Gaston (Kelly DiPucchio)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Gaston, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson, the story of a little “poodle” and how he brings two families together.

Mrs. Poodle has four lovely poodle children, but Gaston is different: he’s bigger, and he must try harder than his sisters at being dainty, delicate and polite. Still, Gaston works hard to be a good poodle, and his family loves him. Then one day at the park, his family discovers another mother with four pups: three French Bulldogs and a miniature poodle! Mrs. Poodle and Mrs. Bulldog realize what must have happened, and agree to let the children decide what to do. So the adopted pups decide to switch back, but quickly realize that even though they are with dogs that look like them, they miss their families and their mothers (and their mothers miss them), so they choose to live with their adopted families, and both families decide spend every day together at the park.

This book was wonderful! First, the illustrations are absolutely charming, the length was great for Baby Bookworms, and the text is a lot of fun and very interactive for younger readers. But I loved the story, and its message about adoption and what makes a family, most of all. Not only did it impress that families need not always be related by blood, they also show that family comes in every shape and size. It was also great that the two dog families decided to maintain a close relationship after the pups switched back: it showed that it’s okay to have a relationship with both adoptive and birth families. These are wonderful messages when more and more kids are being raised in blended and non-traditional families, and we loved it! Baby Bookworm approved! 

Red: A Crayon’s Story (Michael Hall)

Hello everyone! Our book today is Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall, and no, I didn’t go overboard with a filter on the book cover! This is a story of a little crayon figuring out who he is.

Red is supposed to be a red crayon: it says so right on his label. But every time he tries to draw something red (a strawberry, a stoplight, etc), it comes out looking, well, wrong. No one can figure out the trouble, especially Red, until one day a crayon asks him to color a blue sea. Red tries, and finds that he’s wonderful at it! In fact, he can color lots of blue things! Red and his friends and family realize that he was never bad at being a red crayon, he simply never realized what a fabulous blue crayon he could be.

This was a really great book about being different: Red’s struggle and eventual triumph with figuring himself out is so universally identifiable: not conforming to one’s appearance, finding one’s own inner talents, and accepting and supporting the differences of others (Red’s friends and family never question his realization that he is blue, they are simply pleased that he is happy). Obviously, this story has LGBTQ undertones as well, and it’s great at expressing that it’s okay to not be what people are expecting you to be, and that even if someone doesn’t fit the mold, they haven’t changed – rather, they have discovered who they always were inside.

Length-wise, it was wonderful for JJ, and she found the simple, bright illustrations highly entertaining. So all in all, Baby Bookworm approved!

Power Down, Little Robot (Anna Staniszewski)

Happy International Literacy Day, everyone! Our pick today is Power Down, Little Robot, written by Anna Staniszewski and illustrated by Tim Zeltner. This is a fun spin on the typical bedtime book using robots as the main theme.

Mom Unit says that it’s time for Little Robot to power down, but his energy levels are still in the yellow, so he initiates his stalling program: “One more can of oil?” “Read me a manual?” Fortunately, Mom Unit knows how to get him into his sleep module so that he can initiate his dream sequence.

This was a really cute bedtime book! The text really runs with the robot theme, which makes it fun for kids and highly amusing to any parent or caregiver who has been through the bedtime “stalling program.” The length was fine for Baby Bookworm, and the pictures are charming. This would be great for any little one, but especially for the one who loves anything robot. Baby Bookworm approved!

Freckleface Strawberry (Julianne Moore)

Hello everyone! Our book today is Freckleface Strawberry, written by Julianne Moore and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, the story of a little girl learning to love her freckles.

Freckleface Strawberry is a girl who is just like everyone else, except for her red hair and freckles, the latter of which she is rather self-conscious, as people comment on them all the time. She tries to hide her freckles, to varying degrees of success, until she finds she can cover up all her freckles at once… by wearing a ski mask! However, this keeps her friends from recognizing her. Can she ever accept her freckles as part of who she is?

This was such a sweet book. I think Freckleface’s embarrassment of her appearance is something that most adult readers can identify with, and I love that this book teaches younger readers to be confident in their bodies (even in its unique qualities), and know that it is much more important to accept yourself for who you are, and to surround yourself with people who do the same. Furthermore, the book is funny, and the text is enjoyable to read. It’s a fine length for baby bookworms, and the illustrations by Pham (who also drew one of our favorites, Grace For President), are adorable. Overall, a great book for littles that teaches them to embrace the skin they’re in. Baby Bookworm approved!