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.
Much has been made lately of the so-called (and very popular) “meta” trend in picture books, which feature intrusive narrators who acknowledge that the action is happening in . . . well, a book. Snappsy the Alligator is one such story, and it’s likely that, when 2016 is over, we’ll look back on it as one of the funniest picture books of the year. It definitely kicks off 2016 in high spirits.
While children’s literature is replete with Beatrix Potter’s critters and their accompanying stories, there are far fewer biographical books on the beloved author, let alone tales about her that reflect her style of writing. Deborah Hopkinson and Charlotte Voake have joined forces to create a one-of-a-kind children’s book that mirrors the curious world of the inimitable Beatrix Potter.
It may be hard to imagine a high-energy book that features two brothers arguing about whether to read or surf, but Surf’s Up delivers in a cowabunga way. The brothers are two frogs named Bro and Dude, and illustrator Daniel Miyares brings them wonderfully to life with vivid colors, froggy-eyed expressions and plenty of heart-stopping wave action.
In this exuberant story from the award-winning duo of Doreen Cronin and David Small, a castle that resides in a fragile glass kingdom is maintained by a spirited fairy named Bloom, though she’s too rough around the edges for the royalty who live there. Her footsteps are heavy, she has dirt in her teeth, and she tracks mud everywhere.
It would appear that this tale ends before it begins: Big “canceled” stamps smatter the title page and book flaps of Frankencrayon. But not to worry—the dapperly dressed, bonnet-and-top-hat-clad crayons are eager to relay their tragic tale. The pencil helps narrate how their would-be monster story was waylaid by a scribble—a scribble that grows when the crayons attempt to fix it.
Linda Sarah and Benji Davies capture the fragility of friendship in this tender story that goes from two to three best friends.
The Hueys return for an illustrated trip through the world of opposites. If happiness is finding a coin for the soda machine, sadness is only a spilled bottle away. What’s the Opposite? starts at The Beginning and works through up and down, here and there, before tackling the heady concept of half-full versus half-empty. It’s enough to give a philosopher a headache; thankfully a Huey gets only a single crayoned curlicue’s furrowed brow.
In this picture book debut from British illustrator and animator Chloe Bonfield, readers meet a young boy named Jack, who is searching for “the perfect tree. Not to climb, not to draw, and definitely not to hug.” He needs a tree to hack and then stack, but the trees he first sees won’t quite do. Right when he’s about to give up, he hears from a woodpecker, who shows him the perfect tree, indeed: It’s a tree filled with a variety of other birds. Jack sees “birds and feathers” fill the air, and he’s filled with wonder.
Bunny Dreams begins simply enough; bunnies hop, bunnies eat, bunnies cuddle in tunnels to sleep. But when they dream, bunny imaginations take flight, and a surprise awaits little readers—wings and stripes adorn frolicking, ABC-learning bunnies. But the biggest wonder of all is what they see when they wake up under a full bunny moon. Both a charming story and a captivating metaphor, Bunny Dreams will have you taking a second look at your backyard friends.