Do you love finding new picture books your kids will love? Here’s the best of what you’ll see on the new shelf at your library or bookstore. (Winter 2018)
What’s New in Picture Books, Winter 2018
A Bear Sat on My Porch Today by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Rilla Alexander
Jane Yolen has created a delightful book must-be-read-aloud — it’s so fantastic. Kids will enthusiastically follow this rhythmic, cumulative story about the many creatures that invite themselves (and won’t leave) the little girl’s porch. Exuberant yellows, blues, and oranges capture the craziness that is happening on the porch. This is sure to be a new story time favorite! LOVE!!!
How to Grow a Dinosaur by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Mike Boldt
One of the cutest new sibling picture books I’ve read— set up with good news and bad news, this playful style makes the new sibling seem fun and surprising. “Good news! Before you can believe it, baby will be sitting up, then crawling, then toddling all over the place. Go, baby, go! // Bad News! Babies don’t know what’s dangerous. Stop, baby, stop.” The colorful illustrations perfectly match the tone of this sweet story, too. ❤❤
Hello, Hello by Brendan Wenzel
Wenzel has created another perfect book for young readers. Hello, Hello walk takes readers on a colorful journey of animals using the interactive greeting of hello plus descriptive words that capture the different animals’ characteristics. “Hello Stripes // Hello Spots . . . Hello Quiet // Hello Loud” This book begs to be read aloud again and again. The back matter lists each animal in order of appearance.
Honey by David Ezra Stein
I’m in love with the wonderful words, smilies, and descriptions Stein uses throughout this new picture book. The language pops with sweetness, just like the honey there bear so anxiously awaits. The world around bear “spicy, aromatic, sparkling with sunlight“, reminds him of honey but it is too soon, he must wait.”Clouds cracked and grumbled in a heavy sky.” Until finally, he hears a buzz — and that means honey! This is an exquisitely written and illustrated masterpiece that leaves readers with the satisfaction of savoring life’s precious moments. Teachers, use this in writing workshop to study word choice.
I Say OOH, You Say AAAH by John Kane
INTERACTIVE / SILLY
Readers get to participate in telling this very silly story — and they’ll be cracking up the whole time. Meet the narrator’s best friend named OOH, who you’ll scare away. Then you’ll help him find his underpants… Or are they YOURS? What a crack up! I love it! Added to: The Best Interactive Picture Books for Kids.
Natsumi by Susan Lendroth, illustrated by Priscilla Burris
INDIVIDUALITY / JAPANESE CULTURE
In a story rich with Japanese culture and acceptance for individuality, you’ll love Natsumi, a little girl who likes to do everything with exuberance. Adults are always telling Natsumi to not be so loud, hard, or fast — like when she’s making tea with Father, picking flowers with Grandmother, or fan dancing with Mother. Except Grandfather. Grandfather doesn’t scold her. He sees Natsumi’s strengths so he takes her to taiko drumming classes … where she can be herself — loud, hard, and fast!
Boy by Phil Cummings, illustrated by Shane Devries
COMMUNICATION / PEACE
A king and his knights battled a dragon, ruining the forest. Nearby, a hearing impaired village child named Boy couldn’t hear the battle cries but he could sense his parents fear. One day, Boy raced to rescue a small lizard in the middle of a battle, interrupting the fighting. He drew a picture that helped the two sides decide to stop fighting. Everyone in the village was so relieved. They told Boy thank you “with dancing hands” (sign language). This is a story of physical disabilities, communication, and peace with warm, fairy-tale like illustrations.
A Chip Off the Old Block by Jody Jensen Shaffer, illustrated by Daniel Miyares
EVEN THE SMALLEST CAN DO BIG THINGS
Rocky has some famous relatives. Can he also do big things like his family members? With puns aplenty, Rocky starts an adventure that takes him across the United States on a harrowing experience where he’s chipped and broken yet remains determined to do something important. And he will –with Cousin Rushmore.
Captain Starfish by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Calpoys
SPD / ANXIETY / INTROVERSION
Alfie has that feeling again — the not nice feeling — and not nice dreams to go with it. Dreams where he’s carrying the weight of the ocean. All because of the costume party. Alfie tells his mom he can’t go. And, his mom understands!! (What a great parenting role model!) She takes Alfie to the aquarium where he gets a peek of a clown fish. His mom explains that “sometimes clown fish need to hide away.” And people, too, adds Alfie. I know this kid, maybe some of you do, too. I hope that I was always as understanding as his mom. Stunning shocks of color throughout — bright blues, bright peaches, and aquamarines — set the mood. I’m grateful for this book giving attention to children like this, like my oldest. Yay!
Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso
A little girl catches a vibrant orange fish. She takes it to her house where she creates a lake system with a hose, a swimming pool, glasses, vases, and pitchers. Then, the little girl returns the orange fish to the lake after a sweet good-bye. Graphic, blues and pink illustrations. (See more book recommendations and how to use wordless picture books to teach children valuable literacy skills.)
Cycle City by Alison Farrell
SEEK AND FIND
The parade committee still needs to deliver invitations to the Starlight Parade. Look with Mayor Snail through the busy city to find everyone on the invitation list. Cheerful, busy animals on wheels will give you plenty to look and see. And the invitations are delivered just in time for the fun evening’s festivities. There’s lots to love about this seek and find story plus the illustrations remind me of an old favorite –Babar!
Grace for Gus by Harry Bliss
In an almost wordless graphic picture book, you’ll be inspired by a girl named Grace who wants to help her class pet have a friend. Which requires money. So, Grace sneaks out (I didn’t love this) of her house and goes to New York’s subway where she earns money playing her violin, dancing , and drawing. Gorgeous illustrations and a touching message.
When Pigs Fly by James Burke
One day, an exuberant pig declares that he will fly. His sister observes with disbelief and horror as one attempt after another fail. The brother pig is so disappointed, he decides to give up. Until his sister comes up with an idea — something he hasn’t tried before that will help her brother fly — a pretend airplane! The pigs’ expressive illustrations are absolutely perfect as is the message of failing and trying again with a twist.
A Magical Adventure With Puzzles illustrations by Marianna Okljak
This is the story of two squabbling brothers who left home to seek their fortunes. The two brothers take different paths and so do you, the reader. Along each’s journey, you’ll be asked to use your visual discrimination and thinking skills to do things like find the magic ring that looks different from all the others or spot insects (ticks and flea) that are bothering a deer. I loved the idea of this book but I found myself too distracted from the storyline because each page had some interactive activity or puzzle. Kids probably will do better than me so I think it’s worth reading. And the illustrations are amazing — bright colors with a folk art flair.
I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi
Are you a big fan of Taro Gomi like me? I LOVE his artwork and simple text. In this chuckle-worthy story, a little girl wants to see her grandma who simultaneously wants to see the little girl. Both leave for the others house and miss each other completely. They go back and forth, with several misses before finding each other in the middle under a tree.
Anywhere Artist by Nikki Slade Robinson
OUT OF THE BOX THINKING / ART / NATURE
This little girl doesn’t need paper. She can use anything to make art! She uses fluffy lichen when she’s a forest artist, salty shells when she’s a beach artist, and oozy mud in silly shapes when she’s a rain artist. I adore this concept — kids need to see divergent thinking like this, that art can be anything around us if we can see the possibilities. Robinson’s word choice fills the pages with sensory images. I can see this being a mentor text in writing workshops. Oh, and finally, the cheerful mixed-media illustrations perfectly match the storyline in every way. LOVE.
The Digger and the Flower by Joseph Kuefler
KINDNESS / NATURE
Mostly black and white illustrations make the focus of the story really pop — the yellow digger who carefully cares for a blue flower. Then Digger is devastated when another truck plows over the beautiful flower. Fortunately, he finds seeds left behind. He plants those and waits . . . I love the contrast of the big truck and delicate plant as well as the message of spending time taking care of nature.
The Tiptoeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers
Little Tiger is determined to scare someone. Anyone. He valiantly tries to sneak (he’s not too quiet) and scare (he’s not too big) other animals. No one is scared. Not until Little Tiger sees his own reflection. And he’s VERY scared. Of himself. It’s a delightful, satisfying ending.
Wild Zoo Train by Carmela Lavigna Coyle, illustrated by Steve Gray
ANIMALS / NATURE
Choo-Choo-CHoo goes the Wild Zoo Train as it picks up it’s passengers for an adventurous ride through different biomes — the canyon, the Amazon jungle, the African savanna, Antarctica, and the Moon! The kids watch for the animals and plants specific for each biome but it’s so playful and fun, little readers won’t know they’re learning a ton. I absolutely adore the author’s use of onomatopoeia throughout — it makes for an exciting read aloud. (This wasn’t 2018 but I forgot to review it in 2017.)
I Love Cats by Sue Stainton, illustrated by Bob Staake
The illustrations ROCK — they perfectly capture the whimsical, multidimensional nature of all the cats. “Snuggly cats, bubbly cats, juggling cats, tumbling cats, weirdy cats, beardy cats,” and lots more. A must-read for cat lovers. (Added to Favorite Cat Books for Kids.)
I’m a Duck by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
After a bumpy start when his egg fell into the pond, this duck now fears the water. His brothers and friends tell him not to worry, that ducks float. Little duck takes Owl’s advice to use common sense and starts small — with a puddle. He does and then is able to overcome his fear to try the big pond. While it’s not my favorite of Eve Bunting’s, it’s still a solid read.
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