When My Brother Gets Home by Tom Lichtenheld; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2020. Pencil, watercolor and colored pencil on Mi-Teintes paper. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A preschooler excitedly shares all of the wonderful adventures and playing she and her brother will do once he returns from school.
Comments: Super sweet book about a little girl waiting to play with her older brother. If only they could always stay like that…
The Great Eggscape! by Jory John; illustrated by Pete Oswald(interior illustrations by Saba Joshaghani based on the artwork of Pete Oswald). 2020. Pencil sketches scanned and painted in Adobe Photoshop. Published by HarperCollins.
Brief summary: Shel, the egg, wonders where all of the other eggs go inside the store on the weekends while he enjoys hanging out in the carton reading in peace and solitude. The great eggscapes are usually short with everyone returning by lunch. Concerned that no one has returned yet, Shel decides to leave the carton and search for his friends that he finds camouflaged to look like various items in the store. Shel realizes he may like to play with others from time to time as well as being by himself.
Comments: I LOVE these hilarious books with duo John and Oswald! Great sense of humor and puns.
This is a clever wink to Easter eggs in regards to how the eggs are all decked out in various colors and decorations and are hidden(and found) in the store similar to an Easter egg hunt.
I’ll never look at my carton of eggs in the refrigerator quite the same.
Note: Stickers are included with this book that a younger reader could use to decorate Easter eggs.
Hum and Swish by Matt Myers; illustrated by Matt Myers. 2019. Acrylic and oil paint. Published by Neal Porter Books.
Brief summary: Jamie explores the beach randomly picking up things to make something in the sand but is unsure what that will be yet. The young girl is asked by several people what she is making but repeatedly answers, ” I don’t know”. Jamie hums as she creates. A painter with an easel sets up near her. They both create and coincide with one another throughout the day. They share their finished art projects with one another.
Comments: I like this quiet book of creating art. This would be a great book for an art teacher to share with the class before a lesson.
Moon!: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis. 2019. Colored pencils and digital tools. Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Brief summary: Moon tells the story of the friendship she has with Earth. She is Earth’s best friend and only satellite. Moon tells all about how she orbits the earth, smiling the whole time and never showing her back to her BFF. Moon explains how some earthlings have walked on her and left their footprints. Earth’s friends are her’s too.
Comments: Superb beginning book about the moon, how it rotates, tides, gravity, myths and so on. Definite must for any library collection.
Back pages have interesting facts about the moon. Illustrations are large and often two-fold.
This story is told through the moon’s perspective.
Personification of the moon and earth.
Others in the Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty:
The Cool Bean by Jory John; illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2019. Scanned watercolor textures and digital paint. Published by Harper Collins.
Brief summary: A bean admires his friends who are now cool beans. Everything they do is cool, and he wishes he was as cool. No matter how much he tries to match their coolness, he fails in comparison and begins to lose his self-esteem. One day, he drops his lunch in the cafeteria and was amazed that one of the cool beans helped him clean it up. He continues to have other mishaps and is helped by the cool beans. He regains his self-confidence and realizes that coolness isn’t about how one looks but about helping others.
Comments: The illustrations are hilarious. The story’s morale would appeal to young readers. Several bean puns.
These are a few others by this author/illustrator duo with funny life lessons to share:
Coming out in February 2020:
Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima; illustrated by Jessie Sima. 2019. Illustrations rendered in Adobe Photoshop. Published Simon and Schuster.
Brief summary: A boy and his pet balloon dog do everything together being very careful to avoid any sharp objects. The inevitable does happen, but it’s afterwards that is surprising.
Comments: The colors used for this book are black, gray, white, and red. The beginning end pages are the 3-2-1- movie countdown. The book is divided into thirds and done in the silent movie frame style. This is a story without words.
Wordless stories are one of my favorite genres. I would share the book with the students in total silence explaining that the words are happening in our minds as I turn the pages. When the book ends, we then would go page-by-page taking turns of how the story unraveled.
For older students, I would show the book again using an ELMO this time up on the screen while they wrote the story. We would share with a neighbor.
Dude! by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Dan Santat. 2018. Published by Roaring Book Press.
Brief Summary: A beaver and platypus are surfing the waves when a shark approaches wanting to join them. Friend or foe? Will the mammals get to know the marine animal and become great surfing buddies?
Comments: The expressions on their faces are priceless and will bring many laughs to young readers. The only word is “dude” which is used many times with several different meanings conveyed by changing the fonts, all caps and small caps letters, and various punctuation after the word.
Teachers, librarians, and those reading to children— You will need to practice ahead of time to make sure you get the right voice tones, accents, and meanings across by saying “dude” in many ways you never considered saying before reading this book. A silly and fun read aloud.
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Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller; illustrated by Jen Hill. 2018. Published by Roaring Brook Press.
Brief summary: Tanisha spills grape juice on her dress during lunch. Everyone laughs except for one girl who remembers her mother telling her to be kind. So, she walks over to Tanisha and say, “Purple is my favorite color,” hoping the Tanisha would smile but she runs away instead. The young girl wonders what it means to be kind. What could she have done? She thinks about ways she has been kind to others and figures out how to make Tanisha feel better.
Comments: I like that this book examines HOW to be kind. Children are often told to be kind but may not necessarily know examples to follow.
Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi; illustrated by Kathryn Otoshi. 2017. Published by Roaring Brook Press.
Brief summary: Two boys are drawing a long line on the ground unaware of each other until they bump backs. They connect their lines and happily play with the rope they have made. One of the boys accidentally pulls the rope too hard causing the other one to fall. They end up in a tug of war with the center of their rope turning into a growing crevice separating them. They fall back to the ground with the line now on the ground with a larger canyon separating the boys as they argue with one another. One of the boys goes to where the line has the smallest gap and plays in the dirt. Delighted with getting dirty, he raises his muddy hand to the other boy who decides to join him. Soon all of the canyon is filled again as they play in the mud. They happily run off together into the sun to play.
Comments: This story without words can be easily understood by all. The four colors are black, grays, yellow(happy) and purple(angry). The illustrations often are twofold.
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell; illustrated by Matthew Cordell. 2017. Pen, ink with watercolor. Published by Feiwel and Friends.
Brief summary: A young girl walks to school in the snow but leaves due to a blizzard. She gets lost in the whiteout at the same time a young wolf pup does too. They meet each other where she picks him up as the snow is too deep for him to walk. She follows the howling of wolves in the distance where she meets his mother. She puts the pup down before trying to head home to the lights in the distance. Exhausted, she curls up in the woods where the wolves sit around her howling back to her hound dog. Her mother finds her and all ends well.
Comments: What a great story without words picture books. Young readers will be in suspense as they wonder if the two will be able to survive the blizzard.