March Madness – Picture Book Style!

March 27, 2014

MARCH MADNESS – PICTURE BOOK STYLE!!

Dear Picture Book Friends,

Hello, hello!  It has been a very rough Winter for us, here in Indiana!  We are ready for Spring and reading picture books out in the sunshine on the porch!

Here are some new picture books that I have come across recently. There are some really beauties in this group and I know there are a few that you will want to add to your collection!

I have added several book trailer videos in this post. They are pretty cute and really enhance the books, so be sure to check them out!

Happy reading and happy Spring!

Lisa

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BOOK 1:

Let There Be Light

Written by Desmond Tutu; Illustrated by Nancy Tillman (2014)

Available in Hardcover

Nancy Tillman has another hit in illustrating this gorgeous picture book!  Let There Be Light is a retelling of the Genesis creation, told in beautiful words by Bishop Tutu. You are going to want to add this one to your picture book collection!!  Check out this video trailer:

School Library Journal:

03/01/2014

PreS-Gr 4—Archbishop Tutu’s version of the creation story first appeared in his Children of God Storybook Bible (Zonderkids, 2010). The retelling of the first chapter of Genesis is both accessible and poetic, with the emphasis being on God’s love. Tillman, best known for her “You Are Loved” trilogy (Feiwel and Friends), brings her signature style to the digitally rendered illustrations. The colors are bright yet misty, with no sharp edges or lines to be found, resulting in a dream-like atmosphere. Her renderings of wild animals are particularly well executed, and a keen observer will find images hiding in clouds. When people appear, they all wear crowns, a conceit that Tillman employed in The Crown on Your Head (Feiwel & Friends, 2011) that may prove puzzling to those unfamiliar with the earlier work. It’s a lovely book, suitable for larger collections where religious material is in high demand.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

 

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BOOK 2:

I Hatched

Written by Jill Esbaum; Illustrated by Jen Corace (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

A baby Killdeer bird hatches from an egg with hilarious enthusiasm!  I love the romping, rhyming text and the illustrations could not be more delightful! This is a perfect springtime read-aloud that is sure to give you a giggle!

Publishers Weekly:

“CRACK!” Using its cute little head as a battering ram, a killdeer chick emerges from its egg, and on long spindly legs asserts its bubbly personality: “I’ve studied me, and oh, my word,” writes Esbaum, “I am one amazing bird!” With a “Kil-DEE!/ Kil-DEE!/ Kil-DEE-DEE-DEE!” the bird scoots around its idyllic habitat, literally grabbing lunch with Mama—“Snails and beetles,/ worms (a bunch!)”— and meeting with an even newer-born sister (“Don’t worry, I know EVERYTHING!”). Although the singsong rhyming can veer toward cutesiness, Esbaum (Tom’s Tweet) captures the egocentric worldview and inexhaustible energy of a bird toddler while presenting a refreshingly species-specific narrative. But the real attraction is Corace’s (The Steadfast Tin Soldier) ink, watercolor, and pencil drawings, a nicely calibrated mix of cheery spot illustrations and more theatrical spreads. The hand-drawn lines and appliqué-like use of colors create a rustic, stylized playfulness that invigorates the rural setting, while conveying the sense of a charismatic young hero-in-the-making. Ages 2–4. Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)

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BOOK 3:

Yellow Is My Color Star

Written and Illustrated by Judy Horacek  (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This picture book is a color celebration for the youngest of picture book readers.  The brilliant color hues will capture their attention and help them learn about colors. I love the rhyming text, lending itself well to the preschool-aged child.  My friend and fellow Grandma, Jill, was so happy to find this sweet book that she bought it for her sweet, little granddaughter!

School Library Journal:

01/01/2014

PreS-K—This rhyming picture book about colors encourages children to choose their favorite. After a child explains how the colors pink, blue, green, purple, red, and orange make him feel, he reveals why he likes yellow best. During the first half of the book, children can search for a bird on each page. In the second half, youngsters will enjoy naming all seven colors as they appear on frogs, butterflies, cars, and fish. The naïve-style watercolor illustrations depict a diverse group of boys and girls. On two spreads, the color of the text matches the word it spells, helping to reinforce the connection between words and pictures. This cheerful story will teach toddlers and preschoolers about a key concept.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada

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BOOK 4:

Nest

Written and Illustrated by Jorey Hurley  (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

I fell in love with the illustrations in this simple story of the natural world.

School Library Journal:

★ 01/01/2014

PreS-Gr 1—In this stunning debut, we meet a pair of robins and their egg. We watch the parents incubate and hatch the egg and teach the baby bird to survive and fly. Seasons change, colors change. The family faces danger, but ultimately finds safety and comfort. This story is told primarily through the crisp illustrations that have a light, airy quality. The narrative includes only fifteen words, one on each spread, which adds to the dramatic impact: “Nest…warm…hatch….grow…jump….” The conceptual space between each page turn invites readers to thread together the story and imagine each step in the bird’s journey. The illustrations evoke the eloquent simplicity of a Japanese woodblock print while the frontispiece depicts clusters of robin’s eggs, reminiscent of clouds in a Georgia O’Keefe painting. Every page resonates with a vision that is both ethereal and quotidian. The birds are depicted naturalistically and an author’s note includes factual information about robins and their nests. Nest’s beauty and originality will stand up to countless re-readings.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY

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BOOK 5:

The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a deep love for Mo Willem’s picture books.  Pigeon is at it again in this child relatable drama of needing a bath!

B&N.com Overview:

Pigeons (like certain little boys and girls who will here remain nameless) don’t like to take baths, but as time passes and grime builds, the cries become intense for our fine-feathered friends and little ones to take the big dive. In this LOL picture book, master storyteller and illustrator Mo Willems (Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) provides everything except the soap.

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BOOK 6:

Hi, Koo:  A Year of Seasons

Written and Illustrated by Jon J. Muth  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

My, oh my, do I ever love this blend of Jon Muth and haiku poetry.  Muth takes on the seasons, with the perfect blend of poems within the beautiful muted watercolor illustrations.

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2013-12-18

Long before photography, poets took to haiku, the poetic equivalent of a snapshot, and painters, to the suggestive medium of watercolor to capture the essence of moments in nature. Caldecott Honoree Muth (Zen Shorts, 2005) employs both, with the help of his playful panda Koo, to present 26 moments through the seasons. Though light in tone and geared toward pre-reader eyes and interests, the mostly outdoor scenes Muth depicts command serious attention from all. The first page simultaneously demonstrates both Muth’s adherence to haiku’s three-line form rather than its traditional five-seven-five syllabic sequence and his exquisite use of white space. “Autumn, / are you dreaming / of new clothes?” reads the text as Koo reaches up to try to catch a handful of falling leaves. One of the few scenes referencing indoor living hilariously comes in early spring: “too much TV this winter / my eyes are square / let’s go Out and play.” Two children and Koo stand in front of a large television, the whites of the children’s eyes boxed and zombielike and Koo’s, two solid black squares. A more reflective, deeply moving spring moment finds the children alone with a book in the woods, Muth’s delicate watercolor and subtle inking deftly suggesting the forest’s shifting scope. Throughout, condensed poetic image coupled with spare illustration yields huge effect; in a word, magical. (Picture book/poetry. 3 & up)

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BOOK 7:

Two Hands to Love You

Written by Diane Adams; Illustrated by Paige Kaiser (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is one of those picture books that tugs at your heartstrings and you have to try to keep your emotions together not to cry when you read it to your children.  Beautiful!

B&N.com Overview:

I’ll bathe you in bubbles and soak you in sun,

then wrap you up tightly when bath time is done.

With two loving hands, an adoring mother cradles her baby after bath time and a devoted father lifts his newborn to look into a nest. Sister, brother, grandma, and grandpa all can’t wait to share what they love best with their newest family member. And when it is time to step out into the world, this caring family is right there alongside their littlest one. In simple, heartfelt language, this soothing picture book for the very young will tug at the heartstrings and remind us all of the caring hands that helped us along our way.

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BOOK 8:

Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure

Written and Illustrated by Anna Walker  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

Peggy the Hen has quite an adventure, making new friends along the way.  Lovely paintings enhance this picture book, also with an undertone to teaching children resourcefulness.

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2014-01-29

A charmer of a chicken has a big adventure in this import from Australia. Peggy is a hen contented with her life in a sweet, small (hen) house that occupies the sunflower-bedecked yard of a suburban home. Understated text reveals her daily routine of breakfast, play in the backyard and pigeon watching, and accompanying ink-and–photo-collage illustrations humorously depict her eating from a bowl, jumping on a trampoline and gazing at pigeons. The little hen meets a challenge when a gust of wind sends her sailing off the trampoline, out of the safety of her yard and into a bustling city. A stunning wordless spread that doubles as cover art then shows her walking amid a crowd of pedestrians, umbrellas aloft. “Peggy watched, hopped, jumped, twirled, and tasted,” and droll art expands on these simple verbs with delightful vignettes. In keeping with the classic home-away-home plot arc, Peggy grows homesick and hopefully follows a city dweller carrying sunflowers like those from her yard. Forlorn when this plan fails, she is heartened by the appearance of pigeons that helpfully shepherd her home. In a pitch-perfect resolution, Peggy resumes her routine, but instead of just watching the pigeons, she now chats with them, and the final page turn assures readers that she sometimes catches “the train to the city.” Here’s hoping that Peggy has many more big adventures. (Picture book. 3-7)

 

 

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BOOK 9:

You Were The First

Written by Patricia MacLachlan; Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This picture book is a touching tribute to those unforgettable milestones of your baby’s “firsts”.  This would make a memorable new baby gift.  I purchased a copy to give to my firstborn son, who is now the father of my two-year old granddaughter, Danielle.

Children’s Literature –

First-borns can feel a little insecure when they learn that a new brother or sister is on the way. This picture book is designed to help them overcome that feeling, and to reassure them of their parent’s love. The story reminds the child about all the “firsts” that he experienced: the first smile, the first laugh, the first step, the first snow-angel, and many more. But by far, the most important “first” was that he taught his mom and dad how to be parents. There are two or three short sentences on every other page. The text is accompanied by full-page illustrations done in pastel colors with dashes of bright colors here and there. The pictures of the mother, father, and son are charming, and the portrayal of the dog is quite endearing. A simple, comforting book, it should be a favorite in households preparing to welcome another child. Reviewer: Leona Illig

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BOOK 10:

The Odd One Out

A Spotting Book

Written and Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

My children loved “seek & find” books as they were growing up.  They will still enjoy this little treasure, even as adults!  I greatly enjoy the art of this picture book!

Kirkus Reviews:

2014-01-22

In this classic take on a hunt for the odd one out, Teckentrup creates elegant Escher-like wallpapers of prints depicting a varied selection of interesting animals. Creatures depicted include bats, camels, seals, tortoises, ostriches, pandas, rhinos, monkeys, flamingos, fish, lemurs, penguins and butterflies. Rhyming verses on the left-hand page of each spread challenge readers to spot the difference in the full-page repeating patterns of animal prints on each right-hand page. The final spread conceals a new animal among all the by-now familiar ones. Subtle coloration and textures and thoughtfully chosen background colors give the pages a hand-printed feel, in spite of the repetitive nature of the illustrations. Trying to spot the odd one out will keep children busy for quite a while, as some of the puzzles are hard to spot. (Even grown-ups may have a hard time finding the “silly lemur” looking at his own nose!) The wallpaper-pattern format determines the size of the illustrations, thus limiting readership to individuals or smaller groups. Although the verses tend toward doggerel rather than fine poetry, and are at times grammatically questionable, the very young and their adult readers will improve their differentiation skills while having fun spotting the odd ones out. (Picture book. 2-5)

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BOOK 11:

How To Babysit Grandma

Written by Jean Reagan; Illustrated by Lee Wildish (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

I have been anxiously waiting for the release of this picture book since I reviewed “How To Babysit Grandpa” last year!  This is another hit and a good heartwarming look at the modern day Grandma/Grandchild relationship.  I love it and it has been immediately added to my picture book library collection!

School Library Journal:

02/01/2014

PreS-Gr 2—In a companion to Reagan’s How to Babysit a Grandpa (Knopf, 2012), a young girl heads over to her grandma’s house for a sleepover babysitting session-with the child providing clear and humorous instructions to readers on how to care for a grandma. The to-do list contains many choices for Grandma to select from, including a walk to the park, reading, taking photos, playing dress-up, and adding sugary sprinkles to her meal items. The child wisely allows plenty of time for Grandma to look at the pages while reading a book, peek at the stars, and choose the best spot to sleep. Any grown-up who has calmly been the object of a child’s flights of fancy will chuckle at the scenarios, as Grandma, never mugging or rolling her eyes, participates fully and patiently in all of her granddaughter’s ideas. The full-color digital art is bright, and sharp-eyed children will delight in the details, including the silly antics of Grandma’s dog. While this book breaks no new ground, the charm of its premise and the clear bond between the generations will have kids and grandparents giggling together.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI

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BOOK 12:

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

Written and Illustrated by Kate Samsworth  (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

I have saved my favorite new picture book for last!

When my fellow bookseller and friend, Liza, placed this in my hands, my whole spine began to tingle with that feeling… it is that thrill of knowing you are about to open a book that is simply going to blow you away! I cannot express how brilliantly illustrated this picture book’s oil painted spreads truly are. While the illustrations are breathtaking, you are also learning wonderful facts about different types of birds.  This picture book would be more appropriate for older children, or adults, like me, who truly appreciate picture book art as a true art form!

Kirkus Reviews:

02/01/2014

PreS-Gr 2—In a companion to Reagan’s How to Babysit a Grandpa (Knopf, 2012), a young girl heads over to her grandma’s house for a sleepover babysitting session-with the child providing clear and humorous instructions to readers on how to care for a grandma. The to-do list contains many choices for Grandma to select from, including a walk to the park, reading, taking photos, playing dress-up, and adding sugary sprinkles to her meal items. The child wisely allows plenty of time for Grandma to look at the pages while reading a book, peek at the stars, and choose the best spot to sleep. Any grown-up who has calmly been the object of a child’s flights of fancy will chuckle at the scenarios, as Grandma, never mugging or rolling her eyes, participates fully and patiently in all of her granddaughter’s ideas. The full-color digital art is bright, and sharp-eyed children will delight in the details, including the silly antics of Grandma’s dog. While this book breaks no new ground, the charm of its premise and the clear bond between the generations will have kids and grandparents giggling together.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI

 

 

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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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