Friday, March 4, 2011

Brand New Picturebooks

You can tell spring is coming by the almost daily arrival of new books.  Though I love children's books in general, I must admit my favorite things are brand new picturebooks.  Over the past few days the picturebooks have come flooding in, and you're sure to find something interesting among the mix.

Blue Chameleon
by Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster

 Poor chameleon feels blue and goes looking for a friend. But though he can change his color to look like a snail or a sock or a rock, none of these are willing to be his friend. Who can he find who will appreciate him for being a chameleon? This simple book is wonderful for very young children. Simple words on each page indicate the pattern or color of the chameleon and the object he mimics. But being a copycat is not a good way to make friends and, as chameleon learns, the best way to find a friend is to be your colorful self. For children one year plus, this book would make a wonderful baby gift- hopefully we’ll see it in board book form in the future.

Dear Tabby
By Carolyn Crimi, Illustrated by David Roberts
Tabby is an alley cat, but with the help of a typewriter he’s also an advice columnist. Over the course of the book he hears from another cat, a parrot, a hamster, a skunk, a groundhog, an ex-circus bear, and a dog. Through letters and newspaper articles we trace the lives of these animals and how, over time, they eventually find happiness- including Tabby himself.

This wordy picturebook is perfect for those in early grade school to read to themselves. Readers will find themselves trying to figure out and patch together each animal’s story, something made especially fun by inserts of newspaper advertisements, posters, etc. Roberts’ illustrations are fun and balance the text well; I especially love his full-page spread of the runaway circus bear on her tricycle.

Red Wagon 
by Renata Liwska
Renata Liwska is the illustrator of the best-selling The Quiet Book.  In Red Wagon, a little fox named Lucy takes her brand-new red to market.  Even though this sounds a lot like chores, Lucy sets out.  Along the way, the red wagon becomes all sorts of things as Lucy and her friends pretend.  As it turns out, doing chores can feel a lot like playing after all!  Lucy's imaginings build as the story continues, until the red wagon is illustrated as the rocket ship or truck of Lucy's imaginings.  The cute critters of The Quiet Book are just as charming in Red Wagon; be prepared for them to become frequent storytime visitors!

On the Road & Busy Boats
by Susan Steggall
Frances Lincoln
These two books are perfect for the car, truck, or boat enthusiast in your life.  Sparse text illustrated by intricate cut and ripped paper collage allows children to find larger stories in the illustrations.  They'll love pointing out details in the background or identifying the names of the many vehicles whose names they know.  On the Road is a light paperback, easy to tuck into a backpack for a car journey, while Busy Boats would be a wonderful gift for children headed to the shore.

Manners Mash-Up: A Goofy Guide to Good Behavior
by Leuyen Pham, Lynn Munsinger, Joe Berger, Judy Schachner, Adam Rex, Peter H. Reynolds, Tao Nyeu, Bob Shea, Kevin Sherry, Henry Cole, Sophie Backall, Dan Santat, Frank Morrison, Tedd Arnold
Reading through the long list of author/illustrator contributors, I'm sure you've gotten an idea of the sorts of fun that await you inside.  Yes, I just said fun in regards to a book about manners; this is no ordinary guide to etiquette.  Each spread is illustrated by a different contributor and takes on manners for different occasions, including party manners, doctor's office manners, supermarket non-no's, etc.  Children will laugh uproariously at the horrid behavior of the characters.  Some of my favorite pages include Tao Nyeu's "Please don't pick in public" and Judy Schachner's "Party manners".  Great fun for the all ages, from the rudest person you ever did see to the absolute angel.

by Tom Lichtenheld
Henry Holt
Cloudette is only a little cloud, which can be fun when it comes to hide-and-go-seek or watching fireworks, but when the big clouds make storms, Cloudette feels left out.  After one particvularly big storm Cloudette finds herself in a new place, a place that once had a pond.  And it is here that Cloudette learns how to make a storm. A story about finding one's place and learning new things, Cloudette is also great for tired parents.  Side notes and comments hidden in the illustrations will hold the attention of both parents and children.

Animals Home Alone

by Loes Riphagen
Seven Footer Kids, Publisher Group West
One day, a little girl and her father go out, leaving fifteen animals alone in the house.  In the wordless story that follows, the animals get up to all sorts of things.  The book opens with images of all the animals and closes with the results of the animals' actions.  These final images are paired with questions asking readers what happened to the animals over the course of the story.  These questions are a good place to start, but careful readers will pick up many more adventures than the questions reveal.



As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

Those are cute! And who doesn't love *any* book that features a hedgehog, right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great posts. I have been following you for a although on my rss reader, thought i would make the effort to say THANK YOU right now.