Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s The Favorite (Stacy McAnulty)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s The Favorite, written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Edward Hemingway, a delightfully silly yet sweet tale of a little girl’s loving – yet feuding – pets.

Mr. Fuzzbuster and his human girl Lily have been the best of friends forever, ever since he was a kitten and she was in diapers. They do everything together: crafts, meals, playtime, naps, etc. And while Lily may have other pets – a dog, a lizard, a fish, and a parrot to be exact – Mr. Fuzzbuster knows he’s Lily’s favorite. He even has proof: an old crayon drawing of him with the word “favorit” scrawled on it that Lily made for him. However, the other pets have the audacity to insist that no, THEY are Lily’s favorite! Mr. Fuzzbuster decides to settle this the best way he can – he writes a note to Lily on the back of his crayon drawing, asking her who her favorite is. Mr. Fuzzbuster isn’t worried; he knows where he ranks… or does he?

This one was pure fun from start to finish. The text is lighthearted with touches of wry comedy, and does an especially humorous job of capturing the personalities of each animal; the dramatic imperiousness of Mr. Fuzzbuster is exactly what I would imagine a cat like him would sound like if it could talk. The story is clever and has a nice message about love and friendship not being a competition, which can be important for little ones just beginning to form sibling and playmate relationships. The art does a wonderful job of expressing the text, even adjusting color and tone to fit what is happening in the story. The length was great, and JJ had a blast with this one. A fantastic read – particularly for little animal lovers – and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking A Bath (Stacy McAnulty)

Hello, friends! Our book today is 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking A Bath, written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joy Ang, a fun book about a reluctant boy trying to negotiate his way out of bathtime.

Is it bathtime? No way! The little boy addressing the reader will NOT be taking a bath today, and he has plenty of reasons why; 101, in fact. He’s not even dirty, for one. Monsters live in the tub drain, for another (okay, he didn’t see them, but he HEARD them). None of his friends are taking baths, and he is allergic to soap. And on it goes, with the little boy exploring every avenue of negotiation to talk his way out of bathtime. But when he finally does get into his bubble bath, he realizes it may not be so bad… until it’s time to get out.

This was a fun book that anyone with bath-averse little ones will get a kick out of. The little boy’s reasons are increasingly silly and inane, and while the straightforward list-like nature of the text may not be as exciting for younger baby bookworms, it’s the type of comedy that slightly older kids eat right up. The illustrations fit the tone of the humor well, with exaggerated expressions and gestures that give us a sense of the theatricality of the little boy’s arguments. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it fine. A funny, silly book about the universal struggle that is bathtime, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Beautiful (Stacy McAnulty)

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

Hello, friends! Our book today is Beautiful, written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, a fabulous celebration of everything, inside and out, that makes girls beautiful.

What makes a girl beautiful? Is it a girl’s style, her hair, her smile? Yes! Every type of hair, every smile, and every style, as long as it’s hers. It’s also in her mind and her heart; her sense of adventure and determination; her kindness and friendship; her laughter, her intelligence, her courage. For every girl is unique and talented, every girl is a riot of color and personality, and every girl is beautiful.

Is there a better, more necessary message for little girls these days? And this book imparted it beautifully: girls of every shape, size, color and ability are represented as being both physically and mentally beautiful. Girls are shown reading, playing sports, studying science, getting dirty, supporting their friends, and enjoying being ALL the things that little girls are made of. The art is exuberant, colorful and filled with energy and joy. The text is easy to read, and satirizes traditional stereotypes to make its point (“beautiful girls smell like flowers,” it reads, showing three happily mud-crusted girls gardening together). The length is just perfect, and JJ loved it, and I’m honestly excited we get to keep our copy. A fantastic celebration of girlhood in every sense, and we absolutely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Excellent Ed (Stacy McAnulty)

Summer Reading Day 66: Hey, everyone! Our book today was Excellent Ed, written by Stacy McAnulty and with illustrations by Julia Sarcone-Roach. This sweet story is about a little dog named Ed, the youngest “child” of the Ellis family. Ed wants to excel at something, like his siblings do, so he will be allowed to do things like sit on the couch and eat at the dinner table, but he is unsure what makes him “excellent.”

This is such a great story on so many levels. First, the main theme is about finding what makes each individual uniquely excellent: Ed finds that while his siblings are better at many of the things he tries, no one is better than him at warming feet or greeting them at the door. In this way too, it’s also a love letter to pet dogs, and their special place in a family. Furthermore, it has a great repetitive use of the letter E (every character has a first and last name beginning with the letter, as well and frequent use of “e” words), and centers around a POC family in a story that is not focused on diversity or cultural issues (as many children’s POC characters are relegated to doing).

All in all, this was a great book. Adorable illustrations, great length and theme, sweet story, and JJ loved hearing about Ed’s adventures. Baby Bookworm approved!