Skulls! (Blair Thornburgh)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh and illustrated by Scott Campbell, a hilariously adorable ode to something we all share.

Skulls! We all have them, and we all need them. They do lots of cool things, like give our face its shape. They have holes for things like eating and smelling and hearing. They grow as we do, going from soft to hard and becoming a safe, snug protective shell for our brains. Some people think they’re scary, but they don’t mean to be. In fact, all they want to do is keep our heads safe. So protect it, appreciate it, and take a moment to say, “I love my skull!” After all, it’s the only one you get!

What a wonderfully strange little book. Written in a cheerful conversational style, the narration serves to de-mystify and de-stigmatize one of our most important bones. Typically used as symbols of danger or fear, Thornburgh explores the virtues of our cranium, assuring kids that while we may think they look scary, they have a very important job to do. There are some nice lessons to be learned, especially when the charming art and diverse characters are added in, such as the fact that no matter what we look like on the outside, we all have skulls. I do wish a little more focus had been on what we can do to protect our skulls (a throwaway line about wearing helmets is too easy to miss), and there was a missed opportunity to talk about the importance of the skull-and-crossbones symbol signifying real danger for little readers. But for the most part, this is a wonderfully weird yet fabulously educational body book, and JJ were both happy to proclaim that we loved our skulls by the end. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

If Dogs Run Free (Bob Dylan)

Hello, friends! Today, we read If Dogs Run Free, written by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Scott Campbell, a picture book inspired by the lyrics of Dylan’s 1970 song of the same name. 

Accompanied by darling and joyful illustrations, the lyrics unfold across the pages as the story follows two children and their dog, asking the question, “If dogs run free, then why not we?” The rhymes are simple and fun to read, and the book has a great flow to it (plus, if you’re a fan of the song, it can be sung all the way through). 

Our favorite part were the illustrations, which are playful, colorful, and really bring Dylan’s sometimes-abstract lyrics to life. The adventures of the children and their dog, and the many sights and friends that greet them along the way, are thoroughly detailed and filled with whimsy. 

Otherwise, the length is great for baby bookworms, and we had a lot of fun reading this one together. Baby Bookworm approved!