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!

The Night Gardener (The Fan Brothers)

Summer Reading Day 85: Hello everyone, and hope you’re having a good start to your week! Our book today is The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers (a.k.a Eric and Terry Fan), an enchanting tale of a town where a young orphan boy lives, and the mysterious and phenomenal topiaries that appear there overnight.

William and the rest of his town wake up one morning to find that the tree outside the orphanage has been transformed into a beautiful owl. Each night thereafter, a new topiary animal appears, each more amazing than the last. Everyone wonders who is responsible for them, especially William, who stares transfixed at the owl outside his window day and night. At last, he finds his answer and even makes a new friend.

This was a beautiful book, in both story and art. The central theme of a lonely orphan finding something, and someone, magical and beautiful to believe in is one that touches the heart, and the intricate illustrations are stunning. The length is just right for a one-year old, and JJ positively loved listening the the text and staring at the drawings. We absolutely recommend this one for dreamers of all ages. Baby Bookworm approved!