Sun and Moon Together (Ethan Long)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Sun and Moon Together by Ethan Long, the second title in the creator’s Happy County series.

Welcome back to Happy County, a busy and bustling little township filled with friends, facts, and fun. Once again structured in a digest-style narrative – featuring 18 chapters that run one or two pages each – readers spend two days with with residents of Happy County as they go about their days. Along the way, readers can learn vocabulary words, spot designs at a hot air balloon festival, learn about solar power, join a ssssavvy ssssnake ssssalesman, and much more.

Colorful and fun, but slightly uneven. Long’s Richard Scarry-inspired Happy County is just as wonderfully illustrated as before, with lots of details, visual gags, and nods to fans of the series’s previous book. However, the topics covered in each spread don’t have the same seamless flow that Hello, World! managed: while vocabulary pages, a collection of night sounds, and a cute mother-daughter tale of evening shadows are winners, the abrupt introduction of higher scientific concepts like the phases of the moon and photosynthesis fall short. These spreads feel either unnecessarily lengthy for the light and breezy narrative (a description of the water cycle stops a read-aloud dead), or far too brief to get a solid understanding of the material (how exactly do tides work?). This makes for an uneven storytime, though the length overall was still fine, and JJ loved the artwork; additionally, both text and illustrations are built for repeat perusals. Overall, not as cohesive as its predecessor, but still a colorful and enjoyable book for little readers. Baby Bookworm approved.

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

Hello, World! (Ethan Long)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Hello, World! by Ethan Long, first in the new fun and educational Happy County series.

Good morning, and welcome to Happy County, a bustling little town populated by anthropomorphic animals. Everyone is just waking up, but the town is already alive with energy: the mail carrier is delivering packages, Mr. Grizzles and Ms. Green are bird-watching, and Farmer Del is chasing down L’il Beaky the chick. In a town like this, there are plenty of stories to tell and plenty of things to learn and see, so let’s get started!

Delightful. This Scarry-inspired feast for the eyes is a fantastic blend of humor, vocabulary, storytelling, and meticulous illustration. Reading almost like a digest, each two-page spread has something new to offer, be it the sprawling scenes of music festivals or construction sites with words to learn or details to discover, or the individual stories such as Dottie the dog walker’s adventure (which doubles as a counting exercise), or Hannah the handywoman’s lesson in alliteration. The stories – both big and small – flow seamlessly together, making the reading experience feel like a cohesive story even as it covers a wide variety of topics and characters. Long’s cartoon illustrations are fun and full of personality, and the story’s length is brief, yet lends itself to hours of rereading and close perusal of the art for young readers. JJ really enjoyed this one, and we highly recommend it for little bookworms building their vocabulary! We look forward to seeing more of this series; Baby Bookworm approved!

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