Notable Picture Books | March 2016

Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson- See Vanessa Eyre’s review HERE

Please Open this Book! By Adam Lehraupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (PreK-1st Grade)

Funny premise, will remind an older audience of the Sesame Street book with a similar title, but will please kids who like the dark streak of something like “This Is Not My Hat.”

Little Tree by Loren Long (Prek-Grade 1)

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko

/* Starred Review */ “When Kikko wakes up to snow, her father goes off to clear the walk around Grandma’s house but forgets the pie he was to take with him. Kikko hurries to catch up to him, falling and crushing the pie in the process, but she discovers she has been following not her dad but a bear in a suit and hat! She follows him to a house she’s not seen before, where a well-dressed lamb invites her to tea. Around the tea table are seated carefully attired animals, greeting Kikko with interested gazes. They sit her down, invite her to eat and drink, and replace the smashed pie with slices of their own forest-made pies before accompanying her to Grandma’s in a grand parade. The illustrations are lovely and mysterious: what looks like charcoal or pencil softly indicates forest and interiors as well as the visages of upright and clothed deer, bear, rabbit, goat, and others. Spare use of color sparks in Kikko’s bright gold hair, her red hat, and the multihued pie slices. Minimal line and shadow suggest the forest as a Japanese print might, while the tumbled richness of the tea table evokes rich Dutch still lifes. Kikko’s family reads as Asian, perhaps Japanese, and the animals are as serene and otherworldly as Totoro. As beguilingly surreal as the Mad Hatter’s party, with its own enigmatic appeal.” -Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2015


My Wild Family by Lauren Moreau (PreK-Grade 2)

/* Starred Review */ “The narrator of this oversize picture book has a very special family. She characterizes each member, from her older brother, who is strong and respected, to her little brother, who is “flighty and a dreamer,” as well as her parents, grandparents, aunt, and uncle. The cousins are “fast and flexible, always quick to monkey around,” and her best friend is capable of making scary faces but really is “actually quite funny.” Another friend can run as fast as the wind. Stylized illustrations use strong lines, bold colors, and semi-abstract patterns to depict each person as an animal with comparable traits. Even the narrator is portrayed with unique features, suggesting what animal she might be as she asks readers, “And you? What makes you special?” VERDICT- The large format supports the rich colors and robust design of this intriguing and discussable offering.” -School Library Journal, vol. 61, issue 10, p80

Cockatoo, Too by Bethanie Deeney Marguia (PreK-Grade 1)- Funny, quick read, that will make kids (and adults) giggle.

Peddles by Elizabeth Rose Stanton (PreK-Grade 1)

“What’s sweeter than a roly-poly pig rendered in pencil and watercolor? That same pig wearing wrinkly socks. Peddles the pig thinks outside the box: he wants pizza instead of scraps, dreams of toilets and bathtubs, and imagines flying and, ultimately, dancing! Stanton’s illustrations, showing Peddles from all angles and in all (even some undignified) situations, create great affection for this porcine. Double-page spreads depict Peddles in action alongside his piggy cohorts and are interspersed with images of Peddles alone and dreaming, emphasizing his uniqueness. And when he finally finds an achievable dream—dance!—the language mimics the idea: “He bumbled and lumbered and clattered.” When things don’t go as planned, our hero is sadly upended across the page, but with the help of his friends and some special boots, he is back on his feet and in good company. Pair with Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (2009) for another story about an independent thinker who changes group mentality.” -Booklist, vol. 112, number 8, p59

Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper (PreK-Grade 1)

“The husband-and-wife team of Wilson and Tapper introduces Horace and Hattie, hedgehogs who are “the very best of friends” but can’t figure out how to hug each other. It’s a familiar picture book conceit, though the collaborators do include at least one novel element—after having no success using snow (“too cold”), logs (“too bumpy”), strawberries (“too sticky”), and leaves (“too scratchy”) to buffer their quills, wearing spare socks like onesies does the trick. “So the next time… one of your socks goes missing, you know what it means,” write the authors, solving one of life’s great mysteries.” -Publishers Weekly, vol. 262, issue 41



SheHeWe by Lee Nordling and Meritxell Bosch (Grades K-3)

“Both literally and figuratively a three-story book, this follow-up to BirdCatDog (2014) and FishFishFish (2015) illustrates the fantasy adventures of a girl (she) and a boy (he), along with the real story of their picnic and playtime together (we). As this graphic novel is wordless, this book’s design helps with the telling. The top two horizontal panels, edged with wavy lines, delineate the imaginary, gendered stories, hers in deep pink, his in purple. The bottom panel, edged with straight lines, delivers the “real” story. Hence, the bottom panel illustrates a jolly day of play in the park with the girl’s stuffed bunny and the boy’s dog. In the girl’s adventure, she transforms into a rabbit and serves tea to entertain a strange, long-legged bird (clearly the transformed boy, still wearing his green cap). The purple middle panel, the boy’s story, exudes a sinister mood, but it should, since he tells readers in the front endpapers: “watch me defeat dark forces.” These are everywhere: in the sky, the landscape, and even in the picnic drink he thinks is poisoned. Readers will enjoy trying to make sense of this story while they appreciate just how differently boys and girls play. Fun, adventure, misadventure, dragons, flying fish, and lots of colors, ¦maybe there’s something for everyone in this thrice-told tale.” -Kirkus Reviews

Batman’s Dark Secret by Kelley Puckett and Jon J. Muth (Grades 1-2)

Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope by Daryn Richerter (Grades K-2)

Arctic White by Danna Smith (PreK-Grade 2)

“One winter in the Arctic, a girl accompanies her grandfather through the snowy landscape. The dim, gray light leaves their surroundings colorless and drab. Every day, she longs for color, until, one night, she and her grandfather join their neighbors in trudging across the tundra. Atop a snowy mountain, they sit and watch the glowing, pulsing, colorful northern lights. After the lights fade, he carries her home. Inside their igloo, she paints the colors she has seen, flares of hope that brighten the Arctic winter. With sentences such as, “When you live in the Arctic in winter, everything is a shade of white,” the second-person text draws children into a setting that is, for most, unfamiliar terrain. Created with digitally enhanced watercolors and ink, the illustrations are inviting. In the two double-page aurora borealis scenes, sudden swirls of colors contrast vividly with the whites, grays, and pale hues on the preceding pages. This picture book is a quiet, appealing read-aloud choice for winter story times and classroom units on the Arctic.” -Booklist, vol. 112, number 8, p58

Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village by Fang Suzhen and Sonja Danowski (Kindergarten-Grade 2)

Imelda and the Goblin King by Briony May Smith (Kindergarten-Grade 2)

“Blending a 1970s palette with an aesthetic that feels right at home with contemporary indie comics, Smith makes an assured debut as she brings a fresh look to an old- fashioned story of fairies, goblins, and comeuppances. Her heroine, Imelda, spends her days with the fairies who live in the nearby woods. With her bare feet, dirt-smudged face, peasant frock, and  kind spirit, Imelda  comes across like a cousin to Snow White, had she settled in with fairy folk and  been less concerned with tidying up all the  time. Casting a pall over everyone’s fun is the local Goblin King, as grouchy as he is greedy. After inviting the king  to the  fairies’ solstice celebration (“Dress code: smart casual”) leads him to kidnap the  Queen of the  Fairies, Imelda  uses bravery and  ingenuity to save the  day and  become the  Queen of the Goblins  in the  process—proof that “happily ever after” isn’t one-size-fits-all. Imelda’s mettle, the Goblin King’s transformation from toothy grump to helpless earthworm, and a closing reconciliation between Smith’s feathery-winged fairies and goblins make for an all-around satisfying read.” -Publishers Weekly, vol. 262, issue 33

































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