I Found a Kitty! by Troy Cummings; illustrated by Troy Cummings. 2020. Published by Random House Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Arfy is having a great time playing and sniffing outside when he comes across a homeless kitten in a drainpipe. He writes several letters to those in the neighbor he believes will be able to give Scamper a good home. Each time, they write back to Arfy after Scamper has been there for a small time but without success. Finally, Arfy finds Scamper the perfect home.
Comments: This would be a book to read when introducing letter writing for young readers.
Suggestions are in the back for ways readers can help a homeless pet.
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.
Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illustrated by Laurie Keller. 2019. Traditional, digital, and galactic media. Published by Beach Lane Books.
Brief summary: Pluto receives a phone call from Earth scientists telling him he is no longer considered a planet. Pluto goes across the solar system introducing the young reader to the various REAL planets and sharing interesting facts about them as they all talk back and forth. Pluto decides to go to the sun and tells him what happened. The sun consoles Pluto while summarizing what each planet is known for the most and how special he is even if no longer a planet.
Comments: Hilarious. The title captured my attention. Speech bubbles. Solar system puns. Large and bright illustrations. I love Laurie Keller’s illustrations! There is a “solar system fun facts” and “a note from the author” in the back. Fun book to share when doing planet units. One of my favorites for the 2019 year.
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:
The Last Peach by Gus Gordon; illustrated by Gus Gordon. 2019. Published by Roaring Brook Press.
Brief summary: Two bugs are sitting on a leaf in the peach tree admiring the last peach of the year and discuss how they should eat it. Another bug comes along and wonders if the peach is rotten inside. The two continue to discuss the pros and cons of eating the peach and decide it is too beautiful to eat.
Comments: This whimsical book would work well as a reader’s theater selection. Each character has a different colored font to make it easier for young readers to keep track. I like that the end pages have pictures of peaches instead of just plain white paper.
Square by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen; 2018. Digitally and with watercolor and graphite. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Square goes into his secret den every day and pushes out a square of rock and piles it with the other squares. One day Circle rolls by and compliments Square for his wonderful sculpture that looks like the artist. Could Square sculpture one of Circle? He works all night in the rain. Will Circle be pleased with his results?
Comments: Second of the shape trilogy of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Young readers will be amused by the sense of humor in Square as they were in Triangle. The illustrations are blacks, grays, and browns.
The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra; illustrated by Eric Comstock. 2018. Digital. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Grand Marshall, I, tries to get everyone ready for a parade but has trouble with the longest word(see if you can guess what it is), action verbs, no action contractions, homophones, antonyms, palindrome, archaic words, proper nouns, anagrams, interjections, and others to get back into the dictionary with the help of Noah Webster(first dictionary) and Peter Mark Roget(thesaurus).
Comments: Glossary in the back. This actually will be better understood by the older young reader who can understand and is familiar with all the types of word categories. I would share this with third grade on up.
Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman; illustrated by Jon Burgerman. 2018. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Hammy’s hat is stolen and switched for a cat. A mystery shadow hand is seen throughout the book taking and switching it with rhyming items from the many characters in this silly and clever book of rhymes. Who is this mysterious thief? Will the police catch the perpetrator? Where did it all go wrong?
Comments: I can’t wait to share this with primary students when we go back to school. Students will need to think of a rhyming word that could match what was just stolen by the mystery hand. Turn the page to see if they are correct and then get ready for the next character on the right side of the page that gets something stolen.
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Truck Full of Ducks by Ross Burach, illustrated by Ross Burach. 2018. Published by Scholastic Press.
Brief summary: The story begins right away on the end pages with ducks sitting, eating, and reading in an office when Bernie receives a phone call for a truck full of ducks. Everyone piles into a truck and is on their way when one of the ducks eats the directions. Bernie drives around town asking people if they called for a truck full of ducks. We hilariously learn about other trucks that are called and finally get to the right address as it starts to get dark.
Comments: Ross Burach’s humor in his books have my students laughing and joking even when I’m finished reading. His light and fast-moving duck story is no different. The story is told using dialogue. “Did you call for a truck full of ducks?” The two-page spreads are full of silliness with the cartoon illustrations, signs, and speech bubbles. I can’t wait to share this book next week with my kindergarteners and then share the book trailer below which is narrated by Ross Burach.
Dog on a Frog? by Kes and Claire Gray; illustrated by Jim Field. 2017. Published by Scholastic Press.
Brief summary: A feisty and bossy frog speaks up and no longer wants dogs to sit on frogs. Dogs will now sit on logs. He tells everyone that they are now going to be sitting on other things that are not the norm anymore and tells them if they do not like it, they will just have to do it.
Comments: Sequel to Frog on a Log?. Silly and funny rhyming pairs. I plan to share this with my kindergartners and first graders for rhyming text fun.