A Menagerie of Picture Books

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Affiliate Links Bears, cats, penguins, and mice dominate this menagerie of picture books. All these newly published books feature an abundance of enchanting animal characters and lively stores. Enjoy!

 A Menagerie of Picture Books

The Princess and the Pony picture book review
The Princess and the Pony
by Kate Beaton
We loved this hilarious story of a warrior princess whose parents get her a kazillion cute sweaters — which warriors DON’T NEED.  When Princess Pinecone asks for a horse, she gets a cute pony instead. (But totally cute.) Pinecone and her pony watch for the right moment to join in a battle but Otto the Awful runs straight at them!!! Instead of attacking, he pets the cute pony. Soon all the warriors are petting the pony. To help the warriors show their cuddly sides, Pinecone gifts them all her cozy sweaters.

The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle review
The Nonsense Show
by Eric Carle
What a delightfully crazy book, just perfect for the absurd, bizarre, and ridiculous in all of us, especially children. In this silly nonsense show, you’ll see a bird in the water, tennis played with apples, and a lion taming acrobats but what else would you expect in a nonsense show? Love it!

Mother Bruce
Mother Bruce
by Ryan T. Higgins
Grumpy Bruce the bear does not like anything except cooking and eating eggs using fancy recipes from the internet. But when his latest eggs hatch, the chicks believe Bruce is their MAMA! He tries to take them back to the nest but those chicks just follow him home. He ROARS and the chicks don’t care. So he makes the best of it — and these pictures are hilarious. We enjoyed the development of Bruce’s character as he went from grumpy to loving.

Where's Walrus and Penguin review
Where’s Walrus? and Penguin?
by Stephen Savage
Pay close attention to this wordless picture book. Walrus and penguin escape from the zoo and wander the city. Can you find them? Together they have many fun adventures and walrus even finds love! Excellent.

Miss Hazeltine's Home
Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Cat lovers will appreciate Miss Hazeltine’s love for cats who are afraid of everything, I know I do! Miss Hazeltine opens her house to all shy cats and gently helps them learn about birds, climbing, noises, new friends, pouncing, and brooms. The illustrations are whimsical and charming; the story is wonderful — the cats face their fears to rescue their beloved Miss Hazeltine.

Ketzel Cat Composed picture book
Ketzel the Cat who Composed
by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Amy Junes Bates
Moshe finds and a small kitten he names Ketzel. Ketzel who helps Moshe compose a new piano song by dancing over the keys herself. Moshe writes down the music and titles it “Piece for Piano: Four Paws.” Amazingly enough, this lovely picture book is based on a true story. Ketzel’s song premieres at the Friedberg Concert Hall and Ketzel meows loudly when she hears it. A delightful picture book story for any cat lover!

the Bear's Surprise picture book
The Bear’s Surprise
by Benjamin Chaud
I’m a huge fan of this picture book series — it’s visually beautiful and engaging to kids and adults both. Little Bear wakes up from hibernation and curiously explores everything. He finds another cave, one full of many creatures and pipes. It leads out of a washing machine into a circus. He looks in the circus tent and finds all sorts of amazing acts., even Papa Bear and Mama Bear. There’s a lot to see on each richly illustrated page so be ready to look closely. 

Lazy Dave picture book for preschoolers
Lazy Dave
by Jarvis
Lily thinks her dog, Dave, is lazy and sleeps all day. She doesn’t know that while he sleeps, he sleepWALKS! And while he does, he has all sorts of amazing adventures — even catches a thief robbing a jewelry store. What a dog! And a book. Short, sweet, and fun.

I Am Cow funny picture book
I Am Cow Hear Me Moo!
by Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon
This is a funny adventure about Nadine, the cow, who pretends she isn’t afraid of anything. (Know any kids like that?) Just to prove it, she goes into the woods and realizes she isn’t all that scared at all. At least not until it gets dark. Ut-oh.

Elwood Bigfoot picture book
Elwood Bigfoot Wanted: Birdie Friends!
by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Nate Wragg
Elwood Bigfoot loves the birdies cheerful songs that help him feel not so lonely. He decides to build the birdies a home so they won’t be so afraid of him. And also to act and look like a bird. . . That goes as well as you could expect. Even when he builds Birdieland, the birds don’t come. Heartbroken and tired, Elwood just sits, feeling very sad. Which works perfectly for making bird friends. Finally! All this time they just were a bit scared of the loud, dancing Elwood. A great lesson in how to make friends!

Bear and Duck
Bear and Duck
by Katy Hudson
Bear and Duck is a lovely story about being true to yourself. Bear is sick of being a bear. He decides to be a duck instead. Duck gives him a few lessons on nest building, swimming, and flying. Things don’t go well. Bear learns that he makes a really good bear and he made a really good new friend.

There Was an Old Dragon
There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight
by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle
I found this reimagined rhyming song (or is it a poem?) totally delightful, particularly enjoying the colorful illustrations. Because as we all know, it’s not polite to swallow a knight. Excellent rhyming text (which is my pet peeve when done poorly) and lots of silliness make this a fantastic picture book find for young readers.

Archie Daredevil Penguin picture book review
Archie the Daredevil Penguin
by Andy Rash
Archie uses his daredevil tricks to hide that he is terrified of the water and all the creatures lurking in the water. In this fun story, after being eaten by one of those scary creatures and spit up, Archie learns that most of the sea creatures are quite friendly and that swimming is tons of fun. I’m loving the illustrations– especially the color choices. Plus, it’s a nice lesson in how our fears can be unfounded.

Eeny Meeny, Miney, Mo and FLO! picture book for preschool age kids
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo and Flo!
by Laurel Molk
Laugh along in this delightful rhyming story as Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Mo do all sorts of things like catching a hippo by the toe with Flo tagging along begging to be included. This is a great on-the-lap book to reread often.

Dewey Bob review
Dewey Bob
by Judy Schachner
Dewey Bob Crockett moves into a big oak tree which he decorates with trash from the dump buttons (he loves buttons.) The only thing missing? A friend. So Dewey Bob decides to collect new friends and piles all the animals he meets into his shopping cart. That doesn’t work at all. The only thing left is a mud ball. When the two get home, mud ball gets a bath and turns out to be a kitten, and a new friend. This is a darling story of friendship with gorgeous mixed-media artwork by the author of Skippyjon Jones.

Who's Hungry book recommendation for toddlers
Who’s Hungry Flip the Flaps Feed the Animals
by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt
Help feed the animals. On each two page spread, lift the flap to see what it is that animal wants to eat. This is a great book for toddlers who are just learning about animals and practicing their fine motor skills. The illustrations are bold and simple, as is the text. Very well done!

Five Nice Mice Build a House
Five Nice Mice Build a House
by Chisato Tashiro
I liked this story of mice working together to collect things and build a house with those things. And, when they help a cat get unstuck, not only do they have a new house, they have a new guard cat as well.

totally cute animal characters in picture books



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