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Recommended Preschool Books: Families

atinuke_double trouble for anna hibiscusAtinuke Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!
32 pp. Kane/Miller 2015. ISBN 978-1-61067-367-9

Illustrated by Lauren Tobia. In her latest picture book, Anna (Splash, Anna Hibiscus!) adjusts to the arrival of twin baby brothers, or “Double Trouble.” The story follows her struggles with the family’s diverted attentions immediately after the births: “You will have to share us with your brothers, Anna,” Papa tells her. Tobia’s sunny-side-up illustrations feature an interracial, extended family in a nonspecific African setting.
Subjects: Preschool; Babies; Family—Siblings; Family—Twins; Africa; Family; Mixed-race people

blackall_baby treeBlackall, Sophie The Baby Tree
40 pp. Penguin/Paulsen (Penguin Young Readers Group) 2014. ISBN 978-0-399-25718-6

After learning he’s going to be a big brother, a boy asks various grownups (babysitter, teacher, grandfather) where babies come from. At bedtime, Mom and Dad provide a very basic, concise explanation. Blackall’s text is straightforward, calm, and reassuring. Her Chinese-ink and watercolor illustrations feature cherubic, rosy-cheeked, cute-as-a-button babies of different ethnicities. An appended page provides suggestions for adults addressing the same question.
Subjects: Preschool; Sexuality; Questions and answers; Babies; Pregnancy; Humorous stories

child_new small personChild, Lauren The New Small Person
32 pp. Candlewick 2015. ISBN 978-0-7636-7810-4

Young Elmore Green’s worldview is upended by the arrival of a baby sibling. As the baby grows bigger — and bossier and peskier — so does Elmore’s resentment. The “small person” finally proves worthwhile by bravely shooing away big-bro’s nightmare. Child (creator of Charlie and Lola) is no stranger to fraught sibling dynamics; her mixed-media collages sympathetically reflect the experiences of a no-longer-only child.
Subjects: Preschool; Babies; Family—Siblings

dominguez_santiago staysDominguez, Angela Santiago Stays
32 pp. Abrams/Abrams Appleseed 2013. ISBN 978-1-4197-0821-3

A boy wants to take his dog for a walk, but, confoundingly, Santiago refuses. The reason for Santiago’s stubbornness is eventually revealed: he’s watching over the baby. “Good boy, Santiago.” The illustrations, in pencil, marker, ink, tissue paper, and digital color, capture the boy’s persistence and the bulldog’s dug-in resistance; the warm palette is perfect for this affection-filled, simple, and satisfying family story.
Subjects: Preschool; Animals—Dogs; Pets; Behavior—Stubbornness; Babies

dyckman_wolfie the bunnyDyckman, Ame Wolfie the Bunny
32 pp. Little 2015. ISBN 978-0-316-22614-1

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora. Dot isn’t pleased when a baby wolf foundling is left on the Bunny family’s doorstop—”HE’S GOING TO EAT US ALL UP!” Her smitten parents ignore her. At the market, however, Wolfie is a boon to his big sister when a bear lunges toward them yelling, “DINNER!” The text’s humor keeps scariness in check; cartoonish acrylic paintings with comical touches match the tone.
Subjects: Preschool; Babies; Animals—Rabbits; Animals—Wolves; Adoption; Animal babies; Family—Siblings

families_shannon_one-familyShannon, George One Family
32 pp. Farrar/Foster 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-30003-6

Illustrated by Blanca Gómez. In this loving concept book about the multitudes contained in the number one (“One is five. One bunch of bananas. One hand of cards. One family”), lyrical text and warm illustrations depict diverse families ranging from one member to ten. A final spread brings the families together, their interactions underlined by the conclusion that “one is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”
Subjects: Preschool; Concept books—Counting books; Family

shea_dinosaur vs. mommyShea, Bob Dinosaur vs. Mommy
32 pp. Disney/Hyperion 2015. ISBN 978-1-4231-6086-1

In his sixth showdown, feisty Dinosaur challenges Mommy all day long, and “Dinosaur wins!” every time. The emphatic text and bold illustrations reflect Dinosaur’s exuberance; the art also makes the most of the humorous situations. “Is Mommy down for the count?” Not quite. With a kiss, “Mommy wins!” This take on the mother/toddler dynamic will have both sides roaring with laughter.

Subjects: Preschool; Behavior—Helpfulness; Prehistoric life—Dinosaurs; Family—Mother and child; Humorous stories

wells_use your words sophie2Wells, Rosemary Use Your Words, Sophie!
24 pp. Viking 2015. ISBN 978-0-670-01663-1

Mouse-child Sophie (Sophie’s Terrible Twos) welcomes her new baby sister home in Jellyfish language; she growls in Hyena language. Her distracted parents don’t listen: “use your words!” Then Granny greets Sophie in Martian — and Sophie doesn’t need the disruptive behavior. It’s Sophie’s words that finally calm the howling baby. Sophie and Granny’s special relationship comes across warmly in both text and pictures.
Subjects: Preschool; Babies; Family—Siblings; Communication; Family—Grandmothers; Names

yum_twins' little sisterYum, Hyewon The Twins’ Little Sister
40 pp. Farrar/Foster 2014. ISBN 978-0-374-37973-5

Those strong-willed sisters from The Twins’ Blanket are fighting over Mom’s attention. The situation worsens when Mom brings home a new baby sister. Yum’s twins are believably childlike in their directness and their unshakable belief that the world revolves around them. Collage elements add texture and interest to the gouache illustrations. This is a fresh take on both the sibling-rivalry and new-baby themes.
Subjects: Preschool; Babies; Family—Siblings; Family—Twins; Family—Mother and child; Competition

From the December 2015 issue of What Makes a Good…?: “What Makes a Good Preschool Book?”

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