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Preschoolers’ life lessons

The ways of the world can be mysterious for preschoolers; it always helps to have a laugh. The following picture books teach age-appropriate life lessons without losing their sense of humor. In People Don’t Bite People, Lisa Wheeler enumerates (in subversively lilting rhymed verse) the reasons “people don’t bite people” and suggests alternatives: “It’s good […]

Books mentioned in the December 2015 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes a Good Preschool Book? All Through the Day Castillo, Lauren Nana in the City 40 pp.     Clarion     2014     ISBN 978-0-544-10443-3 dePaola, Tomie Look and Be Grateful 32 pp.     Holiday     2015     ISBN 978-0-8234-3443-5 Fleming, Candace Bulldozer’s Big Day 32 pp.     Atheneum     2015     ISBN 978-1-4814-0097-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-0098-5 Golan, Avirama Little Naomi, Little Chick Illustrated […]

Recommended Preschool Books: ABCs and 123s

Browne, Anthony One Gorilla: A Counting Book 32 pp. Candlewick 2013. ISBN 978-0-7636-6352-0 For Anthony Browne, a gorilla is never just a gorilla. In this seemingly simple counting book from one to ten (plus a final coda), generous white space and classic type treatment balance expertly with large head-and-shoulders portraits of primates: “1 gorilla / […]

Recommended Preschool Books: All Through the Day

Castillo, Lauren Nana in the City 40 pp. Clarion 2014. ISBN 978-0-544-10443-3 Visiting Nana in the city, the unnamed child narrator is initially unreceptive to the appeal. “The city is busy…loud…[and] filled with scary things.” Nana promises to show her young visitor that “the city is wonderful — bustling, booming, and extraordinary,” and their tour […]

Five questions for Tomie dePaola

1. You’ve illustrated books intended for a range of ages. What, in your experience, makes a good picture book for the very young? TD: Picture books for the young are the hardest, the most rewarding, and the most consequential task any illustrator/writer can tackle. The responsibility of introducing “The Book” to young children is awesome. […]

Recommended Preschool Books: Bedtime

Choldenko, Gennifer Putting the Monkeys to Bed 32 pp. Putnam 2015. ISBN 978-0-399-24623-4 Illustrated by Jack E. Davis. At bedtime, Sam and his toy monkeys are wide awake. Busy cartoon art full of overstimulating detail vibrates with energy, capturing what it might feel like to be Sam, whose “brain is buzzing.” Eventually, Sam handles the […]

Recommended Preschool Books: Families

Atinuke 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 […]

From the Editor – December 2015

As a result of the baby boomlet of the late 1980s, we saw subsequent picture book publishing grow, not just in sheer numbers of new titles but in the expansion of the traditionally preschool genre’s reach into books intended for older children and even adults. In this edition of What Makes a Good…? we go […]