Picture Book Bonanza!

It is snow here in Pennsylvania! I am still on holiday from school, so I thought, what better way to spend the day than telling you about some picture books!
By Matthew Cordell

Board book: 36 pages – 2 – 4 years

Published by Disney-Hyperion; Brdbk edition on March 6, 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis: As an elephant couple embark on a life together, thoughts of children are far away-at first. But as the desire for a child grows, so do unexpected challenges. And it’s only after thwarted plans and bitter disappointment that their deepest wish miraculously comes true.
What I thought: This is an adorable book that really warms your heart. It touches on many different things. I love that the parents are elephants so they do not have an ethnicity and can reflect any one. The story’s text is simple with repeating words in the text making it easy for beginning readers to follow along. The book touches on preparing for a child and the excitement around it, infertility (or parents just not getting pregnant), and the healing process, and the joy when finally a child is brought into a family. As an adopted child myself, I appreciated that the book never specified if the child is biological or adopted, just that he was wished for and wanted for a long time. The soft whimsical illustrations pair beautifully with this book. This would be a great book for any newborn and his/her parents.
I give this book five out of five bookworms 

I sleep in a Big Bed
Series: Big Kid Power
By Maria Van Lieshout

24 pages ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 13, 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis:  Babies sleep in cribs. Do big kids? No! Big kids sleep in a big bed.Every child’s life is filled with milestones. Some happen easily; others need a little extra support. Artist and mom Maria van Lieshout has been there. Drawing upon her own experiences, she has created an engaging series of books that are just right for children on the brink of major changes and the caregivers who encourage them.

What I Thought: I like the idea of this series. It celebrates milestones in children’s lives. This book celebrates moving from a crib to a big bed. I remember my first big bed –it was a racecar and it was awesome, but I digress. Some of these milestones can be frightening for kids, having a “big bed” without the security of sides is a difficult transition.  The little boy is afraid his stuffed toy will fall out and has to work through his fear. I like how the illustrations show the physical growth of the boy through the story. It adds dimension and depth. The illustrations are simply, yet bold with few colors. The oversized text goes well with the story and adds to the overall feel of the book. Other titles in this series are” No More Tantrums,” “Bye-Bye Binky,” and I” Use the Potty.” The series would be a nice collection to encourage kids to take these big steps in growing up.
I give this book five out of five bookworms 


By Cao Wenxuan
Illustrated by Roger Mello
Translated from Chinese by Chloe Garcia Roberts

48 Pages ages 7+
Published by Elsewhere Editions on October 18, 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis:A philosophical picture book from one of China’s most celebrated children’s authors and 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award-winner Cao Wenxuan.

A feather is blown across the sky, meeting various birds along the way, and asking each one, “Do I belong to you?”.

Cao Wenxuan tells the story of a single feather who is swept away on a journey of discovery and belonging. Encountering a variety of birds, from a kingfisher to a magpie, Feather is hopeful of meeting the bird she belongs to. Again and again, she is dismissed or ignored. Only when she sees that there is also beauty in being close to the earth does fate offer a reunion… Feather is sure to charm young children with a plot at once compelling, meditative, and quietly moving. Roger Mello’s stunningly beautiful, dynamic illustrations will delight readers of all ages.

What I Thought: I love high quality bound books and this book is lovely. The pages are thick and the cover is superb. Unusual sized books (although difficult to fit on a book shelf) are another favorite of mine. They always pique my interest and I think other kids like unusually sized books too. Feather comes in at 12”x7” and I like the feel of the book in my hands. The muted Earth tones Mello uses in his illustrations contrast with other selected bold colors making visually stunning spreads. The illustrations accompany the story so well, I think Mello had a direct connection with what Wexaun envisioned when writing it.
The book is translated from Wexuan’s story. Wexuan is a celebrated author in China and the English version has a definite folktale feel to it. The text is difficult for children to read by themselves, but I believe this book was meant to be a read-aloud and shared among generations within the family. The little feather seeking the bird he/she belongs to reflects the human struggle to define who we are and where we belong. The feather is rejected by many birds and befriended by one who is then mercilessly killed by a raptor. The feather eventually finds a place and figures out who he/she is but it is a struggle to get there. The story itself may be scary to younger kids, but parents and older kids will appreciate the complexity of the story. The publisher rates this as 3-7 years old, I’d say it’s more appropriate for 7-10.
I give this book four out of five bookworms 

Written and Illustrated by Victoria Ying

 32 pages – ages 4+
Published by HarperCollins on October 3, 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis:  Meow? Meow? MEOW!Meow! is a charming, mostly wordless picture book about a feisty young kitten who gets frustrated when her family is too busy to play.

Featuring expressive art and sparse text, this fun read-aloud will allow parents and kids to creatively tell the story by expressing just one word in lots of different ways. This sweet and clever picture book is sure to charm readers through to the final purr.

Perfect for fans of the New York Times bestselling They All Saw a Cat, Spot, the Cat, and all cat lovers!

What I Thought: What a super cute book! It really reflects a family dynamic. The little kitten wants someone to play with him but mom, dad, and sister are too busy to play what he wants. So what does any self-respecting toddler do? They MISBEHAVE! Kitten gets himself in trouble and put on time-out. Soon there is resolution and the family starts respecting each other’s time and wants/needs. What makes this even better is this whole story is told by using two words! Ying’s illustrations bring the story to life and additional text is unnecessary. This one is great for beginning readers and kids who can’t read yet.
I give this book four out of five bookworms. 

Pine and Boof: The Lucky Leaf
Written and illustrated by Ross Burach

40 pages ages 4+
Published by HarperCollins on September 12, 2017

Publisher’s Synopsis:  Frog and Toad meets Elephant & Piggie in the first installment of a humorous and heartfelt new picture book series about the adventures of Boof the bear and Pine the porcupine, from the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup and I Am Not a Chair!One blustery day, Boof the bear’s lucky red leaf gets swept away by the wind. Fortunately for him, Pine the porcupine just happens to walk by with his lucky compass—and the two set off on an adventure to find the lost leaf, only to discover true friendship in the process.

In a tale both silly and sweet, Pine & Boof: The Lucky Leaf tells the story of an unlikely friendship through highly original characters and vibrant illustrations that are impossible not to love.

What I thought: There were several occasions where I laughed out loud at this book. The first being introduced to Boof the bear who is afraid of bears – and practically everything else except for the leaf he befriends. Boof and Pine’s (the porcupine) adventure is like the three stooges rolled together with the Marx Brothers. There is also a cute subplot of Boof and Pine becoming friends. The illustrations are just enough to compliment the story, but the text is what drives it. Beginning and early readers will navigate the story well and will want to read it over and over. For lovers of Elephant & Piggie, this is your kind of book! I for one think Boof and Pine’s adventures should continue.
I give this book five out of five bookworms 

Whose Boat?
By Toni Buzzeo
Illustrated by Tom Froese

Board book: 16 pages – ages 2+

Published by Harry N. Abrams; Brdbk edition on May 22, 2018

Publisher’s Synopsis: 
Smoke billows up.
Cool water flows.
Whose boat is that?
Do you know?This nonfiction ode to boats features six kinds of workers and their boats—a patrol boat, a tugboat, a car ferry, a lobster boat, a lifeboat, and a fireboat—with important parts properly labeled. The answer to each inquiring refrain lies under a gatefold, engaging the reader in an informative guessing game. With lyrical (and factual!) text by New York Times–bestselling author Toni Buzzeo, and the stylized art of Tom Froese, this sturdy board book is perfect for curious and playful young readers.

What I Thought: This is a neat concept book. It is an interactive, educational board book for toddlers. There are two other books in the series, “Whose Truck?” and “Whose Tools?” All the books are board books with a flap that reveals the answer to the questions. In this case the book asks Whose Boat is… The different parts of the boats are labeled and the purpose/job of each boat.

The pages are nice and heavy for little hands but the spine is a bit thinner than I’d like to see in a book for this age set. The illustrations are bight and are accurate representations of the vessels described in the text. The series looks like a nice addition to any classroom or home library.
I give this book four out of five bookworms 

Categories: Age 1-5, Age 6-9

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12 replies

  1. Great reviews! And they’re just in time for my “Oh-My-God-Christmas-Is-Less-Than-A-Month-Away” shopping spree.

  2. Wow, so many great reviews and mostly books I don’t know. Thanks, Erik.

  3. A fabulous collection of picture books.

  4. Once again, another outstanding blog! These are just perfect for my younger sister and now I know what books to get her for Christmas!

  5. Erik, I’ve missed reading your blog. I’ve been head down and writing so much, and reading less. Love your recs, especially Pine & Boof! But I finished NaNoWriMo, so that book is going in the drawer for at least a month to let it cool before I look at it again. Cheers!

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