Summer Picture Books… Some New Ones and Some Old Favorites!

July 1, 2012

Dear Picture Book friends,

I had not planned on skipping a post for the month of June, however, circumstances with my mother-in-law’s surgeries and planned vacation times made it impossible to sit down and focus my attention to put a post together.  I had planned to do a Father/Grandfather post for Father’s Day and I promise I will put together some great books on that subject for a bonus post soon!

This month, I wish to feature some wonderful new picture books, along with a few classics that are perfect for summer reading.  Thank you for reading my posts… I LOVE picture books so, so much!  And I appreciate those of you who give my little bloggie a look!

Happy reading!


BOOK  1:


Written and Illustrated by Peter McCarty  (2012)

Available in Hardcover.

I fell in love with the book as soon as I saw the cover!  I have always been a Peter McCarty fan, and his new book, Chloe, does not disappoint!  This is perfect for reading aloud to your little ones and is a great springboard for discussion.  Thank you, Peter McCarty, for this darling, new favorite of mine!

Here is what Publishers Weekly has to say about Chloe:

Chloe, the alluring grade-school bunny who charmed the hero of McCarty’s Henry in Love, gets her own story in a companion book about the pleasures of family and bubble wrap. Chloe is her family’s middle child, meaning she has “ten older brothers and sisters, and ten younger brothers and sisters.” She looks forward to “family fun time” after supper, but when Chloe’s father brings home a TV, and the family gathers around, Chloe protests, “This is the worst family fun time ever!” McCarty depends upon a simple premise—Chloe recaptures her family’s attention with the cardboard TV box and the bubble wrap inside—and personalizes the tale with detail-obsessed drawings in rabbity-brown ink and watercolor. Each of the 23 bunnies is identifiable by size, gender, and outfit, from towering football player Billy (seen in Henry in Love) to brother Bobby in a T-shirt with a red star (subliminal message much?) and baby Bridget in an ears-to-toes onesie. Still bewitching (a shot of Chloe entrancing her siblings by popping bubble wrap is priceless), yet serious about her strong opinions, Chloe continues to stand out in a crowd. Ages 2–6. Agent: Gotham Group. (May)

Other books by Peter McCarty:


–       Henry In Love

–       Jeremy Draws a Monster

–       The Monster Returns

–       Hondo and Fabian

–       Fabian Escapes

–       T is for Terrible

–       Little Bunny on the Move
–       Moon Plane
–       Baby Steps


Baby Bear Sees Blue

Written and Illustrated by Ashley Wolff  (2012)

Available in Hardcover and e-reader format.

A fellow Children’s bookseller pointed this one out to me, knowing that I would love it!  And I DO!  The illustrations in Baby Bear Sees Blue are bold and incredibly striking.  This is a basic book of learning colors, but the story carries it along to be a bit different than your typical “colors” book.

Here’s a review from Publishers Weekly:

Wolff’s (Compost Stew) watercolor-tinted linocuts make each page of this story simultaneously cozy and dramatic—cozy because they star a fuzzy bear cub and his mother, and dramatic because each one contrasts dark shapes with washes of light and color. This is Baby Bear’s first spring, and everything is new to him. “Who is warming me, Mama?” Baby Bear asks, clambering over his mother to get a better look at the light outside. “That is the sun,” his mother tells him. At the cave entrance, golden sunbeams stream in—“Baby Bear sees yellow”—and Baby Bear is shown in silhouette as he sits just where the cave’s blackness meets the light of the outside world. The line “Baby Bear sees” is repeated for the brown of a trout, the blue of a jay, the red of a strawberry, and more, linking every color to something in the natural world. Children will be absorbed by the complex textures of Wolff’s linocuts, the Japanese woodblock–style graded shades of the sky, and the reassuring comfort of a world that is always safely guarded by Mama Bear. Ages 2–6. (Feb.)

I will be adding this one to my own library, to share with my little granddaughter!

Other books by Ashley Wolff:

–       When Lucy Goes Out Walking:  A Puppy’s First Year

–       Baby Beluga  (she illustrated the famous Raffi song for the book)

–       Only The Cat Saw  (this is out of print but one of my favorite books from when my children were small… I still love it!)

–       I Call My Grandma Nana
–       I Call My Grandpa Papa
–       Oh, The Colors: Sing Along in English and in Spanish


Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket

Written and Illustrated by Tatyana Feeney  (2012)

Available in Hardcover.

This book takes me back to when my own children were young and had their special “lovies” that they carried around and slept with.  The drawings and text are simple, making it perfect for the young toddler to kindergarten-aged child.

Here’s a great description and review from Kirkus Reviews:

Remember clutching that beloved childhood object to your chest? Closing your eyes to breathe in a smell as familiar as your own skin, readying yourself for the steepest slide or the darkest night?

Small Bunny finds just this kind of comfort in his blue blanket, soft with wear and dirt, but he worries some of its threadbare magic will wash away when mother does laundry. Appealingly elemental line drawings aptly describe a straightforward story about a child’s simple love of a singularly special possession. Hints of pink highlight Small Bunny’s ears and cotton tail, sweetening and softening the nearly colorless pictures of the boxy-bodied rabbit with dot eyes. Faint blue watercolors accent specifics in his surroundings (an apron, a swing seat, water in the tub) and orient readers to the tiniest corners of his world. Small Bunny’s blanket, appropriately, anchors every page. Trailing behind him on the swing or tucked under his bottom in front of the easel, it’s the only swath of color, assuming new shapes and undulating with watery blues and rippling collage work. Feeney’s winsome illustrations benefit from ample white space, which somehow endows each scene with earnest, emotional weight. Her words, succinct and spot-on, appear in well-spaced lettering (irregularly colored blue by hand) and float on the wide white backdrop.

Unfettered, fresh illustrations communicate a child’s bottomless love for a treasured possession. (Picture book. 2-5)

I will be purchasing this one for my Speech Pathologist daughter, to read to and encourage conversation with her smallest clients!


Zorro Gets an Outfit

Written and Illustrated by Carter Goodrich  (2012)

Available in Hardcover and e-reader formats

I absolutely love Zorro the pug!!  I know that you and your children will fall in love with him too.  This one is a follow up to the first book, Say Hello to Zorro!  (2011). Zorro and his curmudgeon companion, Mister Bud have a very sweet relationship underneath their snarky surface one.  Their expressions are priceless. and entertaining for young ones and adults alike!

Enjoy this review from Kirkus Reviews:

 Zorro the pug and his canine pal, Mr. Bud, return for a second adventure (Say Hello to Zorro, 2011), this time focusing on Zorro and an unwanted gift of a hooded cape similar to that worn by the masked outlaw. When Zorro’s owner puts the cape on her dog, the precocious pug hangs his head in embarrassment at being forced to wear an “outfit.” On the way to the dog park, he is teased by the dogs on the corner and by Slim the alley cat, making him feel even worse. The situation improves dramatically with the arrival of Dart, a dashing dog in a striped coat and bandana, who makes wearing an outfit seem cool. The clever story is told with a minimum of text, just a line or two per page, along with dialogue incorporated into the amusing watercolor illustrations. Zorro displays a full range of emotions, from deepest shame to gleeful pride, and Dart’s exuberant personality is quickly conveyed through his bold actions and confident demeanor. (“Hey, cool outfit! Let’s race!”) Anyone who has been forced to wear an unwanted clothing gift or who has felt embarrassed by being different will relate to Zorro’s dilemma. At the dog park or the playground, social standing is a fluid world sensitive to change and the influence of a top dog. Mark this one “to read.” (Picture book. 3-7)

This book is entertaining for young ones and adults too!

Other books by Carter Goodrich:

–       Say Hello to Zorro!

–       Hermit the Crab



Written and Illustrated by Elisha Cooper  (2006)

Available in Hardcover.

Beach is a perfect book to prepare little ones for a beach vacation and what to expect at such a magical place.  This is an older book that may be a bit more difficult to find, but well worth the effort!

Kirkus Reviews wrote a review, back when it was originally published and here’s what they had to say:

Another charmer from Cooper, who, with his signature impressionistic, diminutive figures and scenes, delivers a perfect day at the beach, observing people, paraphernalia and nature. Panoramic views appose Lilliputian visual narratives-a woman pulling a wagon packed with toys and kids, a boy pretending he’s a sea turtle as the waves carry him out, kids building a sand castle and a dog barking at waves. People are depicted like embellished artists’ wooden movable figures, jointed but amorphous in detail, and the simple daubs of paint generate motion like a handful of animation cells or a flip book. Masterful page composition creates a cinematic effect by panning from double spreads of the far-reaching vista to close-up pages of layered tiers of miniature dioramic scenes that are both graceful and fluid. As soothing and satisfying as the spray from dancing waves, sand between your toes and sun-warmed, waist-high water, this is as close as you can get to the beach without getting wet. As daylight ebbs, the beach empties but leaves behind “a day to remember when the beach is far away.” (Picture book. 4-8)

I could not agree with this review more!  You and your children will love reading about the beach!

Other books by Elisha Cooper:

–       Farm

–       Homer  (out of print but worth finding!)

–       Ballpark (out of print but worth finding!)

–       Dance
–       Beaver is Lost
–       Bear Dreams
–       Ice Cream
–       A Good Night Walk
–       Building  (out of print but worth finding!)


Bats at the Beach

Written and Illustrated by Brian Lies  (2006)

Available in Hardcover; Lap Board Book; and e-reader format.

This is a silly, laugh-out-loud, story about what happens when the bats go to the beach.  I enjoy all of the “Bats” books, and they are great to read to a group for story time.

Here’s a review from the School Library Journal:

 PreS-Gr 3-This is the quintessential book about going to the beach complete with overflowing picnic baskets, kite flying, singing around the campfire, and scratchy sand in places “where no sand should be.” Kids will certainly identify with the exuberant and familiar fun, but what will get them howling is the fact that the characters are bats that are visiting the beach in the moonlight. The rhyming text is grounded in reality with many inventive twists to keep the imagination rolling. There is moon-tan lotion, salted ‘skeeters, and bat kites. Where the book truly soars is in the dark yet luminescent art where bat wings glow in the light of the full moon and the sky is a steely blue. The faces on the bats are furry and friendly. These creatures use cocktail umbrellas for beach umbrellas; they hold wing-boat races in red-and-white checked food containers; and when it’s time for a late-night snack, they enter the ice-cream shack where a lit light bulb attracts a multitude of succulent bugs. Readers may not be tempted to try marshmallows with bug legs and gossamer wings but that won’t keep them from reveling in this grand adventure.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Be sure to check out all of Brian Lies wonderful books!

Other books by Brian Lies:

–       Bats at the Ballgame

–       Bats at the Library



Written by Alice Low  Illustrated by Roy McKie  (2011; originally published in 1963)

Available in Board Book and e-reader format.

This is a classic Bright and Early Reader series from the Dr. Seuss collection.  The text and pictures are of the classic “Seuss” style, that children have come to know and love.

Barnes & Noble’s editorial review describes:

A classic is given a colorful new look in the delightful Summer from Alice Low. Originally published in 1963, this story recalls the small treats of this warm season, like watching fireworks and fishing. Two friends and a dog wile away the days as they play, laugh, and discover the wonders of the summer together. This reissue features vibrant, new colors sure to bring a smile to any child’s face.

 I hope that you will check out some of these fantastic picture books during the summer reading months.  I also hope you are spending some of your summer time at your local library and bookstore!


About picturebooklook

Hello picture book enthusiasts! I am the mother of 3 twenty-something children and became a grandmother for the first time in early 2012. I have had an affection for picture books for almost as long as I can remember. I have acquired a treasured collection from when my children were young. I have never lost my fondness for them! I have worked in the Children's department of my local Barnes & Noble for the last 10 years. Each month I hope to feature a new picture book review, along with a classic picture book. The fact is, these books are true works of art! The stories are simple, sweet lines, that often stay with us into our adult lives. This blog is dedicated to Danielle Catherine and all of my future grandchildren, and also to all of you who love the beauty of picture books as much as I do!
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2 Responses to Summer Picture Books… Some New Ones and Some Old Favorites!

  1. I seriously love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you build
    this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own website and would love to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Cheers!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment! I did build this page myself through WordPress. I found WordPress very easy and guiding in step by step directions… but I admit I’m married to a computer geek and he has helped me at times when I’ve been stuck.
      Basically I find images on Google image search… I save the image the add as an “insert” to my draft.
      I love Picture Books and am a bookseller… I have so many folks want recommendations and I thought this blog could be an outreach to those looking for that need.
      Thank you again! Peace to you,

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