertime struggle of picky eater vs. parent.

After helping to feed his pet something the pet clearly deems less than appetizing, a young alien (monster?) sits down to his own meal. Yet no matter what delicious dishes his parents present him with – from “frizzle frazzle hotchy potch” to “verpy gurpalew” – the little one simply turns up his nose and declares, “NERP!” What can his parents do to entice him to eat? Is there any dish this particularly fickle eater will try?

Absurd fun. The alien/monster language used exclusively in the text is a mixture of words easily translated from context (nerp = nope, yerp = yup, etc), and a creative list of ridiculous-sounding meals that are loads of fun to read aloud. The meals themselves are hilariously illustrated to look as unappetizing as the little one seems to find them: one has living tentacles wiggling out of the dish. The alien/monsters themselves are charming and cute, and both picky eaters and exasperated parents will see themselves in the characters’ expressions. The resolution is a little gross – and younger bookworms may need reminding that it’s not actually an acceptable option – but not so much that it turned us off. The length was great, and JJ loved it. A delightfully silly title, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Allie All Along (Sarah Lynne Reul)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Allie All Along by Sarah Lynne Reul, a tale of a big brother helping his little sister with her emotions.

When Allie’s crayon broke during coloring time, she became – quite suddenly – and furry red ball of rage. After screaming, shouting, and letting it out-ing, the Allie-monster sheds her layer of red fur, revealing a smaller orange monster inside. From there, big brother attempts to help, giving Allie ways to deal with her anger – hugging her favorite toy as hard as she can, taking a deep breath and blowing out pretend candle, etc. Each activity helps Allie feel a little better, and shed another layer of fur: orange to green, green to blue. At last, Allie and her brother have worked to calm her feelings, and the real Allie – a regular little girl – emerges from the last monster layer, requesting a hug.

A very interesting take on runaway emotions. I loved the practical ways of helping oneself or others calm down, which are always great for both kids and parents to have in their back pockets. And the metaphor for different levels of anger is both clever and cute – the rage monsters never really appear scary, but more a manifestation of those all-too-familiar tantrums (it should be noted when discussing with kids, monstrous tantrums like that may be appropriate for little ones, but are not acceptable for adults). The illustrations are colorful and thoughtful, and JJ loved watching the monster change. It might have helped to have an earlier indication that there was a little girl underneath all that anger – JJ seemed confused by that – but otherwise we really enjoyed it. A nice book for little readers’ emotional toolkits, and Baby Bookworm approved!

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