My Pet Feet (Josh Funk & Billy Yong)

Hello, friends! Our book today is My Pet Feet by Josh Funk and Billy Yong, a delightfully creative title that poses the question: what would happen if the letter R simply… disappeared?

Our unnamed child narrator wakes up one morning, ready to feed their pet, Doodles, when they’re greeted with a surprise: overnight, their pet ferret has become pet FEET! Upon further investigation, it seems that the letter R has disappeared completely from their town: their friend Lucas has become a fiend, local dogs are baking instead of barking, and when Doodles and the child try to take shelter from attacking cows, they can’t get in the town hall door because… well, you can guess. Exasperated with the situation, the child exclaims that she doesn’t want to have pet feet, inadvertently hurting Doodles’s feelings. The pet feet runs off, and the child gives chase; will they reconcile in time to solve the mystery of the missing R’s?

Creative and entertaining wordplay. Funk and Yong invite readers to consider the importance of each letter in the alphabet, while balancing humor and heart to tell a unique story with some wonderful twists and turns. Author Funk does a commendable job of building the premise while also refraining from the use of any words that use the letter R until the climax of the story, giving the story an amusing meta layer. Illustrator Yong populates the R-less world with some wonderful sight gags that prompt the audience to guess where the missing letter Rs might be (a personal favorite are the “ats”, @-shaped rodents with a taste for bagels). The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ absolutely loved the wordplay and silly premise. Overall, this is a great way to explore the importance of word construction and letters while also having a few laughs, and we absolutely 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.)

Stegothesaurus (Bridget Heos)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Stegothesaurus, written by Bridget Heos and illustrated by T.L. McBeth, a silly adventure for budding wordsmiths.

Once upon a time, there were two regular stegosauruses and their brother, a stegoTHEsaurus. And while the first two brothers were content with their simple words to describe their world (“big” mountain, “yummy” plants), their brother likes to use his wealth of synonyms instead: “Gargantuan, gigantic, Goliath!”, and “Savory, scrumptious, succulent!”. So when a terrifying Allosaurus sneaks up on their den one night, the first two brothers are quick to run – but Stegothesaurus is so caught up with finding the right words, he is frozen in his tracks! That is until the Allosaurus responds with a collection of words of her own – turns out, she’s an AlloTHEsaurus! Looks like this is the beginning of a lovely friendship… or is it?

This one was a delightful mix of weird, wacky, funny, and sweet. The set-up is the classic story of being the odd one out, a pretty common theme in kidlit, but with a fun vocabulary-driven spin. But from there, it takes some honestly surprising and entertaining turns; I don’t say this often about picture books, but there were some twists in here that I genuinely did not see coming! The art is simple yet enjoyable, using basic shapes and saturated colors to create the characters and their environments, and adding a few bold design elements during the exciting moments. The length was good, and JJ always loves a dinosaur. A marvelous and unexpected tale, and we liked it, enjoyed it, dug 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.)

The Chupacabra Ate The Candelabra (Marc Tyler Nobleman)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is The Chupacabra Ate The Candelabra, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ana Aranda, the tale of three goats facing off against a legendary monster.

Jayna, Bumsie and Pep are enjoying a twilight picnic one night when Jayna warns that they should head home soon – lest the fearsome Chupacabra happen upon them! You see, the mysterious monster lives nearby, and is rumored to have quite the taste for goat meat! The three goats decide to confront the monster, using a candelabra to light their way. But when they arrive at the Chupacabra’s lair, they find that he is hungry – for their candelabra! Promising to return with more candelabras to stave off the monster’s appetite, they head home. Except they have one problem: that was their only candelabra!

This one is a bit of mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s got fantastic Mexican folk art-style illustrations that are wonderfully colorful and fun, as well as great dialogue and clever wordplay (I dare anyone to say “The Chupacabra ate the candelabra AND the cucaracha!” without cracking a smile). However, there were two things that put me off a bit: first, the length is a bit much for baby bookworms (JJ was starting to get antsy), though that probably wouldn’t bother older kids. However, the conclusion, in which the goats submit themselves to feeding the Chupacabra to stave off his hunger with goat cheese is a bit weird. Oh, he promises that he doesn’t eat “friends,” but there’s definitely something vaguely sinister about it, and makes for an odd conclusion. Otherwise, JJ did love the art, and it was quite a bit of fun to read, so ultimately this one is Baby Bookworm approved!

Nanette’s Baguette (Mo Willems)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Nanette’s Baguette, the latest book by the incomparable Mo Willems, an adorable exercise in rhyme with a lot of humor and heart.

Nanette loves baguettes. Today, Nanette’s mother will finally let Nanette get the baguette from the baker, Juliette. Is Nanette set? You bet! But what happens when Nanette’s love for baguettes gets the best of her? Will she regret her actions? Will her mother fret? What can Nanette do?

Once again, Willems creates an adorable set of characters, and a fun yet meaningful story. The wordplay is so entertaining, and creative enough that it remains fresh throughout the book, which is especially great because this book is MEANT to be read aloud. The paper-art illustrations are charming and full of personality, and the plot goes beyond the humor to include a few genuinely touching moments. The length is fine for baby bookworms, and JJ absolutely adored it. Another Mo Willems gem for readers of all ages. Baby Bookworm approved!

A Greyhound, A Groundhog (Emily Jenkins)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Greyhound, A Groundhog, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Appelhans, an adorable exercise in wordplay that follows two mismatched friends.

A round hound? A sleeping greyhound! A round hog? A groundhog! Two very different creatures meet and become friends, going on a high-energy adventure filled with fun and astonishment. 

This is an adorable book! The wordplay keeps the text minimal and easy to read aloud, but has enough variation to keep each page interesting and filled with playful energy. The charming art then does most of the storytelling, and does so with soft, lovely illustrations that are exciting and tranquil in turns. The length is perfect for baby bookworms, and JJ had a lot of fun reading it, then going back to examine the illustrations. It’s a fun, frisky story, and little readers will love it. Baby Bookworm approved!