8 New Picture Books, December 2023

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The new releases in picture books seemed much less this month, making this possibly my shortest picture book review list ever in my 16 year history! Here are the new titles I thought you would want to know about. I hope it saves you time and gives you lots of good read aloud book ideas.

Happy reading!

The Twist-a-Roo written by Kathleen Doherty, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
In a charming STEAM story filled with wordplay and GORGEOUS illustrations, Badger discovers a twist-a-roo, aka. a kaleidoscope. Even though Badger’s forest friends urge Badger to store food for the winter, Badger keeps playing. What will happen when Badger’s food storage runs out, and it’s snowy outside? A group of friends share their food with Badger, and Badger chases away their winter blues with the zippy-zappy fancy light show. You’ll be reading this delightful story again and again!

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Hornbeam All In written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard
This picture book reminds me of George and Martha with its three friendship stories in one book with a charming moose named Hornbeam with his friends. Humor and sweetness abound in these stories of a picnic, a snoring sleepover, and swimming lessons.

Prak Fills the House written by Donna L. Washington, illustrated by Lauren Emmons
Practical “Prak” pig’s father gives the three pigs the task of filling up the house. Whichever one is successful gets the house as a reward. The first two pigs try their best with feathers and hay, but in a little lesson about volume, their efforts don’t work out how they expect. Prak thinks of something completely different — and it’s a sweet surprise!

The Princess and the Greedy Pea by Leigh Hodgkinson
With the rhyming of the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, follow along as a hungry green pea gobbles up all the food…that was meant for the princess. Poor princess! She’s very grumpy and hungry. What will she do when she can’t sleep due to the huge green pea under her mattress? A hilarious, perfect ending. Can you guess what she’ll eat?

Madeline Finn and the Blessing of the Animals by Lisa Papp
Madeline is excited to take her dog Star and her neighbor’s dog to the Blessing…but once she’s there, she worries about the shelter animals, so she asks the Reverand Mary Alice, who gives Madeline a special blessing to know how special she is so she can share the blessings with the world. When Madeline goes to the shelter, she writes special blessings on her handmade leaves which she fixes to the animals’ cages.

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Ivy and Grandma: A Story About Grief written by Susan Griner, illustrated by Román Díaz 
Ivy’s grandma used to take her to Sea Glass Beach to search for beautiful sea glass and share it with others. When Ivy’s grandma dies. Ivy wants to do something special to celebrate her grandma, so she collects more sea glass and shares it with people at the beach and her grandma’s life ceremony. The back matter shares more about grief and five discussion questions. I love how this story captures so much in so few words — that we can remember someone who moves or dies with activities that can help us work through our grief.

If I Were a Fish written by Corook and Olivia Barton, illustrated by Mike Curato
Based on the viral song (with the word “damn” in it)– this is a cute LGBTQ+ friendly picture book that only works if you can sing the song along to it since it has the repeated chorus, which feels a bit choppy. The only version of the song without the language I’ve found is a group of elementary kids.

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Book! by Jason Hendrickson
With interactive silliness that kids love, this meta-story will have you trying to help the octopus get to the end of the book despite all the obstacles in the way…including a swarm of Bs.

New picture books, December 2023


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  1. Thanks, Melissa, for sharing The Twist-a-Roo. And thank you for your lovely review!
    Kathleen Doherty