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Picture book sequels you’ve been waiting for

Young children often latch on to particular characters or stories they love, so it’s little surprise that we see many familiar faces return in new picture book adventures. Here are four entertaining sequels sure to delight fans.

becker_questQuest — the second in Aaron Becker’s planned wordless trilogy — opens in the present-day city where we last saw the girl and boy from Journey with their magic red and purple crayons. The surprise arrival of an old man and his seizure by soldiers prompts the children to return to Journey‘s fantastical land. The kids undertake various quests to collect additional crayons that are used to make a rainbow and save the old man. Becker’s illustrations are satisfyingly lush and full of subtle clues that will reward multiple readings. (Candlewick, 4–8 years)

bingham_circle square mooseIn Circle, Square, Moose, the Z Is for Moose star is up to his old tricks, forcing his way into another concept book (this time about shapes). Moose takes a bite out of the sandwich the book was using to illustrate squares. “Hey! Don’t eat that!” says an offstage narrator. Moose proves ever more disruptive, even as his old friend Zebra comes to try to save the day. Author Kelly Bingham stays true to her silly characters, while illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky expertly juxtaposes the expected orderliness of a book with the chaos caused by Moose’s interruption. (Greenwillow, 4–8 years)

willems_pigeon needs a bathAfter seven picture books, Mo Willems’s Pigeon needs little introduction…but he does need a bath (even if he feels differently). In The Pigeon Needs a Bath!, the melodramatic Pigeon cycles through a range of reactions to the situation before, finally, conceding defeat. The crisply designed pages put focus on the expressively drawn Pigeon, while speech bubble text helps convey tone. The final two spreads will resonate with parents who, after cajoling their own dirty birds into the tub, have to expend the same energy getting them back out. For kids, though, it’s just good, clean fun. (Hyperion, 3–5 years)

yum_twins' little sisterThose strong-willed sisters from The Twins’ Blanket are back in The Twins’ Little Sister, a fresh take on both the sibling-rivalry and new-baby themes. Ever competitive, they are now fighting over Mom’s attention when, despite their objections, Mom brings home a new baby sister. Author/illustrator Hyewon Yum’s twins are believably childlike in their directness and self-centeredness. Each step forward in accepting the baby has its source in a self-interested motive, but accept her they finally do — and the twist at the end is both funny and fitting. Collage elements add texture and interest to the gouache illustrations. (Farrar/Foster, 3–5 years)

From the September 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

Cynthia K. Ritter About Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is associate editor of The Horn Book Guide. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons College.



  1. I’m also thrilled at the release of Bonny Becker’s A LIBRARY BOOK FOR BEAR. Bear, Mouse, and a library — what could be more perfect? Oh, I know: the addition of pickles and pirates. It must be read to be believed!

  2. All great for sure. I’d venture add Edward Hemingway’s “Bad Apple’s Bad Day” as another sequel of prominence.

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