Newly Released Picture Books!!

Brand New Picture Books!!

Hello picture book friends!  I am a bit behind on my blog… sorry!  One thing or another has kept me busy since the first of August!  But I am back and excited to share a few new picture books with you!  There are so many new ones that have been recently released, that are so, so special!  I hope you enjoy reading about them.

Until we meet next time… happy picture book reading!



Bear Has a Story to Tell

Written by Phillip C. Stead   Illustrated by Erin E. Stead  (2012)

Available in Hardcover

This is one of my favorites of the new picture books recently released!  “Bear Has a Story to Tell” is written and illustrated by the same team that wrote the winning 2011 Caldecott Medal for “A Sick Day For Amos McGee”.  The soft watercolor painted illustrations are so beautiful!  This is perfect for reading aloud and would lend itself to the subject of preparing for the winter.  Be sure to check this one out!  Here is what Publishers Weekly has to say:

Big, furry bears abound in children’s books, but Erin Stead’s is especially soulful. It might be the way his eyebrows furrow with concern, or the way he leans forward to hear what his friends are saying. Bear wants to tell a story, but his friends Mouse, Duck, Frog, and Mole are busy preparing for winter. (Mole is already asleep, in a den so deep the book has to be turned sideways to view it.) Instead, Bear offers help to his friends. Helpfulness in picture books can teach a moral lesson or it can let readers imagine luxuriating in that tender care themselves. This collaboration, which follows the Steads’ Caldecott-winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee, is of the second sort. Bear raises a great paw to check the wind for Duck and tucks Frog tenderly into his hole. When winter passes, the animals are reunited, but Bear has forgotten his story; now it’s his friends’ turn to help him. The quiet suggestion that no one has all the answers is just one of the many pleasures the Steads give readers. Ages 2–6. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)


I’m Bored

Written by Michael Ian Black   Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi  (2012)

Available in Hardcover and eReader editions

I had to giggle a bit when I first read this cute book… the girl reminded me of myself as a young bored girl, when I was always looking for something to do!

Here is the review from Publishers Weekly:

It looks to be the ultimate ennui smackdown: a bored-out-of-her-gourd kid vs. an equally jaded potato. Then the potato accuses the girl of being the source of its boredom. “What are you talking about?” demands the feisty pigtailed human. “Kids are fun!” “Prove it,” says the potato. And almost as fast as you can say “reverse psychology,” the girl shows that she is in fact a wellspring of fun: playing games, doing “ninja kicks” and other acrobatics, turning ordinary objects into fantastic props (an overturned laundry basket becomes a snow-capped mountain in her imagination), and engaging in pretend play that encompasses everything from being a ballerina to… a potato. “Boring,” responds the potato each time, before the girl storms off. But not to worry: what goes around comes around. Black (A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea) keeps this simple concept funny all the way through its final, LOL zinger. Debut illustrator Ohi’s minimalist, scraggly digital drawings are anything but boring, and speak volumes about irritation, desperation, and disdain. Ages 3–8. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Aug.)


Minette’s Feast

Written by Susanna Rich    Illustrated by Amy Bates  (2012)

Available in Hardcover

I admit that Julia Child is one of my favorite icons of cooking!  I have loved her since I was a little girl, watching her on PBS.  Little did I know then, how much I would enjoy cooking for my own family.

This sweet book tells the tale of Julia’s pet cat, Minette.  The watercolor illustrations could not be more charming!  Included are an author’s note, a bibliography and actual quotations from Julia Child.  This is quite a timely picture book, released just in time for the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Publishers Weekly review states:

 Modest in scope, this cozy biography of Julia Child uses her cat, Minette, to introduce the master chef to young audiences. The tortoiseshell stray hangs around the edges of the first few spreads that depict Julia and her husband exploring Paris. Reich’s (Painting the Wild Frontier) lyrical prose is playful; its rhythmic and sometimes alliterative language quickly advances the lighthearted tale. Julia “baked and blanched, blended and boiled, drained and dried, dusted and fried,” and, later, the picky Minette (after sampling one of Julia’s creations) “frisked and flounced…. danced and pranced.” The author admittedly takes literary license with some details, such as the implication that Julia takes classes at Le Cordon Bleu in order to meet Minette’s finicky tastes. The hues of Bates’s (Bear in the Air) muted watercolors—buttery yellows, golds, and slate blue-greens—lend a French feel, as does an early painting of Minette in which she’s made to resemble the feline from Steinlen’s famous “Chat Noir” poster. This charming portrait concludes with a glossary of French words, an afterword, and author notes. Ages 4–8. Agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, McIntosh & Otis. Illustrator’s agent: Shannon Associates. (May)

 BOOK 4:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Written by William Joyce    Illustrated by William Joyce and Joe Bluhm  (2012)

Available in Hardcover and eReader editions

This picture book actually was created as a short film first, and had viral views on YouTube.  That film won an Academy Award in the short film category.  When I first viewed the film, I admit that I was blown away!  Anyone who cherishes books will find this one delightful!

Here is another great review by Publishers Weekly:

As e-books put pressure on the printed word, picture books that romanticize books proliferate (The Lonely Book, It’s a Book, and Dog Loves Books come to mind). Joyce’s magnificently illustrated book-about-books inspired—yet arrives after—his 2011 animated short film of the same name, which won an Oscar. The unusual sequence of film-to-book (there’s an app, too) suggests that while books are indeed glorious things, what really matters is story. This one follows a dreamy bibliophile named Morris Lessmore, who loses his cherished book collection to a cataclysmic storm that’s half Katrina (Joyce is from Louisiana) and half Wizard of Oz. After meeting a “lovely lady… being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books,” Morris finds an abandoned library whose books are alive and whose covers beat like the wings of birds. They flutter around him protectively, watch as he starts writing again, and care for him as he ages: “They read themselves to him each night.” Underneath this book-about-books, there’s a deeper story of love, loss, and healing, one that will be appreciated as much (if not more) by adults as by children. Ages 4–8. (June)

 Video link:

 BOOK 5:

Watch Your Tongue, Cecily Beasley

Written by Lane Fredrickson    Illustrated by Jon Davis  (2012)

Available in Hardcover

I can remember my mother telling me to not make a face because it would freeze that way!  We have all heard that as kids!  Well that is exactly what happens to Cecily Beasley!  This book is a light, funny story, teaching a message of good manners.  The illustrations are quite expressive and will bring a smile to the readers of this darling picture book.

Kirkus Reviews reviewed this picture book:

That’s right, Cecily. If you make an ugly face, it just might get stuck. There once was a time that little Cecily Beasley was a grade-A brat. She wouldn’t share; she slurped her food; her belches–public and smirk-enhanced–were stinky. She would stick out her tongue and waggle her fingers, and she took no heed when warned her gesture might freeze just so. Sure’s shootin’, one day her tongue won’t retract, and a Mockingbeak Tongue-snatcher quickly makes a nest thereupon. A doctor counsels the family not to disturb the bird, which can be as feisty and ill-mannered a customer as Cecily. She had to wait–patience not being among her virtues, either–for the eggs to hatch. Fredrickson’s salute to the risks of bad manners is gladdening and admonitory in all the right, playful ways. When the Tongue-snatcher hatchlings stick their collective tongues out at Cecily, it makes for a fair rebuke. Fredrickson also has her share of fun with the dexterity of her rhymes: “It’s a Mockingbeak Tongue-snatcher, rude and tenacious. / They roost on the tongues of the loud and audacious.” Then there are Davis’ illustrations full of fruity, tropical color and theatrical line work; they are spot-on in catching Cecily in her predicament–the sheer misery of having a tongue as big as a mature sea cucumber. This snazzy cautionary tale packs quite a bite (even with its tongue in the way). (Picture book. 4-7)


Lenore Finds a Friend:  A True Story from Bedlam Farm

Written and Photographs by Jon Katz  (2012)

Available in Hardcover and eReader editions

Who doesn’t love a story about a dog?  Who doesn’t love a story about friendship?  This beautifully photographed picture book includes both!  I was first drawn immediately to the lovely cover photo of the Black Lab and the sheep.  Upon reading the book, the story is so lovely and sweet!  Jon Katz has written several best selling adult novels about his life with dogs.  You and your children will fall in love with Lenore and the animals of Bedlam Farm!

Kirkus Reviews wrote:

 Lenore the black Lab befriends a cranky ram named Brutus in another entry in the popular streak of recent stories focusing on unlikely animal pals. Katz continues to chronicle life on his farm in upstate New York with his second book for children, following Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm (2011). When Lenore arrives at the farm as a boisterous puppy, she tries to engage Rose, the border collie who herds the sheep of Bedlam Farm. Rose ignores Lenore, so the puppy buddies up to Brutus the ram, giving him “kisses” on his nose and following him around the farm. At first, Rose tries to intervene, but eventually she accepts Lenore as part of the farm family. Though the story anthropomorphizes the dogs and ram a bit too much, the appealing photographs clearly convey Lenore’s winning personality with some touching shots of sad puppy eyes and sweet interactions between the Lab and the ram. The intriguing subject matter, large type size and short sentence length make this suitable for beginning readers as well as younger children. Bedlam Farm seems an idyllic spot with a natural appeal to children, who are likely to ask for more about Lenore. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)


Bear Says Thanks

Written by Karma Wilson    Illustrated by Jane Chapman  (2012)

Available in Hardcover and eReader editions

Karma Wilson’s “Bear” books have become a staple picture book for the preschool set.  She delights us, yet again, with Bear and a tale of appreciation and gratitude.  This is a perfect book to read as we approach Thanksgiving, or any day, to remind us to be thankful for the little blessings in our lives.  Be sure to add this one to your collection of Karma Wilson “Bear” books!

As review by Kirkus Reviews:

In a new companion to Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More (2002, 2003), a lovable bevy of friends come together again for feast and fun. Bear is bored and lonely and decides that a dinner party is the perfect way to gather all his friends for some sharing and fun, but there is no food to be found in his cave. One by one his friends stop by, each bringing something delicious with open-hearted enthusiasm. Mouse, Hare, Badger, Gopher, Mole and feathered friends Owl, Raven and Wren pool their goodies and create a glorious feast. Bear is grateful and warmed by their generosity and, as in previous works, the title refrain is repeated at every offering. But he is also embarrassed at having nothing to contribute. His friends reassure him that he has stories to share that will make the feast special. The lilting verse is neither trite nor singsong, and movement and excitement are conveyed as the animals flap, flitter, hurry and tromp into Bear’s home. Rich autumn hues abound throughout, from the opening double-page spread to the glowing earth-toned cave strewn with twigs and colorful leaves. Deep friendship is supremely evident in facial expressions and body language and their joy at being together. Who would not love this cuddly, soft, furry creature? A tender tale of friendship, timed for Thanksgiving. (Picture book. 3-7)

 BOOK 8:

Guinea Pig Party

Written and Illustrated by Holly Surplice  (2012)

Available in Hardcover

My, oh my!  How I love a cute counting book!  This one takes the cake in the form of a hilarious Guinea Pig birthday party.  The illustrations could not be more adorable!!

While this is written more in mind for a toddler who is learning to count, even older children will delight in the hilarity of these sweet creatures.

Kirkus Reviews describes this picture book very well:

Comical, partying guinea pigs who encounter one mishap after another allow readers to count down from 10 to one. From a bump during a conga line to a sadly misplaced pin during a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, these poor guinea pigs face it all. “Six little guinea pigs / love to jump and dive! / One bumps his nose, / and then there are… // Five….” Leaving the answer for the page turn allows for audience participation, and between the rhymes, the patterned numerals in the corner and the easily countable guinea pigs, listeners will have no problem shouting out the answers. While the rhythms and rhymes are nothing outstanding (“heaven” rhymes with “seven,” “again” with “10”), it doesn’t much matter, since Surplice’s guinea pigs are the true stars. Loaded with personality, the adorable rodents take the party by storm, suffering tummy aches, tantrums and balloon mishaps but, ultimately, celebrating their friendship. A final page features the numerals from one to 10, matching each with its own guinea pig. Simple white backgrounds help the rodents keep center stage and highlight the party paraphernalia that helps set the scene. Countdown to the next rereading. (Picture book. 3-6)

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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One Response to Newly Released Picture Books!!

  1. Caitlin says:

    I just read Guinea Pig Party to someone last week 🙂 he was 7 and loved it.

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