Lizzy and the Cloud (The Fan Brothers)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Lizzy and the Cloud by The Fan Brothers, a magical meditation on loving and letting go.

Every Saturday, Lizzy and her parents go for a walk in the park. And while most of the children there are drawn to the puppet shows and carousel, today, Lizzy heads straight for the cloud seller. While the vendor offers clouds in animal shapes and various sizes, Lizzy wants only a small, ordinary cloud to take home. After reading the instructions for its care, Lizzy dedicates herself to making her new cloud, Milo, feel at home. She waters him and walks him, and he nourishes her rare plant collection in turn. Until the day that Milo, being so well-cared for, has outgrown the Lizzy’s bedroom. What is a little girl to do when her cloud is ready to move out into a bigger sky?

Fabulous. We make no bones about the fact that we are fans of The Fan Brothers’ talent for telling original and unique fables that blend the extraordinary with the everyday, and this is another quietly fantastic tale to add to their catalog. The approachable yet heartfelt text beautifully explores a complicated theme: knowing when to let go of something you love. While this concept can often be a painful one, the Fans deftly explore the fulfillment in doing the right thing for something or someone you love by allowing them to move on, and in enjoying the memories of your time together, even when they are bittersweet. The Fan’s signature palette of grays is enhanced here with a muted color scheme that subtly conveys the emotions of each scene in which it appears. The length is great for an elementary storytime, and JJ loved the imagery of curly-haired Lizzy and her pet cloud. Overall, this is another stunner from the Fans, and we wholeheartedly recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

It Fell From the Sky (The Fan Brothers)

Hello, friends! Our book today is It Fell From the Sky by The Fan Brothers, a wondrous parable about community and the unknown.

On a Thursday, the object fell from the sky. None of the insects knew what it was – a chrysalis? A gumdrop? A flower? – but after some deliberation, most agreed: it was not of this earth. Sneakily staking his claim on “the Wonder”, The Spider builds a city around the artifact, charging visitors to observe it and overdeveloping their lovely garden. That is… until the Unexpected Disaster occurs…

A marvelous fable. The Fan Brothers have an immense talent for creating fairytales out of the everyday, and this is a great example of it. From the deadpan, matter-of-fact narration, the gorgeously detailed artwork (complete with oddly and amusingly formal garden creatures in top hats and bowlers), and unexpected twists, this is a fun and entertaining tale for kids. Add in a surprisingly subtle, nuanced commentary on capitalist greed and cultural looting, and it becomes something strikingly clever and moving. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ loved the unique personalities of the different critters, as well as the humorous twists and mesmerizing art. Overall, a well-spun fable that kids and adults will enjoy, and 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.)

Ocean Meets Sky (The Fan Brothers)


Hello, friends! Our book today is Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers, a stunning seafaring fantasy about family, loss, and love.

Finn lives by the sea, and the sea lives by him. He loves the ocean, a love he once shared with his grandpa; he would have been 90 today. In honor of his grandpa, he has built a ship from scraps and flotsam – he hopes to one day take it on a voyage of his own, to find the mythical place his grandfather once spoke of, a place where ocean meets sky. After nodding off in his boat, he awakes to find that he has been swept out to sea – the journey has begun! He meets a giant, beautiful golden fish who acts as his guide, and together they cross vast oceans and see many wondrous things. At last, they find it: the place where ocean meets sky, where ships and whales float through the air with zeppelins and balloons. The golden fish swims up into the moon, and Finn sees the kind face of his grandpa smiling down on him. As he hears his mother calling for him, he and his boat are swept back to their spot on the shore, where Finn follows his mother in for a dinner of dumplings – his grandpa’s favorite.

Breathtaking yet touching and intimate. Once again, the Fan Brothers have created a detailed world straight out of a child’s imagination, with sights, landscapes, and creatures that fascinate and amuse. Every page is beautiful and inviting, and inspires the reader to share Finn’s wanderlust. The story is soft and gentle, but filled with meaning, working in concert with the art to explore themes of remembrance, family, and even Chinese culture. The length is great, and JJ and I both adored it. A beautiful and meaningful voyage across the sea and sky, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Antlered Ship (Dashka Slater)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Antlered Ship, written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by The Fan Brothers, a beautiful tale of curiosity, friendship, and finding where you belong.

Marco the fox is filled with big questions, like “why do some songs make you happy and others make you sad?” and “how deep does the sun go when it sinks into he ocean at night?” His fellow foxes have little interest in his questions, content to their workaday lives. So when Marco sees the antlered ship dock in the harbor, and the captain offers work as a crewman, Marco accepts. Along with the captain (a deer named Sylvia), her two buck crewman, and Marco, a pigeon named Victor and his flock also accept the work, hoping to find adventure. But once the new crew disembarks, they find that sailing a ship is difficult work. Finding what they are each talented at, the crew eventually bands together and becomes a great team, each discovering what they initially sought – except for Marco. He still has more questions… but perhaps he has found the answer to one of them without even realizing.

Just lovely. This is one part a story of finding friendship, one part a story of finding oneself, one part adventure tale, and one part meditation on the unknown, all wrapped up in a bundle of gorgeously detailed and stunningly imaginative art. The text is clever, sometimes wry and often profound, weaving a story that sweeps the reader along through the highs and lows of the animals’ voyage. The art is beautiful, evoking a quiet sense of wonder and wanderlust with each page. The length is great, and JJ and I both loved it. A fantastic tale of exploring the unknown, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Darkest Dark (Chris Hadfield & Kate Fillion)

Hello, friends! Today, we read The Darkest Dark, written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion, and illustrated by The Fan Brothers, a story based on Hadfield’s childhood fear of the dark, and how overcoming it changed his life.

Little Chris is an astronaut. Each day, he explores the vast cosmos in his cardboard rocketship; each night he won’t get out of the bath because he is busy battling aliens. But even brave astronaut Chris is scared of something: the dark. He doesn’t like sleeping in his room; it’s far too dark, and that’s when the spookiest aliens come out of hiding. His parents try everything to help, but Chris is too scared. But one night, he and everyone on his small island gather around to watch a man land on the moon for the first time. Chris is astonished. He sees that space is the darkest dark of all, but it doesn’t scare him. Seeing those astronauts jumping on the moon, Chris decides to brave the dark, because he wants to explore every corner of it. He learns the dark doesn’t just hide the scary things, it hides the wondrous things, too. 

This book was a lot of things in one, which is great. First, it’s a book about overcoming fears, specifically of the dark and sleeping alone, something that almost every little one goes through at some point. I love that this fear is alleviated by encouraging one’s curiosity to explore the unknown of the dark rather than fear it. It’s also a wonderful slice of life during a seminal moment in American history, and a true story of what inspired a real-life astronaut, both of which are educational and encouraging for young minds. Lastly, the Fan Brothers supply their gorgeously enchanting art, bringing to life the weird, wonderful, and epic creatures a child’s imagination can conjure. This is a very cool book, and we highly recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!