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Review of Good Guys, Bad Guys

Good Guys, Bad Guys by Joanne Rocklin; illus. by Nancy Carpenter Preschool, Primary    Abrams    32 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-4197-3417-5    $16.99 Rocklin and Carpenter present a ­rollicking homage to neighborhood kid–­summertime play. The story begins on the title-page spread as two children get ready to greet the morning. On the left-hand...

Review of Bo the Brave

Bo the Brave by Bethan Woollvin; illus. by the author Primary    Peachtree    32 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-68263-182-9    $17.99 When Bo’s two older brothers, Erik and Ivan, set off from the castle on a quest to hunt a monster, they refuse to allow her to join, sneering that she’s too little....

Review of The Blue House

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-9336-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9337-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9338-3    $10.99 Wahl’s picture book tells an affecting story about loss and starting over. In it, interdependent text and art channel a Molly Bang–like artistic style...

Review of We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illus. by Michaela Goade Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-250-20355-7    $17.99 The book opens with a young Indigenous girl collecting water with her grandmother, who tells her that “water is the first medicine.” Vibrant blues, greens, and purples depict the river...

Review of Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari; illus. by Jonathan Voss Primary    Putnam    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-399-54842-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-54843-7    $9.99 Readers follow a pair of great horned owls and their owlets from winter into the next autumn in this life-cycle narrative told in haiku....

Review of Everyone's Awake

Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy; illus. by Shawn Harris Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7805-9    $17.99 Meloy and Harris depict one family’s anarchical bedtime routine within their ramshackle lighthouse-esque domicile. ­Rollicking rhymes, narrated by a young family member, set the scene: “We all got / tucked in early. / A...

Review of Jules vs. the Ocean

Jules vs. the Ocean by Jessie Sima; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Simon    48 pp. 5/20    978-1-5344-4168-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4169-9    $10.99 Intent on impressing her older sister at the beach, Jules plans to build a big sandcastle. When the waves foil her plans, she assumes “the Ocean” is...

Review of A New Green Day

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the author Preschool    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 4/20    978-0-8234-4488-5    $18.99 In this exuberant celebration of a summer day, readers engage with compelling page-turns to solve simple nature riddles. “Morning lays me on your pillow,” the book opens, “square and warm. Come out...

Review of Where's Baby?

Where’s Baby? by Anne Hunter; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Tundra    40 pp. 1/20    978-0-7352-6498-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7352-6499-1    $10.99 “Have you seen Baby, Mama Fox?” Mama Fox feels certain Baby is “somewhere,” and so Papa Fox begins the search, like a game of hide-and-seek. “Ba-by! Are you indoors?...

Review of A Stopwatch from Grampa

A Stopwatch from Grampa by Loretta Garbutt; illus. by Carmen Mok Primary    Kids Can    40 pp. 4/20    978-1-5253-0144-5    $17.99 “When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch. I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” The accompanying illustration shows a child sitting all alone on a porch swing, bereft. We next...

Review of Kaia and the Bees

Kaia and the Bees by Maribeth Boelts; illus. by Angela Dominguez Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 3/20    978-1-5362-0105-5    $16.99 Kaia knows that she should appreciate bees, and she would if she weren’t so scared of them. It doesn’t help that her apiarist father cares for two hives on the roof...

Review of Big Papa and the Time Machine

Big Papa and the Time Machine by Daniel Bernstrom; illus. by Shane W. Evans Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-246331-9    $17.99 As Big Papa drives his (unnamed) grandson to school, he learns that the child would rather not go because he’s scared. The solution? Big Papa’s “time machine” — visually...

Review of The Camping Trip

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    56 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-5362-0736-1    $17.99 City-dweller Ernestine has never been camping, but when Aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha invite her, she gets her dad’s okay and starts preparing: new flashlight and sleeping bag, a homemade batch...

Review of Rita & Ralph's Rotten Day

Rita & Ralph’s Rotten Day by Carmen Agra Deedy; illus. by Pete Oswald Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-338-21638-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59927-5    $10.99 Rita and Ralph are best friends. Each day they meet at the apple tree midway between their houses and play games together. One day the...

Review of Green on Green

Green on Green by Dianne White; illus. by Felicita Sala Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-4814-6278-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6279-2    $10.99 Do we need another picture book about the seasons? When it’s this good, the answer is an emphatic yes. White’s text is written in eminently readable...

Review of In My Anaana's Amautik

In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok; illus. by Lenny Lishchenko Preschool    Inhabit Media    24 pp. 4/20    978-1-77227-252-9    $16.95 A baby’s perspective of being held in its anaana’s (mother’s) amautik (“the pouch in the back of a woman’s parka where a baby can be carried”) is explored in lulling, sensory-rich...

Review of See Me Play

See Me Play [I Like to Read] by Paul Meisel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 6/19    978-0-8234-3832-7    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4314-7    $9.99 The amiable yellow dog from Meisel’s previous entries in the estimable I Like to Read series (including Meisel’s Geisel Honor–winning See Me Run) returns...

Review of Hike

Hike by Pete Oswald; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-5362-0157-4    $17.99 A new day dawns as a father wakes his child so they can head out from their city home into the country to go on a daylong hike. They see all sorts of...

Review of Summer Song

Summer Song by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 4/20    978-0-06-286613-4    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-286614-1    $19.89 Henkes and Dronzek complete their seasonal quartet (beginning with When Spring Comes, rev. 3/16) with a joyful ode celebrating summer and its myriad natural wonders and seasonal sights and sounds....

Review of Lift

Lift by Minh Lê; illus. by Dan Santat Primary    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-03692-4    $17.99 Lê and Santat (Drawn Together, rev. 7/18) present another story focused on everyday familial relationships, expressed through concise writing and extraordinary visuals. As young Iris waits for an elevator with her family in...

Review of Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story

Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story by Nikki Tate; illus. by Katie Kath Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 3/20    978-0-8234-3663-7    $18.99 Although our two protagonists spend little of the book together, they are connected throughout by their hard work and achievement. This family of two starts the day in a groggy daze...

Review of My Mama

My Mama by Annemarie van Haeringen; illus. by the author; trans. from Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke Preschool    Gecko    32 pp. 3/20    978-1-776572-67-0    $17.99 Told from the baby’s point of view (“I’ve known my mama for a long time”), this playful offering explores, through two elephant characters, the strong emotional bond...

Review of Mama Baby

Mama Baby by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-7636-9060-1    $14.99 In this artfully composed picture book, Raschka gets to the emotional core of the relationship between a young child and a trusted adult. Mama, on the verso, looks adoringly at her child, a...

Review of One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    48 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-338-35997-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59929-9    $11.99 This wordless story follows a family and a paper bag through the generations. A tree becomes a log that gets hauled to a paper mill,...

Review of The Cool Bean

The Cool Bean by Jory John; illus. by Pete Oswald Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp. 12/19    978-0-06-295452-7    $18.99 This third collaboration about an endearing food staple features John’s and Oswald’s trademark humor-wrapped-around-a-message that made The Bad Seed and The Good Egg (rev. 3/19) so entertaining. This time it’s a cool-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder tale...

Review of ¡Vamos!: Let's Go Eat

¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-55704-9    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33070-7    $9.99 Little Lobo and his canine sidekick Bernabé, whom we met in ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market (rev. 3/19), are getting ready...

Review of The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-5362-1112-2    $16.99 Tooth fairy sisters April and Esme (April and Esme, Tooth Fairies, rev. 9/10), along with dog Ariel and new baby brother Vincent, are fluttering in for a sleepover with...

Review of What Color Is Night?

What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider; illus. by the author Preschool    Chronicle    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-4521-7992-6    $15.99 “What color is night? / Is it only black… / and white?” So begins an evocative picture book that urges young viewers to “look closer” at the night — to see, for...

Review of I'm Brave! I'm Strong! I'm Five!

I’m Brave! I’m Strong! I’m Five! by Cari Best; illus. by Boris Kulikov Preschool, Primary    Ferguson/Holiday    32 pp. 10/19    978-0-8234-4362-8    $18.99 In this intrepid bedtime story, an independent young girl confronts and overcomes her fear of the dark by reminding herself, “I’m brave! I’m strong! I’m five!” It’s time for...

Review of Brown Baby Lullaby

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown; illus. by AG Ford Preschool    Farrar    32 pp.    g 1/20    978-0-374-30752-3    $16.99 Chronicling the nighttime routine of a family, Brown has penned a bedtime story that is immediately warm and relatable for families with young children. We follow an Afro-Latinx couple as they...

Review of Goodnight, Veggies

Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray; illus. by Zachariah OHora Preschool    Houghton    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-86683-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33076-9    $12.99 As the sun sets over a rooftop community garden, it’s time for the garden’s vegetables to get some rest. “Turnips tucked in tightly. / Potatoes closing eyes. / Tuckered-out...

Review of Do I Have to Wear a Coat?: A Journey Through the Seasons

Do I Have to Wear a Coat?: A Journey Through the Seasons by Rachel Isadora; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-525-51660-6    $17.99 Isadora’s (I Hear a Pickle, rev. 1/16) characteristic ink and watercolor art uses vignettes set against white backgrounds to show children joyfully...

Review of Almost Time

Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney; illus. by G. Brian Karas Preschool, Primary    Clarion    32 pp.    g 1/20    978-0-544-78581-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16693-1    $12.99 Waiting for spring can wear on one’s patience, but readers may find comfort sharing the burden with Ethan and his (apparently single-parent) father,...

Review of Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail

Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail by Lesléa Newman, illus. by Susan Gal Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 1/20    978-1-58089-882-9    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-742-8    $9.99 On Passover, inside his warm and cozy house, a boy waits expectantly for his family’s Seder. Outdoors, a kitten waits alone for the moon...

Review of The Old Truck

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Preschool, Primary    Norton    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-324-00519-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00520-9    $12.15 The author-illustrator brothers tell the story of a family farm and the truck that assists with chores. As the hard-working truck ages, so does the...

Review of My Best Friend

My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Jillian Tamaki Preschool    Atheneum    32 pp. 3/20    978-1-5344-2722-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2723-5    $10.99 What begins on the title spread as a small redheaded girl hesitantly approaching another girl on a tire swing becomes an ode to making friends. Our narrator gleefully shares this discovered joy:...

Review of A Girl like Me

A Girl like Me by Angela Johnson; illus. by Nina Crews Preschool, Primary    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5415-5777-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-7891-3    $18.99 It seems not even the sky’s the limit for the imaginative, adventurous, inventive girls depicted in this inspirational picture book. Johnson’s upbeat text, paired with Crews’s...

Review of Just like a Mama

Just like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan; illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Preschool, Primary    Millner/Simon    32 pp. 1/20    978-1-5344-6183-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6184-0    $10.99 An homage to all the African American women who are mothering children not biologically their own. Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose because “Mommy...

Review of Johnny's Pheasant

Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett Primary    Minnesota    32 pp.    g 11/19    978-1-5179-0501-9    $16.95 Minnema (a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Flett (of Cree-Métis descent) present an engaging and humorous intergenerational story of patience, hope, and surprise. Johnny spots a motionless pheasant in...

Review of Pluto Gets the Call

Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illus. by Laurie Keller Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-5344-1453-2    $17.99 e-book ed.   978-1-5344-1454-9    $10.99 Rex and Keller dramatize Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet status in this smart and playful offering of informational comedy. Rex’s wry and engaging text is told completely...

Beyond Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month beyond February with the following recent picture book biographies of inspiring Black figures, recommended for sharing with young readers all year long.   Anderson, Beth Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights 32 pp. | Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins | January, 2020 |...

Review of Freedom Bird

Freedom Bird by Jerdine Nolen; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary    Wiseman/Simon    32 pp. 1/20    978-0-689-87167-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-0222-4    $10.99 Nolen presents an original story about flight and freedom — the former an enduring motif, the latter a recurrent theme, in African American folklore. Millicent and John worked alongside...

Review of Black Is a Rainbow Color

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illus. by Ekua Holmes Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-62672-631-4    $17.99 A young girl sits on her stoop contemplating the colors of the rainbow, then notes, “But my color is black…and there’s no black in rainbows.” There is, however, black in...

Review of Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Preschool    Sourcebooks Jabberwocky    32 pp.    g 1/20    978-1-4926-3832-2    $17.99 Grimes puts an animal-centric spin on a youngster’s innovations for bedtime stalling. This lushly illustrated story, on double-page spreads full of bold, saturated color, opens with an African American child’s...

Review of Octopus Stew

Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez; illus. by the author Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-8234-3754-2    $17.99 With love and humanity — and humor — Velasquez (Looking for Bongo, Grandma’s Gift) once again affirms young Black Latinx boys’ identities and family experiences. Inspired by her cape-wearing grandson’s painting of an octopus...

Review of My Grandma and Me

My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin; illus. by Lindsey Yankey Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-7636-9494-4    $16.99  The unnamed narrator recalls her childhood growing up in Iran (where the author also grew up) with her beloved grandmother, who lives with the family. The child accompanies her grandma on...

Review of Pokko and the Drum

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Wiseman/Simon    64 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-8039-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8040-6    $10.99 “The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum,” begins this story about a young frog musician’s path to creative fulfillment, benevolent (mostly) leadership,...

Review of Astro Girl

Astro Girl by Ken Wilson-Max; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 9/19    978-1-5362-0946-4    $16.99 As young Astrid gazes out her bedroom window at the stars, using a hand-held telescope, we see visual evidence of her astronomy obsession all around: a helmet, model rocket ship, etc. The straightforward...

Review of Bear Is Awake!: An Alphabet Story

Bear Is Awake!: An Alphabet Story by Hannah E. Harrison; illus. by the author Preschool    Dial    32 pp.    g 11/19    978-0-399-18666-0    $17.99 In this diverting alphabet story, a bear wakes too early (it's the dead of winter) from hibernation, heads to a girl's cabin in the woods, rings her doorbell—and...

Review of Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin; illus. by Blanca Gómez Preschool    Dial    40 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-525-55381-6    $16.99 “Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” A small mouse packs her...

Review of I Want a Dog

I Want a Dog by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Dial    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-525-55546-9    $17.99 A determined girl heads to the Happy-dale Animal Shelter, pulling a red wagon. When she tells the shelter worker that she wants a dog, he shows her everything but a dog....

Review of Home in the Woods

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler; illus. by the author Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    40 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16290-9    $17.99 When six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their newly widowed mother are forced to leave their farm and move into an abandoned tar-paper shack deep in the woods, it “doesn’t seem...

Review of Birdsong

Birdsong by Julie Flett; illus. by the author Primary    Greystone Kids    56 pp. 9/19    978-1-77164-473-0    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77164-474-7    $17.95 In spring Katherena, her mother, and their dog Ôhô pack up their “little home in the city by the sea” and move to their “new home [that] sits on a...

Review of Small in the City

Small in the City by Sydney Smith; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-8234-4261-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4395-6    $11.99 In Smith’s (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15; Town Is by the Sea, rev. 3/17) debut as both illustrator and author, an intrepid child on the move in the...

Review of Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-62672-746-5    $18.99 This affectionate picture book depicts an intergenerational group of Native American family members and friends as they make fry bread together. The text begins: “Fry bread...

Review of You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood

You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood by Aimee Reid; illus. by Matt Phelan Primary    Abrams    40 pp. 8/19    978-1-4197-3617-9    $17.99 Following the tradition set in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Reid and Phelan take readers into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe with both truths and invention in...

Review of Vroom!

Vroom! by Barbara McClintock; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Farrar    32 pp. 7/19    978-1-62672-217-0    $17.99 Annie, the daredevil young protagonist of this spirited story, has a big imagination—and a plan. She dons her striped racing helmet and gloves and then jumps into her sleek racing car. By the second...

Review of The Shortest Day

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper; illus. by Carson Ellis Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-7636-8698-7    $17.99 “So the shortest day came, and the year died, / And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world / Came people singing, dancing / To drive the dark away.” Thus begins...

Review of A Stone Sat Still

A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    56 pp. 8/19    978-1-4521-7318-4    $17.99 This multilayered companion to Wenzel’s Caldecott Honor Book They All Saw a Cat (rev. 11/16) starts and ends with similar images of the same large stone. “A stone sat still with...

Review of River

River by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    48 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-31226-3    $18.99 A woman says goodbye to her family and begins a three-hundred-mile canoe journey down a river. "In her canoe: tent, sleeping bag, guidebook, map, life jacket, first-aid kit, waterproof duffle with food, clothes, water...

Review of Love and the Rocking Chair

Love and the Rocking Chair by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon; 
illus. by the authors Primary    Blue Sky/Scholastic    40 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-33265-0    $18.99 In this final collaboration (a note explains that much of the book, which was drawn from the couple’s own experiences, had been finished and put aside...

Review of Double Bass Blues

Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Primary    Knopf    32 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-1852-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1853-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1854-1    $10.99 Told entirely through dialogue and sound effects, the story follows double-bass player Nic as he performs an “epic solo” at band practice at...

Review of Saturday

Saturday  by Oge Mora; illus. by the author  Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g  10/19    978-0-316-43127-9    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-0-316-43126-2    $9.99  Mora (Thank You, Omu!, rev. 11/18) follows up her Caldecott Honor winner with another story built around family and community connection. On Saturdays, Ava and her mother (who...

Review of A Big Bed for Little Snow

 A Big Bed for Little Snow  by Grace Lin; illus. by the author  Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g  10/19    978-0-316-47836-6    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-0-316-47838-0    $9.99  Lin takes readers to the sky once again in this follow-up to Caldecott Honor Book A Big Mooncake for Little Star (rev. 7/18). Whereas a black night sky dominated Mooncake’s palette...

Review of Sweep

Sweep  by Louise Greig; illus. by Júlia Sardà  Preschool, Primary    Simon    32 pp.  9/19    978-1-5344-3908-5    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-1-5344-3910-8    $10.99  In this story about emotions and self-control, a boy named Ed’s bad mood escalates from a tiny whirlwind into something sentient that “swept over him in a raging storm and stuck.” The...

Review of People Share with People

People Share with People by Lisa Wheeler; illus. by Molly Idle Preschool    Atheneum    40 pp. 9/19    978-1-5344-2559-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2560-6    $10.99 The team behind People Don’t Bite People (rev. 3/18) presents another useful and engaging toddler-skills picture-book primer in rhyme, with child-friendly examples and Idle’s dynamic, appealing illustrations to...

Review of At the Mountain’s Base

At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell; illus. by Weshoyot Alvitre Preschool, Primary    Kokila/Penguin    32 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-7352-3060-6    $17.99 In a cabin at the base of a mountain, multiple generations of Cherokee women await the return of their daughter/sister/mother/granddaughter, who is piloting a plane during wartime somewhere far away....

Review of The King of Kindergarten

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 7/19    978-1-5247-4074-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-4075-7    $10.99 In a series of vignettes, Barnes (Crown, rev. 11/17) follows a boy on his first day of big-kid school. Dubbed the “King of Kindergarten” by his mother,...

Review of Ultrabot's First Playdate

Ultrabot’s First Playdate by Josh Schneider; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Clarion    32 pp.    g 7/19    978-1-328-49013-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-06358-2    $12.99 At first glance, this doesn’t look like a what-to-expect-when-hosting-a-playdate story. The first-timer here is a massive red robot that “lived with its professor in a little top-secret...

Review of Cyril and Pat

Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett; illus. by the author Preschool    Simon    32 pp. 5/19    978-1-5344-3950-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-3951-1    $10.99 Rhyming text and animated pencil, acrylic ink, and watercolor illustrations set the stage for a blossoming friendship between Cyril, the only squirrel in Lake Park, and Pat. Pat looks...

Review of Spot & Dot

Spot & Dot by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Primary    Little Simon    32 pp. 8/19    978-1-5344-2555-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2556-9    $10.99 We first met cat Spot and Spot’s boy owner in Spot, the Cat (rev. 3/16). Here Cole adds two new characters: dog Dot (like Spot, white with one...

Review of Daniel's Good Day

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Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer; illus. by the author Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 5/19    978-0-399-54672-3    $16.99 “What makes a good day for you?” As young Daniel (of Daniel Finds a Poem) walks through his busy city neighborhood (where he “knows many people”) to spend the day with his...

Review of Puppy Truck

Puppy Truck by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool    Atheneum    40 pp. 6/19    978-1-5344-2687-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2688-7    $10.99 What’s a kid to do when he wants a puppy but receives a toy truck instead? Carter cheerfully and enterprisingly makes the best of it by pretending (or is he?)...

Review of What Kind of Car Does a T. Rex Drive?

What Kind of Car Does a T. Rex Drive? by Mark Lee; illus. by Brian Biggs Preschool, Primary    Putnam    40 pp.    g 5/19    978-1-5247-4123-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-4124-2    $10.99 Used-car salesman Uncle Otto, desperate to make a sale, vows to “sell a car to anyone — or anything — that...

Review of If I Was the Sunshine

If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Loren Long Preschool    Atheneum    48 pp. 5/19    978-1-4814-7243-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7244-9    $10.99 Fogliano and Long present a big, handsome picture book with a poetic text and lush full-bleed acrylic illustrations, highlighting the natural world and relationships within it. The...

Review of One Dark Bird

One Dark Bird by Liz Garton Scanlon; illus. by Frann Preston-Gannon Preschool    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp. 7/19    978-1-5344-0443-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0444-1    $10.99 A small paragraph on the title page defines a murmuration (“a single-seeming mass [of birds] that performs coordinated acrobatic dances in the sky”) before using a counting-book...

Review of When Aidan Became a Brother

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff; illus. by Kaylani Juanita Preschool, Primary    Lee & Low    32 pp.    g 5/19    978-1-62014-837-2    $18.95 This story about anticipating the arrival of a new baby is, at its heart, about the unconditional love all children deserve. The fact that big-brother-to-be Aidan is...

Review of Hello

Helloby Fiona Woodcock; illus. by the authorPreschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.5/19    978-0-06-264456-6    $17.99In Look (rev. 7/18), Woodcock strung together a series of words with double os, more or less one per page, to tell a story of a brother and sister visiting the zoo. In this companion, double ls get the...

Review of Ogilvy

Ogilvyby Deborah Underwood; illus. by T. L. McBethPreschool, Primary    Godwin/Holt    40 pp.5/19    978-1-250-15176-6    $17.99Ogilvy, a wide-eyed, line-drawn bunny, is excited to make friends in a new town. But upon arrival, the rabbit’s sartorial choices are challenged; Ogilvy, clad in a knit article of clothing, is asked: “Is it a sweater...

2019 BGHB Picture Book Award winners extras

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners on May 29th, 2019, at School Library Journal's Day of Dialog in New York City. You can watch the announcement video here and read the press release here. Read reviews of all of...

Review of Moth: An Evolution Story

Moth: An Evolution Storyby Isabel Thomas; illus. by Daniel EgnéusPrimary    Bloomsbury    48 pp.    g6/19    978-1-5476-0020-5    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0024-3    $13.29“This is a story of light and dark. Of change and adaptation, of survival and hope.” In a shadowy (pre-industrial) wood, a peppered moth — its “speckled, freckled” wing patterns wonderfully detailed...

Picture Books for Father's Day 2019

Father's Day is this Sunday, and if you are celebrating, here are some picture books to make Dad's or Granddad's day. Also be sure not to miss one of our faves of the year, My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña, and their Five Questions...

Review of The Fisherman & the Whale

The Fisherman & the Whaleby Jessica Lanan; illus. by the authorPrimary    Simon    48 pp.5/19    978-1-5344-1574-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1575-1    $10.99In this dramatic wordless tale, a commercial fisherman and what appears to be his son collect fish in the large net thrown from their boat. They sail on — that is, until...

Happy Anniversary: Stevie

Stevie by John Steptoe (1950–1989) was published by Life magazine and then by Harper & Row in 1969. It celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2019.I locate the beginning of what I’ve come to call #blackboylit — literature for children and young adults that centers the experiences of boys of African...

Review of Bear Came Along

Bear Came Alongby Richard T. Morris; illus. by LeUyen PhamPreschool    Little, Brown    40 pp.6/19    978-0-316-46447-5    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-46445-1    $9.99This boisterous adventure is a story about discovery, the twists and turns a day can take, and the ways in which friendships can be forged when least expected — all in the...

Reviews of 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award Winner and Honor Books

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Picture Book Winner The Patchwork Bikeby Maxine Beneba Clarke; illus. by Van Thanh RuddPrimary    Candlewick    40 pp.9/18    978-1-5362-0031-7    $15.99A child in an unnamed “village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home” describes the diversions of daily life: “whooping and shrieking and laughing” on the sand hill, exploring the desert, and...

Review of My Papi Has a Motorcycle

My Papi Has a Motorcycleby Isabel Quintero; illus. by Zeke PeñaPrimary    Kokila/Penguin    40 pp.    g5/19    978-0-525-55341-0    $17.99Spanish ed.  978-0-525-55494-3    $17.99Quintero’s picture-book text acts as an evocative love letter to her apá and to the interconnected web of Mexican immigrant working-class people who built her hometown of Corona, California. When Papi...

Review of You Are New

You Are Newby Lucy Knisley; illus. by the authorPreschool    Chronicle    48 pp.3/19    978-1-4521-6156-3    $17.99Knisley chronicled her wedding in her 2016 adult graphic-novel memoir Something New; her latest, Kid Gloves (2019), is about pregnancy; and concurrently she has authored her first picture book — about a newborn baby. In lilting, lighthearted...

Review of B Is for Baby

B Is for Babyby Atinuke; illus. by Angela BrooksbankPreschool    Candlewick    40 pp.3/19    978-1-5362-0166-6    $16.99Atinuke and Brooksbank (Baby Goes to Market) reunite for another tenderly funny slice-of-life story set in an unspecified African village and starring a winsome baby girl, who is dearly loved. This alphabet book sticks with the letter...

Review of Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Bornby Miranda Paul; illus. by Jason ChinPrimary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.4/19    978-0-8234-4161-7    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4213-3    $18.99A pithy quintain describes the moment a fertilized human egg becomes a two-celled zygote: “Small. / Ball. / The point of a pin. / Then it divides… / Our story begins.” It’s the first...

Review of The Little Guys

The Little Guysby Vera Brosgol; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.4/19    978-1-62672-442-6    $17.99The “strongest guys in the whole forest” are the Little Guys — small pastel-colored creatures with acorn-cap hats; red, nose-like appendages; and stick arms and legs. Together there is nothing they cannot conquer. For example,...

Review of His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story

His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Storyby Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by David RobertsPrimary    Candlewick    48 pp.9/17    978-0-7636-9793-8    $16.99“Once upon a time, there was a Happy Family” consisting of a mother, father, daughter (shown with tights on her head simulating long, blonde, princess-y hair), and pet gerbil. Life was...

2019 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Picture Books

Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2018–2019 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

Review of There Are No Bears in This Bakery

There Are No Bears in This Bakeryby Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp.1/19    978-0-399-55665-4    $17.99Library ed.  978-0-399-55666-1    $20.99e-book ed.  978-0-399-55667-8    $10.99Sarcone-Roach’s previous bear-centric picture book, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (rev. 1/15), featured an unreliable offstage narrator, a cover-up, and — spoiler alert — no bears....

Review of Poetree

Poetreeby Shauna LaVoy Reynolds; illus. by Shahrzad MaydaniPrimary    Dial    32 pp.    g3/19    978-0-399-53912-1    $17.99To celebrate the end of winter, young poetry lover Sylvia writes a poem about spring and ties it to a birch tree in the park. The next day her poem is gone; in its place is another...

Review of Carl and the Meaning of Life

Carl and the Meaning of Lifeby Deborah Freedman; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Viking    48 pp.    g4/19    978-0-451-47498-8    $17.99Carl is an earthworm, always moving under the ground, digesting leaves and “turning hard dirt into fluffy soil.” When a field mouse asks him why he does...

Spring into nature

Spring is a season of rebirth, which makes it a great time to discover Mother Nature's many wonders. These new picture books will inspire inquisitive preschoolers-and-up to venture outside and explore.The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj invites children to observe nature as a variety of creatures busily create homes to...

Review of Home Is a Window

Home Is a Windowby Stephanie Parsley Ledyard; illus. by Chris SasakiPreschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.4/19    978-0-8234-4156-3    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4156-3    $18.99Ledyard offers a meditation of sorts on the sense of comfort and belonging that home should evoke, whether it’s a place we know well or a new home to which we’ve...

Review of Another

Anotherby Christian Robinson; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Atheneum    56 pp.3/19    978-1-5344-2167-7    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2168-4    $10.99For his solo picture book debut, Robinson (illustrator of Last Stop on Market Street, rev. 3/15; School’s First Day of School, rev. 3/16; When’s My Birthday?, rev. 9/17; and more) offers a smart, sly, and...

Review of Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations

Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equationsby Laura Purdie Salas; illus. by Micha ArcherPrimary    Charlesbridge    32 pp.2/19    978-1-58089-798-3    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-63289-643-8    $9.99This whimsical celebration of spring-time features a playful equation poem on every page. Take the titular “snowman – cold = puddle.” It’s a subtraction sentence — minus the usual...
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