13 New Picture Books, February 2024

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Get ready for funny, sweet, and meaningful new picture books published primarily in February 2024. Happy reading!

New Picture Books, February 2024

Pretty Ugly written by David Sedaris, illustrated by Ian Falconer
Get ready for some surprising surprises! When Anna Van Ogre is good, she stomps on flowers and talks with her mouthful. I mean, she is an ogre, right? But something terrible happens when Anna is acting bad–her face gets stuck in a smile! She’s horrified. Luckily, her family accepts her and says her real beauty is on the inside. That gives her an idea! She finds a way to turn herself inside out. Now she’s beautiful again. Hilarious.

Afikotective by Amalia Hoffman
This story is adorable because of the mixed media artwork and the charming bear character’s adventure. After the Passover seder dinner, the kids get to search for the bigger piece of matzah that Grandma hides. Our detective hero gets a special invention to help — a toy elephant called an Afiko-Sniffer. Together, they search the house, accidentally finding other seder dinner foods like apples, eggs, and horseradish. Determined not to give up, the main character quickly fixes the Afiko-Sniffer to work right and finds the afikomen at last!

Afikoman, Where’d You Go? A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure written by Rebecca Gardyn Levington, illustrated by Noa Kelner
It’s Passover seder. The kids in the family start searching for that silly, sneaky afikoman matzah. Where is he hiding? The search takes them around the house in different rooms, outside, up a tree, and finally, they find the escapist afikoman! Kids will love examining the detailed illustrations and will giggle at the perfectly silly ending.

I Lived Inside a Whale by Xin Li
The amazing artwork drew me in immediately, as did the relatable story. (Especially for those of us who are introverts.) This quiet child lives in a noisy family, and she craves quiet and peace. To find it, she makes a boat she sails into the belly of a blue whale. Which she loves! Until another child arrives, bringing lots of talkative noise! The two compromise, and they learn how to balance each other’s needs with storytelling and listening. How sweet is that?

The Door Never Opened Before created by Mrs. and Mr. Macleod
Shelia wants to find out what is behind the door that HAS NEVER BEEN OPENED BEFORE! So does Geraldine, who tries EVERYTHING to open it. But Gerald protects the door. The kid’s wild door-related shenanigans eventually put a CRACK in the door. Gasp! And something comes out! It actually slithers out. Is ANY PLACE safe? Maybe behind the door?!

When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth written by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Zehra Hicks
Hilarious and subversive– this is the story of a little plant-eating dinosaur called Smallasaurus and Badasaurus who wants to eat Smallasaurus for breakfast. What will Smallasaurus do? Encourage Badasaurus to run off a cliff, of course! But what if he comes back? It’s a good thing that Smallasaurus has a bigger brain than Badasaurus– she knows what to do next! A great read aloud for preschoolers.

Are You Big? by Mo Willems
This is a cute concept book for toddlers and preschoolers about BIG things…and how being big depends on your perspective. I’m happy to see this book aimed at younger readers, as that’s been missing in publishing in recent years, although I do expect a big more of Mo Willems than this.

I Am Not the Easter Bunny by T.L. McBeth
The bunny argues with the narrator that just because someone is a bunny, wears a bow tie and vest, and buys eggs and candy, it doesn’t mean that the bunny is the Easter Bunny. (Really?) Hilarious dialogue ensues, and we are convinced the bunny is the Easter Bunny. But, the narrator believes the bunny’s arguments and agrees to leave the bunny alone. Readers will love the silliness and that they’re in on the secret.

Like So written by Ruth Forman, illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
The grandma and girl share kisses, hugs, and love “like so.” They also notice love in the moon, the sun, the waves, and all of nature “like so.” Simple text, evocative illustrations, with a gentle message of loving relationships between humans and in nature.

An Accidental Hero: A Mostly True Wombat Story is written by Laura Roettiger, illustrated by Debbie Palen
In this adorable story of kindness and a real natural disaster situation on the continent of Australia, Kangaroo interviews a heroic wombat for a television news story. Wombat tells Kangaroo about the horrible fire that led her to invite other creatures to live in her burrow home. Friends like the echidna sisters, skinks, and wallabies. Back matter explains more about each of the animals in the story in addition to facts about forest fires and tips to help prevent forest fires. A lovely picture book story about how kindness!

The Gabi That Girma Wore written by Fasika Adefris and Sara Holly Ackerman, illustrated by Netsanet Tesfay
See how the tiny cottonseed journeys to become the Gabi that Girma wore. A Gabi is a traditional Ethiopian cloth. So, in this cumulative poem in the style of “This is the House That Jack Built,” the seed becomes the plant and flower that the farmer plucks that the woman cleans and spins into soft cloth. Eventually, Gabi sells the Gabi to Genet, who gives it to Girma as a gift, who wears it for a special occasion and then shares it with his family. Lovely!

This Baby. That Baby written by Cari Best, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Two babies in two different apartments go about their day — and this adorable story shows exactly what this baby and that baby do during the day. They play and read and look out the window. They nap or don’t nap, eat and drink. Finally, they walk to the park. Not only is this day-in-the-life cute, but it’s also sweet and fun.

Climbing the Volcano: A Journey in Haiku written by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann
Be impressed by the writing (I mean, a narrative story in haiku, whoa!), then keep reading for the story and the art! Written in first person, a child and their family wake up from their campsite and embark on a mountain hike, one step at a time. They pass gray lava domes, melting drifts, a lake, white snowfields, a marmot, other hikers, and more until they arrive at the summit! I love the story, the writing, and the artwork, and I love how it celebrates nature and perseverance.

new picture books, February 2024


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