On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex; illustrated by Adam Rex. 2020. Illustrated with Photoshop. Published by Chronicle Books.
Brief summary: A young girl wakes up with gum in her hair. Her father tries to remove it but gets the scissors stuck in the gum. Her father and sister go on the computer and find some websites that say butter could get the gum out, but the butter gets stuck as well. Pretty soon, various family members offer their advance only getting more and more things stuck in her hair. The fire department ends up coming to help, and the story continues getting crazier and funnier.
Comments: Students will love this accumulative tale with hilarious illustrations.
The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann; illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann. 2020. Pencil on tracing paper and then digitally collaged and painted. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Ernestine excitedly goes camping for the first time ever with her Aunt Jackie and Cousin Samantha. She excitedly packs her clothes ready for the long drive to the country. The girls decide to put up their own tent. Ernestine learns that it is not like making a fort at home. After getting sweaty, the two girls go the pond to fish where Ernestine is afraid the fish will bit her, but Samantha confirms that they do not.
It is time for all three to take a hike and have a picnic. The girls discover the Nature around them. They have a campfire in the evening when they learn to make smores before going to bed. It is very dark and Ernestine wants to talk to her father, but there is no reception.
After a good night sleep, Ernestine is able to really enjoy the rest of the camping.
Comments: Some of the story is in comic book blocks. Cute story of two cousins enjoying camping.
Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses; illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. 2020. Jimmy Patterson Books; Little, Brown and Company.
Brief summary: A young girl and her guitar-toting father adventure into the countryside to get her mother at the farmer’s market before all three head to the fairgrounds where they sing together on stage.
Comments: Beautifully illustrated!
Note: Keep in mind that this book’s interpretation of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses has a different storyline. The song was about Axl Rose’s girlfriend, Erin Everly. Before I knew the original story behind the song, I always thought it was talking about a parent’s love for his child just like the illustrations do in this picture book.
Ellie’s Dragon by Bob Graham; illustrated by Bob Graham. 2020. Watercolor and ink. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Ellie finds a baby dragon and calls him Scratch. She makes a bed for him. When she asks her mother for some matches for him to eat, her mother can only see an empty matchbox and cotton balls. Ellie places Scratch in her dollhouse and cares for him by feeding him hot related foods. She takes him to preschool and shares him with everyone. When she attends kindergarten, she forgets to take him to school with her and misses Scratch’s first flight. As Ellie grows older, she spends less time with her dragon, missing his growing and important days until one day, he leaves. Once in a while, Ellie thinks she sees him. Does Scratch really exist?
Comments: Love the end pages that begin and end the story. So much better than blank white ones. Clever way of explaining how we outgrow things as we get older.
My Day with Gong Gong by Sennah Yee; illustrated by Elaine Chen. 2020. Published by Annick Press.
Brief summary: May is dropped off by her mother at her Gong Gong’s to babysit. May is concerned, because she does not speak any Chinese nor does her grandfather speak any English. After falling asleep while watching TV, Gong Gong wakes up and puts on his coat. May goes along as they walk down the street and is introduced to various merchants and friends in her Gong Gong’s neighborhood. May thinks they are going to eat and is disappointed when they only have tea. They continue to the fish market and park. With a growling stomach and feeling grouching because she is feeling ignored, May has a temper tantrum yelling she is hungry. This causes all of the pigeons to fly up with one pooping on her. Gong Gong cleans her up and tries to calm his granddaughter.
They go sit by the fountain and eat pork buns. May hugs the stuffed monkey that her Gong Gong secretly bought for her in one of the stores they visited earlier. She did not know he was paying attention to her. They slowly go back down the street to Gong Gong’s home where May’s mother picks her up and learns a little about their day together.
Comments: What a sweet story of how a language barrier did not prevent Gong Gong and his granddaughter from forming a bond. Cute story to share for Grandparents’ Day on September 21, 2021.
Cozy by Jan Brett; illustrated by Jan Brett. 2020. Watercolor and gouache with airbrush backgrounds. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Brief summary: Cozy, a large musk ox, is separated from the herd in the cold Alaskan tundra. A lemming and her pups come across him standing in the snow and decide to warm themselves next to his foot being very quiet so they are not noticed. A snowshoe hare comes up to Cozy and asks if he could seek shelter under his fur from the snow storm. Cozy agrees asking him to please keep the noise down.
More Alaskan creatures take sanctuary under Cozy all trying very hard to get along so they are not thrown out into the cold. The snow begins to melt. A large hunk of the ox’s fur comes off meaning that spring has come. The animals leave saying they should get together again next winter.
Cozy is happy to find his herd family again.
Comments: Cute story of how to get along. Great story to share when doing the tundra unit with primary students.