In what has to be the best-named picture book of the year, Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan brings readers the story of the young Henri Matisse and his childhood inspirations, with eye-catching illustrations from Hadley Hooper.
It’s one thing to learn your ABCs. It’s quite another when Oliver Jeffers is in charge. His new picture book, Once Upon an Alphabet, contains 26 very short stories, beginning with “An Astronaut” and ending with “Zeppelin.” Preschoolers and beginning readers will delight in these vignettes featuring everything from a lumberjack who repeatedly gets struck by lightning to, of all things, a puzzled parsnip.
Friends can come from the most unlikely places. In the case of Marla Frazee’s tender wordless story, The Farmer and the Clown, that place is from the back of a circus train in the middle of nowhere.
Numerous legendary author--illustrators have likened picture books to film, as both mediums tell their stories through visible action. Some illustrators construct their stories in ways similar to film in even more creative and dramatic ways, as Raúl Colón does in his dynamic new picture book, Draw!
Quite appropriately, The Memory of an Elephant is a large picture book, measuring 11 by 14 inches. It’s a big, unusual book in every way, featuring not only a story about an old, distinguished elephant named Marcel, but a compendium of assorted facts about everything from musical instruments and classic modern furniture to a variety of gourmet desserts.
Grief isn’t an easy thing, nor is it something that provides easy answers. Stian Hole’s Anna’s Heaven, an introspective picture book aimed at older children and originally published in Norway, isn’t afraid to ask the big questions.
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.
Budding young naturalists will learn from—and love—Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston. A quietly powerful picture book that explores the changing of the seasons and life in the woods, it’s also a story about the rewards that come from taking time to look closely at the world. The narrator is a resourceful young girl who visits her tree house each day, watching in solitude as the forest around her transitions from fall to winter. Armed with binoculars, sketchbook and pencils, she spies on animals as they hunt for food and prepare for the snowy season to come.
The title of Diane and Christyan Fox’s clever new picture book, The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma is quite a mouthful. Add impish characters that nearly fly across the page, and humor clearly awaits.
These days it seems dogs are everywhere. We have dog detectives (Spencer Quinn’s delightful Chet and Bernie mystery series for adults), lost dogs (Chris Raschka’s Caldecott-winning A Ball for Daisy) and even, apparently, dogs with blogs. So, do kids (and adults) need another dog book? The answer, as any dog lover will tell you, is a resounding yes, especially when the book is created by the talented David Ezra Stein, who won a Caldecott Honor for Interrupting Chicken.