Spring’s bounty of newly published books for kids is here with a round-up of picture books, board books, and non-fiction books your children will love. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten chapter books — stay tuned for those soon.
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created by James Dean
I imagine it’s hard to follow the perfection of the first Pete the Cat book. So, my kids and I read this book with a wary eye . . . and loved it! Again we have the colorful illustrations of James Dean, and the sing-songy tale created by Eric Litwin filled with great repetition and counting. Poor Pete keeps losing his buttons. Pop goes a button.
Did Pete cry?
Buttons come and buttons go.
He kept on signing his song:
“My buttons, my buttons,
my three groovy buttons.
My buttons, my buttons,
my three groovy buttons.
The ending is just about as fabulous as you can get in a picture book! We LOVE it.
* Bonus fun: Get the Pete the Cat iPad School Jams app!
Oliver by Judith Rossell
Oliver takes an adventure down the bathtub drain and discovers a boat filled with partying penguins with jet packs. You’ll love Oliver’s imagination and want to read this sweet story many times.
Secret Agent Splat! by Rob Scotton
Someone is stealing a duck from Spat’s collection each night and returning it the next day missing a beak. JJ adores Spat! so we were thrilled with another story – this mystery doesn’t disappoint. (And, there’s a Secret Agent Spat iPad app, too with fun games!)
An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton
If you’re going to buy a new book this year, buy this one. It’s basically an imagination manifesto for children and adults. It will inspire you to dream of jelly-bean powered cars and more . . .
There are places in the world
where people do not dream . . . /
of rocket-powered unicorns /
and candy-cane machines.
Clayton continues by telling of these places where people dream of buying a new hat, or owning matching silverware. (“Can you imagine that?”) Dream big, he writes. Dream for those who’ve given up. Dream!
Ladybug Girl and Bingo by David Soman and Jacky Davis
Ladybug Girl goes on her first camping adventure with her family and their dog, Bingo. When Bingo runs off, Ladybug Girl knows she can find him. Another sweet story in the series to which all kids can relate.
Sophie’s Fish by A.E. Cannon, illustrated by Lee White
This book cracks me up! Sophie asks Jake to babysit her fish, Yo-Yo, and Jake worries, er, panics.
What if Yo-Yo gets hungry and wants a snack?
What kind of snacks do fish like to eat?
What if Yo-Yo wants to play a game after eating his snack?
What kind of games do fish like to play?
Soon, Jake realizes that it can’t be too hard to take care of a fish. He stops worrying. That is . . . until he sees Yo-Yo . . . Now he IS worried.
What Little Boys are Made Of by Robert Neubecker
I thought I wouldn’t like book this but it’s really quite cute. Do you think your boys would like it, too?
What are little boys made of?
Sticks and stones
and skulls and bones.
Ships and sails and oceans and whales!
That’s what little boys are made of.
Tyler Makes Pancakes! by Tyler Florence & Craig Frazier
What goes into the pancake recipe and where does it come from? All the answers are in this charming picture book about making pancakes including how maple syrup coming from sap in the trees that gets boiled into delicious golden brown syrup, even how buttermilk from cows is what’s left over after butter is made.
Cindy Moo by Lori Mortensen illustrated by Jeff Mack
Cindy Moo is persistantly trying to achieve her goal of jumping over the moon. Fortunately she doesn’t listen to all the other animals telling her she can’t because she has a dream. Just as she’s about to give up, she finds the reflection of the moon in a puddle and makes her big jump. Success at last!
Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardham-Quallen illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Princess Bea isn’t a proper kind of princess; she wants to be a pirate. But, once aboard the pirate ship, it turns out she’s terrible at pirating (she throws up from the crow’s nest, makes inedible stew, can’t swab the deck . . .) Just as she’s about to be thrown over board, she smells something, she smells . . . GOLD! All is forgiven, she’s not thrown overboard and Princess Bea the Pirate’s new job is to lead the pirates to gold.
Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beaumont illustrated by Daniel Roode
Is your toddler learning the names of clothes? Dini Dinosaur gets into the bath but forgets to take off his shoes, his pants, his shirt, and his hat. It’s simple, silly, and good practice for naming clothing.
Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
This story captures a common story of feeling embarrassed about being different. When Vinson’s grandpa from China visits, Vinson is embarrassed. However, Vinson learns grandpa is a martial-arts master and starts to see grandpa him as someone to be proud of. The elements of Chinese culture like tai chi and clothing make us all learn proud Vinson can be of his culture.
PeepSqueak by Leslie Ann Clark
Peepsqueak doesn’t give up his dream of flying high to the sky even when all the other animals tell him he can’t.
But Peepsqueak did not listen.
He was on the move!
Lots of fun repetition with high, high, high and down, down, down. And, Peeksqueak eventually does fly high — on the back of Old Gray Goose!
Red & Yellow’s Noisy Night by Josh Selig
Red and Yellow live happily together in the Olive Tree. One night when Yellow wanted to sleep, Red wanted to be loud. It took some time to work out a solution but eventually Red played quieter and Yellow liked it. In fact, he fell asleep to it.
This book is part of Little Light Foundation, a non-profit charity whose goal is to help children learn about conflict resolution and mutual respect.
The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Olivier Tallec
This book will make you cry. We watch a young boy narrate his grief; his his mother has just died. Illustrated in red and white, the dramatic colors capture the pain of his words and his fear that he will forget his mother.
When Honey the Tiger Flew written in collaboration with The Somaly Mam Foundation Voices for Change Program illustrated by Prak Ke
Voices for Change is a network of human trafficking survivors that supports and empowers young women and children. This book is a collaborative effort about an endangered Indochinese tiger named Honey who wants to help his mom find food for them both. The last third of the book explains more about the tigers, Cambodia, the authors, Somaly Mam, and action we can take right now to help.
Woody Guthrie’s Riding In My Car illustrated by Scott Menchin
Lift the flap, pull the arrow, sing along, and ride with this family of dogs through the United States. New York, farm land, The White House, the desert, all the way to San Francisco’s Bay bridge. “This land is your land . . .” What this book lacks in plot is made up with a feeling of childhood nostalgia — singing this folk song at my alternative elementary school.
Noodle Loves to Eat by Marion Billet
Super cute panda bear, Noodle, loves to eat all sorts of foods (I like his good influence!) in this brightly colored touch-and-feel board book.
Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout
The perfect car ride board book that travels through the alphabet using road signs. Very unique!
A – Airport
B – Bike route
C – Children At Play
My Birdie illustrated by Jessie Ford
A bird-themed board book that features pop-out, sturdy puzzle pieces, counting, and colors great for the youngest of readers.
Pantone: Colors by Pantone, Helen Dardik
Is it just me or do you also think naming colors be the coolest job in the world? This sturdy color book shows the variety of shades in nine basic colors.
Swords by Ben Boos
Swords is a fantastic visual and factual history of swords. The illustrations and design entice readers into the information – even if they’re not that interested in swords. Kids will pour over this book for hours and learn the history of swords, and the types of sword use for people like medieval knights, samurais, and sultans. It’s gorgeously illustrated and very well-written.
Leopard & Silkie One Boy’s Quest to Save the Seal Pups by Brenda Peterson, photographs by Robin Lindsey
A group of volunteers called Seal Sitters, watch out for baby seals who are left on Seattle shore while their mothers hunt for food. This photographic story tells the story of baby seal, Leopard, who is crowded by onlookers and dogs. Young volunteer, Miles, calls his fellow Seal Sitters to help him move the people away from Leopard. Miles and his grandpa decide to build a floating dock for Leopard so he will be safe when his mother hunts. It’s a compelling story about the real dangers that marine mammals face every day.
Illusionology The Secret Science of Magic by Albert D. Schafer
Another lavishly illustrated Ology book, this time about illusions and magic. It’s a behind-the-scenes guide to magic feats, illusions and slight of hand. Addictive!
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