New Picture Books For An Autumn Day!

October 3, 2015

Dear Picture Book Friends,

Time is whizzing by much too quickly these days! I now have 4 grandchildren, which is hard to believe since I began this book blog in honor of my 1st grandchild, who is now 3 ½. They keep this Grammy hopping but I love every minute of it! There is rarely a day that I don’t get to see them and they almost always ask me to read them a book when they are at my house! They all love books and it makes me incredibly happy!!

I have missed getting to post about some newer picture books that I have enjoyed since my last post. There have been some great ones that have been released in these last few months, so I hope you enjoy reading about them! Please check them out at your local library or bookstore.

Be watching for my SUPER HOLIDAY EDITION of new picture books you won’t want to miss this season!

Happy reading,




You’re Here for a Reason

Written and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Nancy Tillman has been one of my favorite picture book author/illustrators for quite some time. I was anticipating this new one for almost a whole year and counting down daily by the final month of its release! Her books touch my heart, as I am sure this one will yours.

Publishers Weekly:

Tillman (The Heaven of Animals) pairs her characteristically cheerful exhortations with layered mixed-media artwork in which startlingly real-looking children and animals play. The children dance with tigers, play soccer with kangaroos, and cuddle with pandas as Tillman assures readers that every life has a purpose: “Life works together, the good and the bad,/ the silly and awful, and happy and sad,/ to paint a big picture we can’t always see…/ a picture that needs you, most definitely.” In this interconnected world, she suggests, children’s good deeds have effects that they may never know about (“A kindness, for instance, may triple for days…/ or set things in motion in different ways”). She pictures the good deeds and the distance they travel as a boy, accompanied by a blue elephant, lets go of his colorful, long-tailed kite. A fox uses it as a sled for her kits, and the ribbons become a bridle for a moose and adorn a bird’s nest, which serves as a boat for a ferret. Polished artwork and character-building verse make this just as desirable as Tillman’s previous books. Ages 4–8. Agent: Cathy Hemming, Cathy Hemming Literary Agency (Sept.)



The Queen’s Hat

Written and Illustrated by Steve Antony (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Who doesn’t love a good chase? When a gust of wind takes off with the Queen’s, the chase is on! Cute story and kept us giggling!

Publishers Weekly:


Antony (Please, Mr. Panda) returns with a diversion as tasty as tea and scones. The Queen of England sets off from the palace on her way “to visit someone very special” (the new royal infant, readers are meant to understand). She strides along in her trademark sensible shoes and coat, a prim corgi by her side, when the wind blows “the Queen’s favorite hat right off her head.” The Coldstream Guards, in their red jackets and huge fur hats, rush to her rescue, chasing pell-mell after the hat, but the wind carries it still higher. In a series of gloriously deadpan spreads, ever-growing numbers of guards (and the Queen) clamber across one of the Trafalgar lions, pack like clowns into the London Underground, tramp across the London Bridge, swarm up Big Ben, and rise right up into the air before everyone lands as safely as Mary Poppins, under their own umbrellas. The book’s charm comes from the Keystone Kops–like effect of seeing so many dignified, uniformed figures descend into distinctly undignified chaos. It’s a trim, stylish story tailor-made for Anglophiles. Ages 3–5. (Aug.)



A B See

Written and Illustrated by Elizabeth Doyle (2015)

Available in Board Book and eReader Editions

It’s not often that I review a Picture Board Book, but this one was too beautiful to not be included. My grandchildren are all loving ABC books right now. This one has each letter made up of little hidden pictures of items that begin with its letter. You have to see it to really get it, but we have spent many afternoons after naptime reading this one!

School Library Journal:


PreS—This handsome and rich abecedarian has a single alliterative line of text for each letter, which boldly appears center stage on the page. Each uppercase letter is formed by an assemblage of stamps, woodcuts, and marginalia showcasing words that begin with the featured letter. For example, “Bear bounces a basketball” appears on the “B” page, which is comprised of images for 39 “B” words to identify (they are all listed at the back). This search-and-find vocabulary-builder will provide hours of fun poring over images and possibly inspire young makers to craft assemblages of their own.



Ask Me

Written by Bernard Waber; Illustrated by Suzy Lee (2015)

Available in Hardcover

A heartwarming father/daughter story with beautiful illustrations! I will be reading this one with my little ones again and again!

Publishers Weekly:

★ 04/27/2015

In this posthumously published tale by Waber, best known for his Lyle the Crocodile books, a girl directs a conversation with her father. “Ask me what I like,” she says. “What do you like?” he asks. Lee (Open This Little Book) pictures the duo on a park outing, and the girl delights in falling leaves as she admires the natural surroundings (“I like geese in the sky. No, in the water. I like both”). After naming many favorite things, she gets more specific: “How come birds build nests?” Her father warmly responds, “All right, how come birds build nests?” sustaining the give-and-take. The girl’s words appear in black type and the father’s in dark blue, so readers know who is speaking despite the untagged dialogue and lack of quotation marks. Taking advantage of negative space to emphasize a bright sky, people’s faces, and the girl’s swingy dress, Lee lines the characters in charcoal-gray pencil and frames the pages in scribbles of maple-leaf red, autumnal gold, and denim blue. The easygoing verbal exchange and affectionate visuals celebrate a close father-daughter relationship while recognizing beauty in everyday simplicity. Ages 4–8. (July)



Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine

Written by Frances Poletti; Illustrated by Kristina Yee (2015)

Available in Hardcover

Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine was inspired by the Student Academy Award®-winning animated short film Miss Todd and the real life story of Miss Lily Todd—the first woman in the world to build and design an airplane. This is more suited for older, school-aged children.

Publishers Weekly:


Based on the authors’ stop-motion animated short film, this story about Lily Todd, the first woman to design and build a plane, is illustrated with photographs of paper puppets in model sets. Growing up at the turn of the 20th century, Todd developed an early fascination with flight and, at her Grandpa Joe’s urging, learned everything she could through books and model-making. After Todd was rejected from universities because of her gender, philanthropist Olivia Sage gave her space to build a full-size flying machine. The photographed scenes dominate, sometimes divided into panels to graphic-novel-like effect. Skillful use of shadow and lighting gives the scenes theatricality, while the puppets themselves evoke powerful emotions. Despite the restrictions Todd faced, the collaborators emphasize her passion and perseverance: “When she was soaring high above the clouds, flying free with the wind in her hair, she knew that nothing could hold her down—not even gravity.” An invented scene in which Todd sneaks onto her plane after being denied the chance to fly it, which the book fails to identify as fiction, is the only strike against this richly imagined tribute. Ages 4–up. (June)



The Whisper

Written and Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

The theme of this book is the magic of reading! And the illustrations are just beautiful works of art! What could be better?

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2015-07-15

A “magical book” on loan from her teacher loses its words on the trip home, so a little girl spins her own stories for each enchanting picture. Seeing the letters tumble from the binding, a fox encourages her, whispering, “Remember: beginnings, middles, and ends of stories can always be changed and imagined differently.” Readers join in, captivated by a series of spellbinding illustrations whose strangeness, recurring imagery (crowns, rabbits, wheels, bees, honeycombs, stars, suns, moons, teacups), expansiveness, and downright beauty beg for unbridled storytelling. The little girl sits crouched in the lower corner of each page, chin in hand, her eyes scanning the very same spreads that dazzle readers. A conversation emerges, in which the girl and readers volley narration, with increasing confidence and intensifying specificity. The girl submits, “As instructed, we arrived at exactly 3:33. One four-leaf clover and a large pot of hot, steeping tea had been purposely placed near the entrance of the woods,” and then trails off with ellipses….Readers’ cerebral wheels will continue to spin, providing a resolution of their own—perhaps aloud to a caregiver or maybe just inside their own heads. Surreal, staggering mixed-media paintings make traveling across such beautifully varied and bizarre storyscapes exhilarating. (Picture book. 4-8)




Written and Illustrated by Kevin Henkes (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is sure to be another classic by Kevin Henkes! It is a perfect tale of patience for the young set!

Publishers Weekly:

★ 06/08/2015

Waiting can make anyone feel helpless and frustrated, so the five toylike knickknacks in Henkes’s (Penny and Her Marble) story should be at their collective wits’ end. Perched on a windowsill, this odd, diminutive crew—a pig with an umbrella, a bear with a kite, a puppy attached to a sled, a rabbit on an accordion spring, and an owl—have little volition of their own (“Sometimes one or the other of them went away, but he or she always came back”). But while their lives are spent waiting, their existence seems full and rich with meaning. Waiting reinforces their sense of identity: the pig waits for the rain and when it comes, “the pig was happy. The umbrella kept her dry.” Waiting also connects them to each other: looking out the window together, “they saw many wonderful, interesting things,” like frost on the windowpane or a sky lit up with fireworks. Henkes never tells readers explicitly what he’s up to, and several incidents are wide open to interpretation—and that’s what makes this enigmatic, lovely book intriguing and inimitable. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)



Imaginary Fred

Written by Eoin Colfer; Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (2015)

Available in Hardcover

A new picture book by a pair of the finest picture book collaborators of our time! This is a quirky book about having an imaginary friend.

Publishers Weekly:

★ 07/06/2015

In this smart collaboration, Colfer and Jeffers introduce Fred, a seasoned imaginary friend. Fred knows the drill: he keeps lonely children company until a human friend appears, then clears out (“Usually by lunchtime on the second day, Fred would be mostly invisible”). Jeffers’s spidery vignettes are perfectly synced to Colfer’s bubbly, confiding narrative, and he underscores Fred’s evanescent nature by giving him a body of half-tone aqua dots that deepen and fade. Secretly, Fred pines for a forever friend; his current human assignee, Sam, shares all of his interests—reading, music, playacting. When Sam meets a girl named Sammi, Fred is downcast, especially when Sam leaves a note that says he and Sammi are working on a comic book. “Comic book? thought Fred. That was our idea. Me and Sam.” But Sammi has her own imaginary friend, Frieda (her half-tone mesh is yellow), and the four thrive. There’s always anguish when a close friend finds someone new, but Colfer and Jeffers show that shuffling allegiances can sometimes multiply the fun. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Sophie Hicks, Sophie Hicks Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Paul Moreton, Bell, Lomax, Moreton Agency. (Sept.)




Written by Jenny Offill; Illustrated by Appelhans (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is a picture book that I initially missed, thus didn’t get a chance to review it. When I drag my best friend around with me to read picture books in bookshops, she is happy to help me even though she isn’t a Grammy yet. This is one we laughed over and still talk about. I don’t know how I missed it before but I am glad I found it!

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2014-01-04

Quietly dry humor marks this story about a most unusual pet. An unassuming girl looks straight out at readers and explains her desire for a pet. She’s not fussy, but she can’t make it happen: “My mother said no to the bird. / No to the bunny. / No, no, no to the trained seal.” Finally her mother consents—sort of: She agrees to any pet “as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.” After some library research, “[m]y sloth arrived by Express Mail.” Here it gets really funny. The girl waits two days, standing in moonlight and rain next to Sparky’s backyard tree, before he even awakens. She teaches him games: “We played King of the Mountain / and I won. // We played Hide-and-Seek / and I won.” Sparky never moves a muscle. Sitting on the grass, he’s stock-still; on his tree branch, he lies motionless (atop the branch, inexplicably but adorably, not hanging down in sloth fashion). Even his expression’s comically immobile. Training sessions and a performance proceed—um—at Sparky’s pace, but a beautiful closing illustration of girl and sloth together on his branch shows how close they’ve grown. Appelhans uses blue and pinky-brown watercolors and pencil on creamy background to create understated humor and affection with a light touch. A serene, funny addition to the new-pet genre. (Picture book. 3-6)

BOOK 10:

Ninja Babies


Written and Illustrated by Matt Vincent (2015)

A friend and former bookseller, Matt is an extremely talented artist/illustrator. He started a Kickstarter campaign to get funds to publish his book. Matt enjoys teaching children to draw, so a unique feature of his book is a tutorial at the end on how to draw a Ninja. It is a super cute book that I wish him the best in getting published and an audience! Please watch the book trailer below and consider helping get this published! Thank you!!


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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