New and Noteworthy Picture Books
by Laura Ransom, Children’s Programming Coordinator
I am a huge fan of children’s picture books! This is not surprising since I am a children’s librarian, but I contend that picture books are not just for kids. “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes” by Eric Litwin and James Dean is one example. This popular blue cat has been sharing his groovy, optimistic attitude with readers since 2008. Pete even has his own animated show on Amazon Prime. The book features Pete walking along and singing about how much he loves his shoes. Throughout the story, however, Pete’s lovely white shoes start to get a little more colorful with each page. He steps in strawberries, blueberries, and more items on his journey, but he doesn’t let the messiness get him down. The best quote from the book is, “No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song. Because it’s all good.”
Though this book is not new, I chose to write about it this month to highlight a new activity called StoryWalk Downtown. Manhattan Public Library is partnering with Downtown Manhattan, Inc. to share this book in a different format: separated pages of the story are hanging up in business windows along Poyntz Avenue and nearby streets. After reading the story, children and families can receive a prize button, sticker, or bookmark from the library or Downtown Manhattan office. We will be featuring different picture books in October and November as well. Exercise your mind and feet at the same time!
Colorful illustrations can also be found in two new books by author and illustrator Grant Snider, “What Sound is Morning?” and “What Color is Night?” Garbage trucks rumble and breakfast sizzles in the morning, while the book’s pages gradually light up with splashes of orange and pink sunrise. Nighttime can be filled with color, as Snider demonstrates, with yellow car headlights lighting up a dark street. I was happy to discover that the author is a resident of Wichita, Kansas. It’s wonderful to have books in our library written by local authors.
“Prairie Days” by Patricia MacLachlan and Micha Archer transports us to the prairies of Wyoming, the author’s home state. She describes the slower paced life of her childhood in the 1940s. Her family plowed and harvested grain from their farmland, and she spent lazy summer days swimming in the pond and riding horses. Unique wildlife also pops up in the story, including prairie dogs, magpies, and other colorful birds.
“Goodnight, Veggies” by Diana Murray and Zachariah OHora captivated me with its colorful cover. Purple-red beets are snoozing underground next to a smiling worm and bright, green plants. A community garden is home to these sleepy beets, plus some cauliflower cuddling and potatoes closing their eyes. I had never contemplated what an eggplant might dream about, so thankfully the book lets me know that they dream of exploring outer space! The sparse, rhyming text is the perfect bedtime story.
The three little pigs join up with the wolf in “One of These Is Not Like the Others” by Barney Saltzberg. Children can recognize similarities and differences when they see the familiar pigs jamming with the wolf in a rock band. Other pages include three cows and one elephant, and they join together in a happy conga line. The dancing animals proclaim that being different is “just fine with us!” Embracing differences is a great concept for children of all ages to understand.
A top hat and a rabbit magician named Hattie are the stars of “Hat Tricks” by Satoshi Kitamura. Hattie magically pulls out several animals from her hat, including a squirrel, moose, octopus, and more. This story is definitely an exciting read-aloud choice, and who wouldn’t love the chance to shout along with magical Hattie, “Abracadabra, katakurico!”
For more excellent children’s book recommendations, please give us a call at Manhattan Public Library, 785-776-4741 ext. 400 or .