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.
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.
Linda Sarah and Benji Davies capture the fragility of friendship in this tender story that goes from two to three best friends.
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.
A young girl, who lives in the Arctic tundra with her grandfather, yearns for more color in her surroundings. In her snow-filled world, she sees her fair share of white. She’ll occasionally see gray, but “gray is still a shade of white.” Nights don’t give the girl any more hope for color: Winter days in the tundra are as dark as night.
A story not often covered in history texts, Susan E. Goodman’s The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial, illustrated by the great E.B. Lewis, pays tribute to a young black girl and her family’s efforts to bring about equal education in the public schools of mid-19th-century America.
In the opening of this spirited picture-book biography, young Marie Tharp declares her love of maps. It’s a passion that comes honestly: Her father makes soil maps for farmers, and she follows him as he draws, often holding his pads and pencils. As a result of his work, Tharp’s family travels a great deal, and her love only intensifies.
In the opening author’s note of The Only Child, Guojing briefly discusses how her experiences as a child growing up under China's one-child policy in the 1980s formed her story. As a young girl and only child, she was often left alone when her parents had to work. At the age of 6, her father put her on a bus to her grandmother’s, but she fell asleep and woke to unfamiliar surroundings. From that memory grew this story, a hybrid graphic-novel/picture book tale more than 100 pages long.
In this thick picture book, geared at all ages (“preschool and up”), Dave Eggers pays tribute to an enduring American landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. He takes a look at its conception, construction and unconventional orange hue in a country with predominantly gray bridges. Readers learn that its bold color is, in large part, thanks to architect Irving Morrow, who found the color beautiful and insisted upon it, despite opposition from many sides.
In this tall, 56-page picture book import, originally published in Italy two years ago, readers explore two stories that meet in the middle.