Summer may be drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet when “Grandma and Grandpa say COME.” In Marc Harshman’s latest picture book, One Big Family, a regular-sized family does just that.
Dennis’ closet appears normal, and why not? He’s an ordinary boy. But items in his open wardrobe—black-and-white striped shirts, white gloves and a picture of Marcel Marceau—suggest more. And why not? He also expresses himself in extraordinary ways. By adding white face makeup, Dennis becomes a mime. While others show and tell and play, Dennis is happy to mime what he has to say. But “being” a tree rather than climbing one can be isolating.
With reoccurring images of crowns, tigers, teapots and spheres, Pamela Zagarenski’s The Whisper takes readers back to the fantastical world created in her Caldecott Honor-winning books, Sleep Like a Tiger and Red Sings from Treetops.
When Cole asks his mother for a story about a bear, she shares a true tale, one forgotten by time. It all starts with Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian from Winnipeg, Manitoba. During World War I, Harry travels by train across Canada to care for soldiers’ horses. At one of these stops, Harry gets off to stretch his legs and sees a trapper with a bear cub. Noticing something special about the bear, Harry’s “heart made up his mind,” and he buys the bear for 20 dollars.
He doesn’t have the worm-fed physique of the robin, the glossy red pompadour of the cardinal, or the impressively sculpted chest muscles of the eagle. No, Nerdy Birdy’s glasses are too big, his wings are too small, and he’s allergic to birdseed.
Everyone knows the possibilities of planting a garden, but in this story with a clever twist, a rabbit and mouse learn the real benefits of planting seeds. As the sun rises, the big-eyed, cute-as-a-button rabbit and mouse plant a tomato seed, a carrot seed and a cabbage seed. As the days pass with rain and shine, they tend to their seeds with love and care until they reap the rewards of juicy and crunchy vegetables.
Emily Jenkins will bring out the foodie in any reader as she traces the preparation of blackberry fool through four centuries in A Fine Dessert. Starting in 1710 in Lyme, England, a mother and daughter pick wild blackberries from the field surrounding their cottage. Then begins the labor-intensive process that includes milking the cow, skimming the cream, beating the cream with twigs, straining the berries through muslin to get rid of seeds and chilling the delightful blend of berries and cream in an ice pit in the hillside.
At the end of a birthday party, the best gift a little girl receives is her black-and-white tuxedo cat. In Tiptop Cat, author and illustrator C. Roger Mader portrays this cat’s independent and slightly mischievous new life. Seen from Tiptop’s perspective, the rich pastel illustrations depict the cat at eye-level as he explores under tables and beds, defies dizzying heights along the balcony railing and climbs neighborhood rooftops to his favorite spot: a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the world.
Mac Barnett, author of the Caldecott Honor-winning picture book Extra Yarn, turns a popular children’s game into a high-wire act in his latest offering. In many picture books featuring people and animals, the animal world serves as the background. In Telephone, the opening spread features a wordless panorama in which children playing outside offer a clue of what’s to come for the many birds sitting on the telephone lines high above.
There are many strange disappearances on Offley Street, from Imogen Splotts’ teddy bear to Lady Chumley-Plumley’s diamonds. And one creature has taken notice: Hermelin, a mouse that can read and write. Self-named for the cheese box in which he woke up one day, Hermelin resides in the attic of Number 33 Offley Street. Perhaps inspired by the old mysteries and Victorian garb surrounding him, the mouse sets out to find the lost items he sees on the neighborhood message board.