New and Notable Picture Books
By Laura Ransom, Children’s Services Coordinator
There’s nothing like cuddling up as a family around a great picture book. Picture books aren’t just for preschoolers, though; because of their rich vocabulary and vivid illustrations, even children in upper elementary school (and children’s librarians), can enjoy them. Here is a list of picture books that are sure to delight you.
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell is an almost wordless book that tells the story of a lost wolf pup and a lost human girl. A snowy night causes the characters to get separated from their respective families, but together they make their way back home safe and sound. This satisfying book was just awarded the 2018 Caldecott Medal, which is given to the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Willems is a sequel to his 2005 book, Leonardo the Terrible Monster. Sam is afraid of almost everything, including spiders, dogs, and raindrops. He encounters two other things to be scared of: a girl named Kerry and her monster, Frankenthaler. However, Frankenthaler just happens to be friends with Sam’s monster, Leonardo. The kids have to decide if they’ll keep being scared of each other or make a brave choice to become friends.
Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi is filled with hilarious, detailed illustrations. Lola the armadillo has a small accident at home, and she is so scared of the consequences that she runs away to the library. Along the way, all of the animals she encounters are dealing with their own disasters, and no one knows what to do. Lola and her friends ultimately learn how to start over with an apology and the reassurance that even the most disastrous accidents can be resolved.
Vincent Can’t Sleep by Barb Rosenstock tells the story of Vincent Van Gogh’s colorful life. With short sentences and luminous illustrations by Mary GrandPré, readers get a glimpse into Van Gogh’s beautiful imagination. Rosenstock included this quote by Van Gogh, “It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day.” The book is a great introduction to his artwork and interesting life story.
La La La by Kate DiCamillo is another nearly wordless story that begins with a lonely little girl. She loves to sing and hopes that someone will join her song, but no one responds and she’s left dejected. When night comes, the moon lights up the sky, and the little girl longs to be closer to its light. In a magical scene, the moon comes down to earth and joins in the girl’s serenade. It amazes me how much an author and illustrator can communicate with just a few words and expressive faces.
The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson has the same playful feel as her beloved book, The Gruffalo. Animals are too afraid to go near the rabbit’s burrow because a voice inside bellows, “I’m the Giant Jumperee and I’m scary as can be!” Rabbit and his friends try to overcome their fear of the Giant Jumperee, but only Mama Frog is able to address the thundering voice and command it to come out. Spoiler alert: it’s Baby Frog.
A Perfect Day by Lane Smith describes the perfect day according to a cat, a dog, a chickadee, and a squirrel. A surprise visit from a bear turns their perfect day upside down. Now the bear is enjoying his perfect day with the squirrel and chickadee’s corn, the dog’s water dish, and the cat’s daffodils. The book provides an opportunity to look at “the perfect day” from a different point of view and maybe a challenge to make the most of a disappointing situation.
What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward invites the reader into a garden guessing game. Seeds are planted and the question is posed, “What will grow?” Lift the flaps to discover sunflowers, carrots, and pine trees, plus intricately illustrated chipmunks, goldfinches, and rabbits. The book also includes facts about the plants from the story and growing directions for your own garden.
Our library is filled with literally thousands of wonderful picture books for you to discover. Stop by and check out some memorable books today.