Lana Lynn Howls At The Moon (Rebecca Van Slyke)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Lana Lynn Howls At The Moon, written by Rebecca Van Slyke and illustrated by Anca Sandu, a tale of lamby rebellion.

While the other sheep may be content to spend their days grazing in the fields or napping in the shade, Lana Lynn longs for more. Her best friend Shawn tries to encourage her to follow the norm, but Lana Lynn can’t help her thirst for adventure. Sneaking off one night, she discovers a strange, furry blanket the farmer has left out (actually a wolf-skin). Donning her “wolf’s clothing”, Lana runs though the deep dark woods, howling at the moon and living her dreams. She’s so convincing, in fact, that a wolfpack invites her to run with them, then back to their den for dinner. Lana is excited… until she realizes what – or rather WHO’S – on the menu.

This is a strange little book; entertaining, but occasionally and questionably dark. Finding that an innocent squirrel and bunny – as well as her BFF Shawn – are on the dinner table, Lana grabs her pal and skedaddles (leaving the other two animals to be devoured, presumably). There’s also the glossed-over fact that, you know, Lana is wearing the SKIN of a dead wolf during her escapade. That’s not to say that the story doesn’t have its charms: the lesson in moderation, the adorable characters, the clever twist on the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” fable, and a SOLID pun in the form of Lana Lynn’s name. However, it may also lead to some rather uncomfortable questions for the unprepared caregiver. Still, JJ really liked this one, and honestly, I did too; it’s a fun mix of dark humor with an intrepid female protagonist at a good storytime length. Definitely skim this one first to decide if it’s right for your little reader, but for us, 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.)

Baabwaa & Wooliam (David Elliott)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Baabwaa & Wooliam, written by David Elliott and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, a fun little tale of two adventurous sheep.

Baabwaa and Wooliam are very best friends who spend every day together. Wooliam is an avid reader, which is a strange hobby for a sheep, but Bwaabaa certainly doesn’t mind. Bwaabaa herself has a passion for knitting, a remarkably practical hobby for a sheep. After reading a story on pirates one day, Wooliam suggests that the two set out on an adventure, which Bwaabaa excitedly agrees too – so what if they are technically in a great square pasture surrounded by a rock wall? Not thwarted by the inability to, you know, actually go anywhere, the two are content to adventure by walking around and around their pen, working up a nice appetite in the process. When the two stop for a nibble of grass, they notice a third… sheep(?), this one with a pointy snout, sharp fangs, and a filthy pelt, and who bears an odd resemblance to a character from one of Wooliam’s books. Perhaps their adventure is just beginning after all…

Delightfully funny. Using a combination of sharp and ridiculous humor, the hilarious duo of Baabwaa and Wooliam lead the reader on an adventure filled with subtle yet increasingly entertaining turns. The absurdity is perfectly paired with the deadpan delivery of the text and wonderfully expressive character design, resulting in a tale that’s fun for readers young and old. The story has a suitably happy ending, and a perfect length for any storytime. JJ thought the sheep, especially their pun-tastic names, were hilarious, and I had a ton of fun reading this one aloud. A silly joy of a book, and Baby Bookworm approved!

Mathilda And The Orange Balloon (Randall de Sève)

Hello, everybody! Our book today is Mathilda And The Orange Balloon, written by Randall de Sève and illustrated by Jen Corace. It tells the tale of a little sheep with big dreams, who finds that the power of imagination puts the impossible within reach.

Mathilda the sheep lives a very simple life in a very simple place: from her pasture, she can see green grass and a green barn, gray rocks and gray skies, and lots and lots of gray sheep. These sights are all she knows until one day, when a bright orange balloon floats by. Mathilda loves it, and declares that she is an orange balloon too, much to the disdain of the other sheep. They point out that she is nothing like the orange balloon, but Mathilda only smiles and asks them to describe it. Well, it’s round; no problem, Mathilda puffs out her wool until she is round. It can fly, they say, so Mathilda leaps into the air until she feels like she is flying. It’s orange, protest the sheep. What is orange?, Mathilda counters. Fierce like a tiger, warm like the sun, happy like falling leaves? Mathilda is all these things, too. And so Mathilda and the rest of the sheep realize that if you can imagine yourself as one thing, you can imagine yourself as anything, and the possibilities of your world are endless.

This was a sweet little story with a clever twist on imagination, especially its practicality. Mathilda’s wonderings are joyful, not only to her but to the sheep around her as well, who join in her musings on the nature of the orange balloon. It’s a nice message about how creativity can transform not just one person, but a community as a whole. The anime-inspired illustrations are just adorable, bringing Mathilda’s fantasies to quirky yet beautiful light. The length is perfect, and JJ really enjoyed it. This one was a delight, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Poultrygeist (Mary Jane and Herm Auch)

Halloween Week, Day 4: Hello, friends! Today, we read Poultrygeist by Mary Jane and Herm Auch, a funny story about two troublesome roosters being taught a lesson in manners.

Ralph and Rudy are roosters on the same farm who fight – often, and LOUDLY. The other animals don’t mind so much during the day, but Clarissa the cow and Sophie the sheep are sick of being woken throughout the night with their noisy crowing. Just before Halloween, however, it seems that the rowdy roosters have awoken a spooky ghost with their racket – the Poultrygeist!

This was a fun little Halloween barnyard story with a lesson about being respectful of others added in. The illustrations are colorful and cute, and while the length might be stretching it for some baby bookworms, JJ enjoyed it. Baby Bookworm approved!