You guys, my pile of picture books to share with you this month is HUGE. In fact, there are so many good books that I’m making A TABLE OF CONTENTS to organize this list of reviews.
(And hopefully a bit helpful.)
Enjoy these new picture books!
Table of Contents:
New Picture Books March 2020
Hello, World! by Ethan Long
COMMUNITIES / EARLY-LEARNING
Welcome to Happy County where the charming animal characters are living their lives — at the dog park, ball park, school, town, and country. The characters are busy, busy living their lives similar to Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town. Look at all the things happening on Farmer Dell’s farm! Then maybe you can help Mr. Grizzles and Ms. Green find the birds they’re searching for. There’s so much going on in this busy community which makes this book a treasure trove with labeled objects and lovable characters.
Happy Birthday, Maine by Lynn Plourde, illustrated by Mark Scott Ricketts
MAINE (U.S. GEOGRAPHY)
You don’t need to live in Maine to love this darling book. Paul Bunyon and Moose invite you and all their friends to a Maine birthday party. As they prepare, you’ll see the wonderful things that make Maine unique from the state bird to attire (plaid shirts) and foods (baked beans and clam chowdah). A playful celebration of the state that will make readers want to visit soon.
The Biggest Story by Sarah Coyle and Dan Taylor
TELLING A STORY
Don’t miss this fantastic, inspiring book about a boy trying to think up a story and the animals that help him. First, the ants suggest they be in his story. Then the cats speak up and the sheep do, too — they want to paraglide. Soon, there are tons of animals including dinosaurs. Errol is ready to tell his mom a story…And his story leads to more stories and his head is full of ideas to tell.
A Tiger Without Stripes by Jaimie Whitbread
BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE
This tiger with no stripes wonders if she has to earn her stripes. So the tiger travels the world searching for answers. Eventually, she realizes that having no stripes is actually a gift, a gift of adventure and new experiences. Talk about a shift in perspective!
The Old Truck by Jarret Pumphrey, illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey
FARMING / HARD WORK
What amazing illustrations. This is a full-circle story about a truck that works hard and sees the farmer’s daughter grow up and start a farm of her own.
One of These Is Not Like the Others by Barney Saltzberg
INCLUSION / ACCEPTANCE / FRIENDSHIP
This is one of my new favorite picture books! Even though one of these is not like the others, that’s just fine with these friends…because it’s how they rock and roll. Cute illustrations show friend groups with one different-looking friend. For example, three pigs and a wolf or three dogs and a cat or three snails and an alien. Saltzberg uses minimal text and illustrations to convey an important message of inclusion, friendships, and diversity.
The Same But Different Too by Karl Newson, illustrated by Kate Hindley
FRIENDSHIP / INCLUSION
A wonderful story for bedtime, classrooms, or anytime that celebrates our similarities and differences featuring playful kids and animals! “I am playful. You are too. I can’t hide as well as you.”
‘Ohana Means Family by Ilima Loomis, illustrated by Kenard Pak
FAMILY / HAWAIIAN CULTURE / CUMULATIVE
In the tradition of the cumulative poem, “This is the House that Jack Built“, this Hawaiian version shares a familial cultural tradition of Hawaii of making poi for the family’s lu’au. Pak’s atmospheric, stylized watercolor illustrations and Loomis’s lyrical text show the many hardworking hands, so wise and old, that pick the kalo to make the poi to share with ‘ohana, the loved ones. A particular focus of this poem is on the family’s connection to the earth with rain, sun, and mud. The family gathers at the end of the day together on a beach to eat and celebrate.
Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day by Carmen Agra Deedy & Pete Oswald
FRIENDSHIP / EMOTIONS
I love the repetition “down the hill and up the hill“. These best friends have a fight and get very mad at each other. Their strong emotions make it difficult to apologize but a new day helps them reset and start fresh. What a great story to prompt discussions about feelings, behaviors, and fix-up strategies.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische
KINDNESS / INTENTIONS
Set intentions for your actions tomorrow — to be kind and not give up; to be honest, and generous…Like her previous book, the typographic artwork is impressive and eye-catching!
After the Rain by Rebecca Koehn, illustrated by Simone Kruger
PRESCHOOL / COOPERATION / FRIENDSHIP
What can you do after the rain? Levi plays boats and splashes in puddles until he meets Polly who doesn’t want to share her river. A battle begins. But the water starts to leave so the two declare a truce and cooperate to build a dam and a lake to play in together. A delightful picture book with simple, playful text, perfect for the preschool set to learn about friendship.
Over the Moon by James Proimos, illustrated by Zoey Abbott
TRANSITIONS / FAMILIES
(Because my oldest daughter is leaving the nest for college in the fall, this sweet fable-like story made me shed a tear.) Two wolves find a baby floating in the river, they raise her, and she is happy. But one day, she sees other kids and tells her wolves that it’s time for her to leave. And she leaves to go to school. To me, this book is about letting go and giving your kids wings. Other reviewers see that it’s about nontraditional families. Either way, it strikes you, it’s a lovely story.
Lilah Tov Good Night by Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G), illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan
IMMIGRATION / NATURE / HEBREW
This gentle Hebrew lullaby that celebrates family, nature, and love shows a family of three traveling to a new home. Lilah Tov, says the little girl, to the creatures and landscapes she passes including roosters and hens, bears in their dens, bats in their caves and the beach and the waves. Extraordinary. This will become a new bedtime favorite. When they finally arrive at their new, safe home, the girl’s parents tuck her into bed. Lilah Tov, sweet girl.
Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murry and Zachariah O’Hora
BEDTIME / GARDENING / VEGGIES
Soothing rhymes and short alliterative phrases prepare kids to sleep while also introducing them to different vegetables and gardening. Enchanting! Eggplants, cucumbers, yams, beets, all the garden veggies are ready to sleep.
Dream Big, Little Scientists by Michelle Schaub, illustrated by Alice Potter
BEDTIME / STEM
Surprisingly enchanting. This celebration of the natural world is a lullaby for young scientists as they get ready to slumber. “While mossy carpets stretch out wide, tree limbs yawn up high.” Illustrations show kids preparing for bed with science posters on the walls and hands-on science materials in their bedrooms.
Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Shawn Harris
What a crazy night! The entire family is awake and doing all sorts of imaginative, random things. “Grandma’s at her needlework. Dad is baking bread. My brother’s making laundry lists of every book he’s read.” Rollicking, rhythmic verses plus neon-bright action-packed illustrations capture the exuberance and activity of this busy night.
Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale by Sam Wedelich
FAIRY TALE / VOICE / DIALOGUE / HUMOR / FAKE NEWS
Chicken Little is adorable and a critical thinker and heroic. so when something bonks her on the head, she thinks it’s ridiculous that the sky would be falling. Just to be sure she has a conversation with the sky. As she’s talking with the sky, another chicken panics and tells the barnyard that the sky is falling. To stop the panic of fake news, she works to calm down the masses explaining that she just got bonked on the head and was investigating.
Three Little Kittens by Barbar McClintock
HUMOR / NURSERY RHYME
You’re going to love this playful update on an old nursery rhyme with kittens who are silly, kind, and problem solvers. First, the kittens lose their mittens, and their dialogue with each other and their mom here and throughout the story is the best part of the story. They find their mittens to they do get to eat pie. But there’s more including hot pie, messy mittens, clean up, and feeding a mouse friend. A cheerful story not to be missed!
No More Naps! by Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Leo Espinosa
This little girl says NO to naps. But when she says no, the people in the park, even the pigeons and ducks, take her naps for her — and sleep deeply. Then, when she finally wants a nap, the naps are all gone! Until a gray cat gives her one of her spare naps. And what happens next? Finally, Annalise Devin McFleece takes a nap.
My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Francesca Sanna
NATURE / EARTH DAY / SEASONS
A personified Earth as a lovely, dark-skinned girl wakes up for spring. Captivating lush, layered illustrations and die cut out pages plus lyrical text intertwine to create a dazzling reading experience that celebrates the Earth’s seasons and her care for its creatures. “Under the white — the silent seed is cradled in the dark soil. Watching.”
Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan, illustrated by Saffa Khan
PRAYER FOR A CHILD
Transcendent illustrations of inky blues, reds, and oranges capture the mood of this parental prayer for a child…Each page starts with Inshallah which means “if God wills” in Arabic. Inshallah that the child shall feel safe, be kind, seek knowledge, and stand strong. “Inshallah you count all your blessings and graces.” Gentle and filled with loving wishes, this is a memorable, soothing book.
The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
NATURE / WORDS
Brook’s friend, Mimi, is a writer who asks Brook to help her keep the words from disappearing. The two wander into the world where the wild words are waiting, ready to see and notice everything around them. As they walk through nature, they notice silver minnows swimming, bushels of sweet, fresh, tangy mint, and a green-velvet head, bright-yellow beak Drake lifting off. Special words are featured in colorful, bigger sized type, so kids notice the many rich nature words in the story.
Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring by Kenard Pak
WINTER / SPRING / SEASONS
Evocative text and gorgeous illustrations show a boy and his dog first standing in the dark of a snowy winter day then walking in nature, noticing small signs of spring like the chirping of birds and the melting brook.
Under My Tree by Muriel Tallandier & Mizuho Fujisawa
TREES / NATURE / EARTH DAY
A girl finds a tree and grows to love its many qualities throughout the different seasons. Parents, besides the story, you’ll also enjoy reading the questions and interactive “Try This” prompts with your kids; prompts like “Run your fingers over the trunk of a tree. Does it feel rough and scratchy? Or is it soft and smooth? Bark is a kind of skin that protects the tree.” Age-appropriate and lovely.
Things That Go Away by Beatrice Alemagna
LIFE’S TRANSITIONS / PARENT’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
This wise book reminds children that in life, many things change and leave — things like tears, hair, soap bubbles, music, and bad weather…but to remember that there is one thing never goes away, a parent’s love for their child. Children will love the vellum page in between each two-page spread that, when turned, changes the illustration. Simple, thought-provoking, and lovely.
The Sky Is the Limit: A Celebration of All the Things You Can Do by Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar
GRADUATION GIFT BOOK
Move over Oh the Places You’ll Go, there’s a new book in town! Playful, hopeful messages of excitement for the future’s possibility fill the pages of this little book illustrated with colorful, childlike drawings. You are going to LOVE this book!
The Bear Must Go On by Dev Petty, illustrated by Brandon Todd
Wonderfully sweet, I laughed out loud in the middle of reading this story. The animal friends plan and plan for a big show — the curtain, tickets, and snacks. Hooray! But when the audience arrives, the friends realize they forgot something very important — an actual show. Then Bear, who doesn’t feel brave, musters up all his courage and sings a song he wrote. And it’s wonderful.
Almond by Allen Say
FINDING YOUR TALENT
A girl named Almond thinks she has no talent until she discovers that because she’s good at pretending, she is also good at acting in plays.
A Place for Mulan by Marie Chow, illustrated by Jasper Shaw
Oooh, you are going to love the captivating Chinese-style watercolor illustrations as well as this sweet story. Mulan is different than the other girls. As she’s struggling with not belonging or being like the others, her father helps her see that she’s beautiful and different and brave. And that helps her feel better.
The Nuff by Veronica Waldrop, illustrated by Cat Elliott
Give this picture book to girls to reinforce the truth that they are worthy of love; that they are enough. Not only is the message powerful and uplifting but the author’s story is a legacy of devotion for her daughters.
Mabel A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins
SELF ACCEPTANCE / IDENTITY
What’s weird about Mabel, she thinks, is that she doesn’t have a mustache like the other members of her family. Uncomfortable with who she is, she hides. While she’s hidden, she meets an octopus named Lucky who is also hiding because he only has seven legs. They hit it off and discover that just like the sea slugs, they’re amazing.
If… by Sarah Perry
Use this book as a prompt for writing or wondering or drawing! It’s filled with fantastical ideas shown in photorealistic artwork — cats with wings, hair made of mice, toes as teeth, dogs as mountains. What will you dream up after reading this book?
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