This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad is about a little girl who loves to use her imagination. Sadie builds boats out of boxes, castles using cushions, and she loves stories because nothing is needed to make stories. With her imagination, Sadie tells stories of being raised by wolves, swimming as a mermaid, visiting Alice in Wonderland, and being the hero in a fairytale. This story is relatable for children who love stories as much as Sadie. The story begins with Sadie on a boat:
Sadie says, “I’m on an enormous boat… crossing a wide, wide sea”.
The story is also interactive which makes it even more fun for children to read. Sadie describes her wings and how she can fly, and then she asks the reader: “Maybe you have them too. Have you checked?” The story also avoids gender-stereotyping Sadie as a girl. Although she wears dresses and imagines she is a mermaid, she also imagines that she is living in a forest with wolves and builds things using wood, hammers, and nails.
I love this story because it encourages kids use their imagination. With all of the technology around today, it is nice to have a book that encourages kids to be creative and to get up and play. The drawings are also beautiful, colorful, and happy. Morstad uses gouache and ink to illustrate Sadie and her adventures. The largely white background focuses the reader on Sadie. The book jacket and inside cover are beautifully illustrated, and the inside cover even has a place for children to write their own name. This is a wonderful book that boys and girls alike will enjoy.
Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley and illustrated by John Rocco, while not yet a winner of any awards, definitely has the potential. Released this September, this unique bedtime storybook features a boy who has trouble getting his three robots to go to sleep (I bet that never happens at your home, right?). His frustrated reaction to their inability to listen can easily be used to help children relate to how their parents feel when they won’t go to bed.
Each page features rich, full color illustrations. The detail in each scene is exquisite, from a solar system clock to a couple of family portraits, and bring the book to life. Children and adults alike can immerse themselves in the fun family dynamic of a boy and his lovable, though mischievous, robots (and a friendly mouse!).
The onomatopoeias of all the different sounds that robots might make when they are not sleeping are hilarious, and are wonderful to read out loud with children (or without children – try to keep yourself from laughing either way).
A clever rhyme scheme that makes use of a variety of different robot-themed terms makes this an infinitely cuter read and the repetition makes it easy to follow along with the plot and to predict what will happen. Together, the rhyming and repetition make this the perfect bedtime poem.
I’ll admit that the fact that this book is about robots was a bit off-putting to me at first. I was afraid that this book would not be appealing to any group other than young-boys-who-love-robots. While some of the specific robot parts may need to be explained to children who aren’t that in to robots, I think that all children will still surely appreciate the creativity and they will likely find these ‘bots as cute as I do (did your child like PIXAR’s WALL-E and EVE? If so, they will be fans of the three little robots!). As for those kids for whom robots are “their thing,” good luck pulling them away from this book! This book is as gender inclusive and interest inclusive as a picture book about robots can get. It definitely helps that the illustrations are not too stereotypically “boyish.” In fact, illustrator John Rocco has also illustrated for Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, a mid-grade fantasy series that also appeals to children of all genders (trust me – when I was in 8th grade, this series was quite popular with me and the other girls my age as well as all of the 3rd and 4th grade boys).
p.s. This book has adorable end pages! Both are designed to look like soft, inviting wallpaper when the lights are on and when they are off. The author’s dedication is “cross-stitched” and hung from the “wall,” and below it the illustrator has “drawn” his dedication in crayon. There is no end to the many ways in which this book wins over my heart ❤
~Reviewed by Katie Goetz