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ALA Notable Books for Children
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Thyra Heder

Publishers Weekly Alfie is a pet turtle, and his new owner Nia, an African-American girl with braided hair and plenty of curiosity, tries hard to find ways to relate to him. "I taught him my wiggle dance and made him presents," she says, "but he didn't seem to notice." Nia's interest cools somewhat; then, on her seventh birthday, Alfie disappears. After a pause indicated by a spread with no text, the story resumes, now narrated by Alfie. It turns out that he's been paying more attention than anyone knew: "Nia taught me how to dance!" he explains. "She gave me presents! I had never been given presents." Hoping to find the perfect birthday gift for Nia, Alfie sets out on a shopping trip, and Heder's story really begins to shine as Alfie gets help from Toby (the family hound) and a snail in the backyard. Her watercolor spreads are carefully executed with few stylistic mannerisms; all the attention is directed toward the characters. It's a treat watching Alfie deliver Nia the perfect birthday present-albeit a little late. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A girl named Nia gets a pet turtle on her sixth birthday. She names him Alfie and the two of them spend a year together with Nia making every effort to include her pet in all her activities. But turtles will be turtles-not being the most playful or cuddly as pets go-and Nia loses interest. Then, on the morning of Nia's seventh birthday, Alfie goes missing. That's when the story changes from Nia's to Alfie's point of view, as the intrepid turtle goes on the hunt for the perfect gift for Nia's birthday. He first explores around the house, encountering the family dog, then ventures out onto the fire escape, down into the yard, and through a sandbox until he grows cold and tired. A friendly snail suggests that Alfie take a nap in the pond in the yard. Readers see the passage of time illustrated through the change in seasons from fall to winter and then spring, when Alfie wakes up from his "nap" and emerges from the pond just in time to celebrate what Alfie believes is Nia's seventh birthday. Readers will delight to see the two reunited and will notice that it is actually Nia's eighth birthday, as the number indicates on her birthday balloon. The beautiful ink-and-watercolor illustrations, which feature an African American child (and her family), offer readers lots of clues and thoughtful details. An author's note tells how the story is based on Heder's real-life pet turtle Alfie that she got when she was six. VERDICT A welcome addition to picture book collections perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list For her sixth birthday, Nia's delighted to receive a pet turtle, Alfie, and shares with him songs, stories, and little gifts. But lacking responses from Alfie, she starts losing interest, until, on her seventh birthday, she notices Alfie has disappeared but to where? Readers then get the story from Alfie's viewpoint as he relates both how happy Nia made him and why he's left his tank: to find her a special present. Eventually, after searching indoors and outdoors, as well as getting advice from a dog, a snail, and a fish, Alfie returns with the perfect gift, and a festive birthday is had. Nia's and Alfie's first-person descriptive accounts are extended by lovely, intricately detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations that artfully highlight the varying perspectives and amusing moments, as when Nia introduces Alfie to her toys. Although the concept of hibernation may need explaining (Alfie returns on what's revealed to be Nia's eighth birthday), overall, this is a charming story of the bond between child and pet.--Rosenfeld, Shelle Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Xelena Gonzalez

Book list A young girl with Native American and Spanish heritage learns from her grandfather that circles are all around us. The moon, clocks, wheels, and the sun are all common circles we see almost every day, though we may not notice them. Grandfather points out that a rainbow is only half a circle; the other half is under the surface, representing that what comes from the earth goes back into it again, creating a circle of life. The warm relationship the two share is evident as the girl happily absorbs the lessons, often spiritual in nature, that her grandpa teaches. Garcia's colorful mixed-media illustrations reveal images placed upon paintings with what appears to be chalk, pen and ink, and colored pencil. A circle motif, including the arcing of the text, highlights almost every spread, emphasizing the prevalence of the shape. Joyce Sidman's Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature (2011) can be used as a companion title that also teaches about the pervasiveness of common shapes in nature.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Margarita Engle

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-Accompanied by the vibrant onomatopoeia of an old rebuilt car, a brown-skinned boy travels with his family from their village in Cuba to the capital city, Havana, to celebrate the "zero-year birthday" of his cousin. The focus of this colorful picture book is on the car (nicknamed "Cara Cara"), one of Cuba's many mid-20th-century American vehicles maintained through constant tinkering. "Ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck." Award-winning poet Engle transports readers to Cuba through her lively verse, and Curato (author/illustrator of the "Little Elliot" series) does the same with his nearly photorealistic illustrations rendered in pencil, with digital color bringing out the bright tones of the tropics. Each spread includes endless detail, from the clothes hanging on the clothesline in the boy's backyard to Havana's beautiful architecture. The stars of the book, of course, are the 1950s cars, which Curato studied on a research trip to Cuba and depicts precisely in all their mixed-and-matched glory. While younger readers will simply enjoy the journey, older children may desire more information about the context of the story, some of which can be found in the author's and illustrator's notes. VERDICT A fun addition to the ever-popular genre of transportation picture books-this one with a unique perspective and message of perseverance.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly The pre-1959 American car, held together, as Engle (Lion Island) so evocatively writes, with "wire, tape, and mixed-up scraps of dented metal," has become a visual trademark of Cuba and testimony to its citizens' resilience and ingenuity. One of these cars, a bright blue Chevy Delray christened Cara Cara (because her aging, patchwork engine makes sounds "like a busy chicken-cara cara, cara cara, cluck, cluck, cluck") is the star of this contemporary story, taking the young narrator and his family from their rural home to a celebration with relatives in Havana. The masterly sense of place, color, and shape that make Curato's Little Elliot stories so touching proves perfect for a landscape that's larger than life. He and Engle chronicle Cara Cara's journey in loving detail as the family moves along the coast and into bustling city streets, giving readers glimpses into daily Cuban lives-newlyweds in a Dodge convertible, laundry hanging from balconies as "a sea breeze sings." It's a wonderful introduction to America's very nearby neighbor. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. Illustrator's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* Acclaimed Cuban American poet Engle here celebrates the persistence and ingenuity of Cubans, who have learned to make do in the face of poverty and scarcity. A young boy and his family prepare to travel from their rural home to Havana to celebrate the birth of a new cousin. Mama has baked a cake, and the gift is wrapped, but the family's 1953 Chevy, affectionately known as Cara Cara, is making horrible noises: Some of this island's old cars purr like kittens, but ours is so tired that she just chatters like a busy chicken. Papa lifts the hood, and father and son tinker until finally the car is roadworthy. So we purr cara cara / and we glide taka taka / and we zoom zoom. The party is festive and happy; the ride home smooth and sleepy. Engle's tone is upbeat throughout: she highlights modest country vistas, picturesque contemporary Havana, busy people going about their daily chores, and the profusion of noisy vintage cars. Curato's vibrant pencil and digital illustrations depict iconic images of Cuba small farms, city neighborhoods, and government buildings all in photographic detail. And while the antique cars may take center stage, the Cuban people also shine in their determination and resilience. A lyrical and beautiful offering that should help to humanize views of this island nation.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Elisha Cooper

Book list It's all about simple text and clean lines in this picture book about feline camaraderie. Cooper certainly loves and understands cat behavior, as exemplified in his various poses of cats at rest and in action. A big cat (white) welcomes a new little cat (black) to the household, and shows it when to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be, and when to rest. The white cat is outlined in black lines on generous white space as the two partake in these activities; the black cat is profiled in silhouette, with only one tiny white dot for an eye. As the years go by, the black cat grows bigger, and eventually the white cat has to go. A silhouetted family mourn along with the black cat. But soon a little white cat arrives, and the now-big black cat teaches it all the same lessons. In a final double-page spread the two dream happily, completing the concept of the circle of life in loving contentment.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Like a Japanese brush painter, Cooper (8: An Animal Alphabet) uses bold, black lines to trace the outlines of a white cat; it roams through an apartment, playing with yarn and gazing at the bird feeder. Then a black kitten arrives, and the white cat shows it "when to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be." "Big cat, little cat," Cooper writes as the two sleep embraced, their curves a rhythmic composition of black and white. The two grow ever closer until, with little warning, the white cat "got older, and one day he had to go... and didn't come back. And that was hard. For everyone." The black cat is pictured alone on the page; the next spread pulls back to reveal its human family, all bereft. Even younger readers will understand their grief. But when a white kitten arrives, the story begins again: "The cat showed the new cat what to do. When to eat, when to drink, where to go, how to be." With quiet grace, Cooper delivers the message that love persists through loss. Ages 3-6. Agent: Liz Darhansoff, Darhansoff & Verrill. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Bold and simple illustrations perfectly depict life with cats. Elegant, expressive black line drawings on white backgrounds capture the essence of all things feline and call to mind the work of Clare Turlay Newberry and Nikki McClure. The book follows a lone white cat who gains a small black companion, their life together, and the eventual loss of the elder cat ("Years went by-and more years, too-") and ends with the addition of a new kitten. The spare text does an excellent job of conveying the story from the animals' point of view. Readers are told that "the older cat got older and one day he had to go...and didn't come back. And that was hard. For everyone." VERDICT A gentle, loving look at the life cycle of pets; young readers will be able to gain confidence in retelling the story using the text and the pictures. A must-have for all collections.-Paige Mellinger, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Sarvinder Naberhaus
 
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Corinna Luyken

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-It starts with a mistake, but page by page, one slightly too large eye, a wonky elbow, and feet a little too far off the ground transform and combine into a larger picture-one that not only is functional but also works perfectly. Illustrations rendered in ink, colored pencil, and watercolor are the focal point. They start small-just a circle, a few lines, a dot on the page, a subtle bit of color here and there-but they slowly grow, flowing across one page and onto the next before reverting back to a smaller image that begins to slowly grow again. Each page shows one small glimpse of the final picture, inviting readers to turn the page to see the rest. The simple text draws readers' attention to the illustrations, and thorough examination is rewarded with playful little details. This is a story about how mistakes can change us all for the better if we are brave enough to face them and march ahead. Readers will love following along as the small spots and smudges on each page change the work in fun and unexpected ways, and even younger readers will finish with fresh optimism and a new idea of what mistakes may become. VERDICT Children, especially fledgling artists, will want to pore over this volume one-on-one. A must-have for every library.-Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* An inkblot and a face with an eye that's too big are those mistakes? The juxtaposition of mistakes and opportunity is the through line of this original offering that gives children a new way to think about the creative process. Each turn of the oversize, snow-white pages adds a fresh detail to the ink painting slowly being constructed. As the minimal text notes, some are good ideas the glasses on the character's face, for instance. Others, like the extra-long neck, not so much. But as the artwork becomes more detailed, and bits of color, then more, are added here and there, it becomes clear that even the unintentional or the unappealing can be turned into embellishments that enhance the whole. Sometimes the mistakes fundamentally change the whole, but if children are open to getting off the beaten path, they can find themselves immersed in magical new endeavors. Luyken, a debut author, delves into her own creative process, providing images to ponder. The final few spreads, especially, can be the springboard for an interesting discussion of imagination. One thing's for sure: this will lead kids to see their own so-called mistakes in a new, more positive light.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Mordicai Gerstein
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Laurel Snyder

Publishers Weekly In four ebullient linked stories, Snyder (Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova) and Hughes (A Brave Bear) introduce the two eponymous brothers and their down-to-earth family. "I am a mom," says Mom when she refuses to come out from under the covers early one morning. "I can do what I want." From there, readers follow along as Charlie and Mouse organize an impromptu party at a playground, try to make money selling rocks (a nifty twist makes this the best story in the book), and try to postpone bedtime as long as possible. "We cannot go to sleep without a bedtime banana," says Mouse, backing up Charlie. It's a friendly, hang-loose world: the boys share a bed, Mouse dons a tutu for the playground party, and the customers for the boys' rock-selling business include a gay couple, Mr. Erik and Mr. Michael. The emphasis on dialogue gives the stories the immediacy of a play script, and Hughes's easygoing vignettes add just the right amount of visual punctuation. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. Illustrator's agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 2-This early reader series opener offers likable characters but an underdeveloped story. Charlie and Mouse are brothers with loving parents and a diverse group of friends and neighbors. They take part in simple childhood pastimes: a neighborhood party, a money-making plan, a bedtime snack. They do everything together, from the moment they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep in the same bed at night. Snyder infuses each tale with humor, and young readers will enjoy illustrator Hughes's depictions of each character, especially the facial expressions. Repetitive language supports emergent readers looking to try chapter books. However, the first two chapters fly by without giving readers the opportunity to get to know the characters better. Early events don't always make sense; for example, there's no clear reason why the characters have a neighborhood party, and it seems anticlimactic. Charlie and Mouse appear to get along exceptionally well for two young siblings, which doesn't feel particularly realistic. The last two chapters are much more fleshed out, and readers who have taken to Charlie and Mouse will most certainly look forward to the next book in the series. VERDICT Early reader collections will benefit from this new series, especially if future volumes incorporate stronger storytelling.-Casey O'Leary, Mooresville Public Library, IN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Monica Brown

School Library Journal Gr 1-4-Two well-known children's book creators present the life of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo through the kid-friendly lens of her animal friends. Kahlo's life as a young girl at La Casa Azul was marked by the support of her family, illness, and her "animalitos," or the many pets and creatures that she loved. Each spread introduces a new animal, from Bonito the parrot to her spider monkeys Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal. The text often makes comparisons between the featured critters and the independent, free-spirited girl and budding artist. Throughout, Brown makes references to Kahlo's love of and inspiration by her Aztec culture, which was often seen in her art and evidenced by her pets' names. The picture book biography touches only briefly upon some of the artist's life-changing events, such as the accident she experienced in her teens or her marriage to Diego Rivera, but instead emphasizes the companionship of the animals with which she surrounded herself. Parra's lively acrylic paintings pay tribute to the vibrant hues of Kahlo's paintings, and her ties to her Mexican and Aztec heritage are apparent. A detailed author's note about the subject's life, art, and influence concludes the book and lists the many works in which her animalitos appear. VERDICT This unique and gorgeous take on the famous figure's work will give children an accessible entry point to an important artist. A good choice for picture book biography shelves.-Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Featuring charming visuals and lively, often lyrical prose, this picture book introduces Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, interweaving biographical details while highlighting her special relationships with pets. From early efforts at painting, to a childhood illness, to school escapades, Brown takes us into Kahlo's adulthood her developing passion for creating art, her marriage to Diego Rivera, and, finally, her animals. She kept company with spider monkeys, parrots, dogs, turkeys, and much more, and Brown describes each as possessing personalities that reflect Kahlo's own characteristics: Like her eagle, Frida's imagination could fly high. Rich-hued, folk art-style illustrations incorporate evocative touches, fanciful details, and collagelike compositions. Both the accessible art and text convey a sense of how some of Frida's experiences and animals impacted and informed her life and art. Although examples of her actual artwork aren't included, an author's note lists some titles that feature her animals, and provides further biographical information.--Rosenfeld, Shelle Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Brown uses the pets and animals in Frida Kahlo's life-spider monkeys, a parrot, and a fawn, among others-to emphasize aspects of her personality as she developed into an artist: "Frida's turkeys were intelligent and sensitive, just like her. And, like Frida, her dogs were warm and loving." Along with highlighting Kahlo's tender interactions with the animals, Brown shows how art buoyed her during difficult times, including a bus accident at age 18 that left her with persistent health problems. Parra's warm, weathered paintings are done in a flattened, folk-art style that vividly evokes the Mexican environment and "heritage of which she was very proud." Even if readers don't get much of a sense of the work Kahlo created, they'll finish the book feeling like they know the artist. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Emily Jenkins

Publishers Weekly Dedicated to picture book icon Ruth Krauss, this elegant pas de deux between two unlikely creatures recalls the sense of uninhibited play that Krauss brought to her own work. "A hound./ A round hound./ A greyhound," Jenkins (Toys Meet Snow) starts, accompanied by Appelhans's watercolor of a curled-up dog, its abstract form captured in a few graceful strokes. "A hog./ A round hog./ A groundhog," she continues, as Appelhans (Sparky!) paints a fat, furry fellow with tiny ears and a shy smile poking its head up aboveground. For "a greyhound, a groundhog,/ a found little/ roundhog," the artist shows the dog approaching the startled rodent, and the two soon make friends: "Around, round hound./ Around, groundhog!" The animals play, the words play, and the faster the creatures circle, scamper, and bound, the more mixed up the words get ("A greyhog,/ a ground dog,/ a hog little hound dog"). Appelhans paints the dog and hog cavorting through an idyllic world ("Astound!" Jenkins exclaims, as they surprise a group of butterflies), and their adventure celebrates the sounds of words, the lure of rhythm, and the joy of movement. Ages 3-7. Illustrator's agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list *Starred Review* With impressive economy of language, Jenkins (Toys Meet Snow, 2015) crafts an energetic, guileless story about the camaraderie between a greyhound and a groundhog. Much as Emily Gravett did in Orange Pear Apple Bear (2007), Jenkins uses a handful of words (round, ground, hog, dog) that she combines, splices, and rearranges on each page. On one spread, the groundhog watches as the greyhound chases its tail in a circle: A groundhog, a greyhound, / a grey little / round hound. This repetition is ideal for young readers and listeners, who will also be swept up by the abundant wordplay. As the two start to run in gleeful, dizzying circles, the text becomes jumbled into nonsensical phrases that pleasurably trip off the tongue. Words arc and swoop over the pages, mimicking the animals' antics, until an awe-inspiring moment stops them in their tracks. This simple story is elevated by Appelhans' watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, which capture the dog and hog's joie de vivre with dynamic streaks and swooshes. In moments of stillness, readers can appreciate the greyhound's graceful lines and dappled, opaline coat, or the coconut-shaped groundhog's cheery grin. This unusual duo will make a heartwarming addition to any read-aloud collection.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-In a picture book that demands to be read aloud, a greyhound and a groundhog spin in visual and verbal circles. A limited gray and brown watercolor palette-and an equally limited selection of consonant and vowel sounds-characterize this phonologically clever, fundamentally joyful, and subtly unified picture book. Words, text, and creatures begin in simple lines (the words "A hound. A round hound" are printed in a straight line above a sleeping greyhound on the first page), but all three increasingly start to rotate (the sentence, "The ground and a hog and some grey and a dog" later curves around the page, accompanied by a whirling, tongue-lolling canine). Just as readers grow accustomed to the muted colors and tongue twisters ("Around, round hound/Around, groundhog!"), both begin to change: "around and around" becomes "and astound" as the greyhound-fully facing readers for the first time-notices one butterfly, and then more, come into the visual field, bringing with them the latent pinks, blues, and purples that an observant viewer will have seen hiding in the grays all along. The butterflies soon fly off the edge of the page, but the amazement lingers as the eponymous animals, finally worn out, settle in for a nap. Accompanied by newly restraightened, resimplified text. VERDICT A lovely, lyrical paean to the natural order, with an element of wonder and grace. Perfect for one-on-one and group sharing.-Jill Ratzan, Congregation Kol Emet, Yardley, PA © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Bob Graham
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Paul Meisel

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Another great addition to the series by Meisel (See Me Run and See Me Dig), again featuring the always-popular antics of a dog. The story begins (and ends) with the animated pup barking up a tree. The title page creates interest and draws readers in with the image of an unhappy dog coming inside. The rest of the story depicts the pup's reactions to various encounters inside and out. Spreads full of bright colors and cartoonish illustrations clearly portray the dog's feelings through his actions and expressions. The simple text includes merely 10 words. Each sentence begins with, "I see a..." and ends with the latest entry into the dog's field of vision, including a cat, bird, fly, bee, mice, a boy, and-most frustratingly and more than once-a squirrel. The repetition in the simple text and sentence structure will build confidence for early readers. VERDICT A great choice for early readers that will have wide appeal and could be read individually or with a group. Recommended for general purchase.--Theresa Muraski, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Gaia Cornwall

Publishers Weekly An African-American boy works up the courage to leap from the high dive in Cornwall's warm and genuine debut. "I'm a great jumper... so I'm not scared at all!" announces Jabari as he arrives at an outdoor city pool with his father and sister. "Looks easy," he adds as he watches kids jump from the towering board, but "when his dad squeezed his hand, Jabari squeezed back." With understated humor and plenty of understanding, Cornwall reveals Jabari's transparent excuses for delaying his ascent up the ladder: he must think about what "special jump" he will do, take a "tiny rest," and stretch. Finally, after words of encouragement from his patient father, Jabari makes the climb and braves the jump, a sequence viewed from various perspectives that amplify his accomplishment. A daunting gaze downward, past Jabari's toes that curl around the edge of the board, makes the water look incredibly far away, and when seen from behind, he seems as high up as the skyscrapers in the distance. It's a lovely, knowing account of a big "first" in a child's life. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-An African American boy and his baby sister and father head to an urban community pool. Jabari has completed his swim lessons and tests and is ready to jump off a diving board. In his zigzag swim trunks and swim goggles, the boy tells his dad that diving looks easy. But when he stands at the ladder and looks up, up, and up at the diving board, he starts stalling for time, saying that he has other things to do before he can make the big leap. His father reassures him that it is OK to be scared, encourages him to take deep breaths, and tells him that he might just be surprised. With renewed determination, Jabari climbs the ladder and jumps into the pool. He's flying and splashing and sinking down and swimming back up and he's done it! Jabari is a great jumper. Just enough conversational text accompanies each illustration, including several smaller vignettes on a single page that help build suspense. Mixed-media images in serene muted colors, high-rise buildings above the tree line, and the intriguing addition of faded newsprint accents strengthen the urban feel of the illustrations. VERDICT Jabari's story will help assuage the fears kids experience when faced with a new and daunting adventure. A terrific seasonal storytime read-aloud that's perfect for one-on-one sharing.-Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list Jabari has decided: today is the day he will jump off the high dive. But when he and his father and sister arrive at the pool, he's suddenly not quite so sure. He gets in line, but then lets the other kids go ahead of him. He gets halfway up the ladder, but then scurries back down to do stretches. His father lets him know it's OK to be scared, and before Jabari knows it, he has jumped off the high dive with a huge, satisfying splash. This is a small, well-told story about a child working up the courage to do something difficult. The dialogue and text are straightforward and make a nice pairing with the creatively chosen angles for the illustrations. One particularly effective full-page illustration is from Jabari's point of view, standing on top of the diving board and looking down past his tiny brown toes to the blue rectangular pool below, truly capturing the book's pivotal moment. In all, a welcome piece for any summertime collection.--Worthington, Becca Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Dori Hillestad Butler

Book list Three dog treats are missing, and Kayla thinks that the culprit is her golden retriever, King. But he knows the truth there is an intruder in the house! Welcome to the world of Kayla and King, a new early reader series with dog and human perspectives on life. In this opening title, Kayla, brown-skinned and curly-haired, is making treats because Jillian, her friend with lighter skin and blond hair, has a new puppy, Thor. Five chapters help break down the narrative into manageable bites while keeping up the pace and intrigue. Kids will join in with Kayla, King, and friends as they list off facts and questions to solve the case. The hand-drawn, digitally colored illustrations bring out the giggles and smiles, especially when King and Thor meet with wagging tails and puppy play. This title is a delightful series start that will have kids returning to read more about Kayla and King. It's also a great introduction to mysteries, gathering facts, and analytical thinking for an unusually young set.--Ginman, Karen Copyright 2017 Booklist

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Susan Middleton Elya

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-The traditional Hans Christian Andersen tale gets a makeover in this modern version with a twist. In her signature style of stories peppered with a liberal dose of Spanish and humor, Elya relates the account of a prince who wants to marry and his mother, the queen, who takes charge of vetting the possible candidates. In rhyming text, the author describes the lonely prince. Then one day "came a maiden, en route to her castle./She winked at the prince, who fell for her fast./No matter what Mom does, I'll marry this lass!" The endearing and playful illustrations set the story in Peru. The Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text are in a different color and font, and kids will easily understand them through the context. (Those in need of additional help will appreciate the glossary with definitions and pronunciations.) And the pea under the mattresses test? Let's just say that the prince makes sure his chosen one passes with flying colors. VERDICT This engaging read-aloud is a fresh reimagining of a classic. A must for all libraries.-Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list In this bilingual twist on a classic fairy tale, the mother of a young prince does all she can to make sure that no maiden who is unworthy will win the heart of her son. The prince is very lonely and longs to find his princess, and when a girl comes along looking for a place to rest while on her journey home, the prince instantly falls in love. His mama searches through the garden for an elegant pea that is sure to determine whether this girl is truly the one. When the girl rises after a restless and painful night, the prince rejoices, secretly glad that like his mama he, too, had a trick up his sleeve. Martinez-Neal's illustrations, featuring stylishly exaggerated figures rendered in warm tones and delicate lines, are inspired by the textile designs of the indigenous people of Peru. With eye-catching details on every page, this book is sure to capture the imaginations of young readers. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout, and clever rhymes make this a book to enjoy more than once.--Paz, Selenia Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Jon Agee
 
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Patrick McDonnell

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-McDonnell's abecedarian tale takes a small scarlet cat on a breathtaking adventure. The clever tale-wordless except for two signs and one warning shout-begins when the feline notices his home's front door standing open and takes to the hills. He almost immediately comes upon a gape-mouthed Alligator, a climbing Bear, and an agitated Chicken along with a couple of other pursuers of the D and E variety. A chase begins with the cat leading his entourage through a day filled with ice and snow, a jungle, mountain peaks, and a potentially hazardous tumble off a high cliff. Humorous pen, ink, pencil and watercolor illustrations surrounded by copious white space are energetic and highly engaging for readers. The large letters of the alphabet appear near the top of the page and feature both capital and lowercase forms. While most illustrations offer a clear-cut answer to what each letter represents in the sequence, there are a few pages that require some thought; an answer key can be found at the end of the book. -VERDICT A brilliant caper that young learners will want to pore over! A must-purchase.-Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly This gloriously fun escapade from McDonnell follows the misadventures of the eponymous red cat, who dashes out the front door of his home, only to be set upon, almost instantly, by an alligator, bear, chicken, and dragon. The book is wordless, other than capital and lowercase letters that correspond to each new character or event, creating a guessing game for readers in the process. In one scene, the pursuers and pursued are slipping and sliding on a patch of ice for I; a page turn, and they're swinging from vines in a jungle. A king and his daughter get involved, parachutes manifest after a tumble off a cliff ("Nnnnnnnn Oooooooo!"), and there's even a bathroom break. It's teeming with visual wit, and McDonnell's cartoons illustrate the emotional dramas of the chase with telegraphic clarity. Ages 3-6. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list A little red cat runs away from home and begins an alphabetical adventure in this (nearly!) wordless picture book. A is an alligator who joins the cat, B is a bear, C a chicken, and D a dragon. After that, the party continues on through different landscapes, and, ultimately, the red cat ends up home and catching some well-deserved z's. Because of its wordless nature, readers can make up their own stories while also hunting for what represents the letter on the page. Although some are obvious, in some illustrations, there may be multiple answers, providing a great opportunity for vocabulary building. (Answers appear at the end.) McDonnell uses a combination of simple lines and a plain background to keep the focus on the action. His is a distinctive style, but the simplicity doesn't take away from the humor, and each character remains distinctive and filled with expression. Best to be shared one-on-one, though the format could inspire young authors and illustrators to try their own journeys through the alphabet.--Linsenmeyer, Erin Copyright 2017 Booklist

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Salina Yoon

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-The delightful trio from Duck, Duck, Porcupine are back in three short stories of friendship. In the first, Big Duck gets a kite stuck in a tree. Porcupine and Big Duck attempt to knock it free but succeed only in getting more objects-a ball, a Hula-hoop, a ladder-stuck in the branches. In the second tale, Big Duck is jealous when Porcupine befriends Bee, making Big Duck jealous until she meets Ladybug. When a spider lands on Little Duck, the others assume that he has made a new friend, too. In the final tale, Big Duck and Porcupine are so focused on making a lemonade stand that they forget all about the lemonade. Good thing Little Duck is prepared. A step up from Mo Willems's "Elephant and Piggie" in reading level, Yoon's beginning reader is thoughtfully designed. The comic book layout of panels bordered in black draws attention to the sequential action. The humorous, full-color digital illustrations feature welcoming, curving black outlines. The all-dialogue black text is printed in a large font in white speech bubbles against solid colored backgrounds. The text is grounded in short, declarative, sight word-heavy sentences. Occasionally, a new word is introduced without a clear visual context clue, but in general the text is strongly supported by illustrations as well as by frequent word repetition. Contractions-"don't," "can't," "let's"-are used in a natural way, making for a smooth flow. VERDICT Cheerful, approachable, and thoughtfully created, this beginning reader will find a welcome home in public and school libraries.-Amy Seto Forrester, Denver Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-The creator of Fly Guy follows up Noodlehead Nightmares with another hilarious and engaging anthropomorphic book full of wacky slapstick. Brothers Mac and Mac are the titular heroes, and, yes, they are literally pieces of pasta. They are also, well, noodleheads: the literal-minded brothers are incapable of understanding metaphor or grasping simple concepts. The humor is similar to that in the "Amelia Bedelia" series, and youngsters will laugh knowingly at the noodleheads' ridiculous antics as they bumble their way through to a happy conclusion. The author's note explains the worldwide tradition of tales of fools, their use in helping children learn logical thinking, and the specific stories that inspired the noodleheads' adventures. The cartoonish artwork captures the over-the-top feeling of the narrative perfectly. Children will doubtless ask for more titles starring the hapless brothers. VERDICT A funny and lighthearted addition to early graphic novel and beginning reader collections; fans of all things goofy will devour the noodleheads.-Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Antoinette Portis

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-A young girl names all her favorite things as she joyfully lives out her days. "This is my favorite mud, my favorite rain." Other treasured objects include a worm and a paper boat. Mostly, the girl loves these things because they are what she is experiencing in the moment. For example, of the several holes she's dug, her favorite is "the one [she] is digging" now. Her favorite cloud is the one she's watching. But the child's favorite "now" of all is the one she is enjoying as she reads a book with her mom. Depicted in flat paintings outlined in thick ink and digitally colored, the illustrations sometimes depict just parts of the narrator. For instance, only her legs and feet are shown as they squelch in her favorite mud. Just her hands reach up from the bottom of the page, revealing her favorite worm. A striking, larger-than-life image in a spread (and on the cover) shows the girl holding a red leaf in front of her face. Portis uses color brilliantly, matching the youngster's clothing to the scenes and objects around her: the pale blue of the wind echoed in her skirt and top, brown striped pants above mud-covered feet, two-toned green shirt and pants matching the two shades of her favorite tree. VERDICT This childlike ode to the delights of living each moment to the fullest is an absolute charmer and, like Portis's Wait, may even encourage adults to notice and relish the world around them. An essential purchase for group and individual sharing.-Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Book list *Starred Review* In this lovely picture book about everyday moments worth cherishing, a young girl shares some of her favorite things: This is my favorite breeze. / This is my favorite leaf. / This is my favorite hole because it's the one I am digging. Relishing the present, she shares experiences that may appear inconsequential to some, but to her, each circumstance is deeply special. Her favorite things include singing, watching the clouds, playing in the rain, and smelling a flower, all culminating in spending storytime in her mother's lap. With a comforting refrain and plenty of familiar scenes, this pleasant, warm story of mindfulness and small joys will resonate with lots of little ones. Portis' graceful, straightforward lines are the perfect complement to her bold, richly hued illustrations. Thick, ink-brushed outlines make her genial figures stand out sharply against the simple backgrounds, and the variety of facial expressions effortlessly communicates the young girl's carefree happiness. While the story itself is simple, just like the moments the little girl values, Portis' picture book contains Zen-like depth, and she taps into a uniquely childlike kind of wonder about the world. Cozy and subtly profound, this is perfect for one-on-one sharing.--Lock, Anita Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Portis (Best Frints in the Whole Universe) writes in the voice of a girl who knows what it means to live in the moment. "This is my favorite breeze," she says, her eyes closed with delight. "This is my favorite leaf," she continues as Portis shows her in closeup, peeping over the edge of a brilliant red leaf. She looks as if she's in the countryside, but she might be in a city park. "This is my favorite hole (this one) because it's the one I am digging," she explains, from deep in the sand. The girl's freedom from supervision, schedules, and electronic devices are unspoken pleasures. Portis's bold black outlines and swashes of muted color show a girl who's strong and independent. "And this is my favorite now, because it's the one I am having with you," the girl finishes, as she reads a book on her mother's lap. Portis invites children to ask themselves what gives them joy, making it clear that favorite things needn't be logical, and can be simple, silly, and fleeting. Ages 3-6. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Philip C. Stead
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Lane Smith

Book list Two-time Caldecott Honor Book awardee Smith tackles the animal world with gusto and joy as he describes the perfect day in the outdoors. A ginger cat snuggles among the daffodils in the sun, and a dog sits in the cool water of a wading pool. Chickadee enjoys the birdseed in the birdfeeder, while squirrel is content with a dropped corncob. But whoa! A large brown bear arrives to confiscate the corncob with a toothy yellow smile. The bear goes on to swallow all the seeds in the birdfeeder, slurp down all the water in the pool, and scare the cat out of the daffodils. So who got the perfect day? Only the contented bear, asleep in the flower bed. Smith's innovative textured artwork and pen drawings give a visceral feel to the sunny day, and his muted palette complements the variety of surfaces and patterns. The humorous surprise ending will make children squeal as they ponder the concept of perfect. Moral: What is perfect for one may not be for another!--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Smith (There Is a Tribe of Kids) takes readers to a house in the countryside in a neatly constructed story that reveals how simple pleasures create a "perfect day" for several animals. Cat couldn't be happier sitting in a bed of daffodils, Dog rests in a cool wading pool, and a boy named Bert ensures that Chickadee and Squirrel have something to eat. Smith's artwork is a riot of color and texture-forceful brushstrokes evoke animal fur, and gestural flowers create blasts of color in the landscape. Then a hulking bear shows up, and Smith uses repetition to cleverly recast the calm declarations of the first half of the book ("It was a perfect day for Cat") as Bear steals Squirrel's corncob, devours Chickadee's birdseed, dumps Dog's pool over himself, and makes giddy flower angels in the daffodils ("It was a perfect day for Cat"). Bear is more galoot than menace, though Smith does conclude with Bert and the other animals bidding a hasty retreat. Perfect, readers will understand, is very much in the eye of the beholder. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-An enjoyable afternoon is upended by an unexpected visitor in this charming book by the beloved children's writer and illustrator. It was the perfect day for young Bert, his cat basking in the sunshine, his dog frolicking in a plastic pool, a chickadee enjoying the birdseed-even a squirrel was relishing a corncob. Then a bear lumbers onto the scene and-well, it WAS a perfect day. The simple tale combines the elements of repetition and surprise for a satisfying read that will appeal to young audiences and beginning readers. The gestural illustrations, which have the appearance of paint loosely brushed over a textured surface, expressively capture the mood of each animal. In one image that sums up a spoiled moment, viewers see Bear flailing snow angel-style in the flower bed vacated by Cat-the proverbial uninvited guest who ruined the party. The tale was inspired by a black bear that is a frequent visitor to the artist's studio; a photo of the mischievous creature helping itself to the contents of a bird feeder appears with the author's blurb. VERDICT This gently humorous book is sure to circulate well in any picture book collection. A perfect way to introduce the concept of point of view.-Suzanne LaPierre, Fairfax County Public Library, VA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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2018 (Younger Readers)
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Giovanna Zoboli
2018 (Younger Readers)
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Carmen Agra Deedy

Book list In the noisy village of La Paz, a cacophony of baying dogs, crooning mothers, humming engines, musicians, and singers make it hard to hear, hard to sleep, and even hard to think! So Mayor Don Pepe decrees: No Loud Singing in Public, Por Favor. Soon his restrictive laws cause the town to become silent as a tomb. Enter a cocksure rooster with a grandiose blue-and-green tail and an oversize coxcomb, who sings, Kee-kee-ree-KEE! A frustrated Don Pepe throws him in a cage and threatens to kill him, but the rooster refuses to stop singing, encouraging the townspeople to follow suit and drive the disgruntled mayor out of town. Yelchin's colorful and humorous illustrations in mixed media explore folklore traditions replete with quirky whimsy: an oversize Don Pepe tears his hair and gnashes his teeth in frustration at the expressive villagers. Storyteller Deedy's allegorical message reminds us that voices cannot be silenced, and that courageous people who crow out their truth give all of us the freedom to sing.--Gepson, Lolly Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 2-In the village of La Paz, everyone is constantly singing. So much happy noise eventually causes the townspeople to wish for a little peace and quiet. So they throw out the old mayor and bring in Don Pepe, who guarantees change. In a classic "be careful what you wish for" scenario, Don Pepe delivers on his word and successfully makes singing illegal. For seven years the village remains quiet, until along comes a saucy gallito, who happily crows aloud every morning. Angered, Don Pepe makes it his personal mission to silence the rooster once and for all. He takes away the rooster's food, family, and sunlight and even threatens death, but the gallito still crows, "Kee-kee-ree-KEE!" and eventually inspires the rest of La Paz to join him in his triumphant singing. Don Pepe leaves town, and the villagers return to their loud, joyful ways. Told with a storyteller's flair, the narrative reads like a folktale, while Yelchin's mixed-media illustrations are vibrant and perfectly suit the text. VERDICT A fun read-aloud for any library, especially ones looking for stories with Hispanic influence.-Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly "Seven very quiet years" after new laws turned the noisy village of La Paz into one as "silent as a tomb," a gallito and his family arrive on the scene. The rooster's crowing enrages the mayor, Don Pepe, who imprisons the rooster in a cage, among other escalating punishments. Deedy (14 Cows for America) uses repeating language to powerful effect, ramping up the stakes while underscoring the gallito's steady determination. "And if you have no more corn?" asks Don Pepe, threatening the rooster with starvation. "I may sing a hungrier song," answers the bird. "But I will still sing." Just when it seems as though the rooster's song will cost him his life, the citizens stage a nonviolent (but very noisy) revolution. Yelchin (Elephant in the Dark) amplifies themes of protest and injustice in vivid mixed-media caricatures that emphasize the rooster's humble nobility in contrast to Don Pepe's sneering autocratic airs. Like the gallito's cries of "kee-kee-ree-kee!" Deedy's message about speaking up and speaking out rings as clearly as a bell. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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