The Children’s Book Review | November 20, 2013
The best picture books of 2013, as picked by the editors and contributors of The Children’s Book Review.
By Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski
Travel the world without leaving your living room.
This book of maps is a visual feast for readers of all ages, with lavishly drawn illustrations from the incomparable Mizielinskis. It features not only borders, cities, rivers, and peaks, but also places of historical and cultural interest, eminent personalities, iconic animals and plants, cultural events, and many more fascinating facts associated with every region of our planet.
Ages 7-10 | Publisher: Big Picture Press | October 8, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0763668969
A picture book telling the intertwined histories of the Puerto Rican parrot and the island of Puerto Rico, culminating with current efforts to save the parrots from extinction.
Puerto Rican parrots, once abundant, came perilously close to extinction in the 1960s due to centuries of foreign exploration and occupation, development, and habitat destruction. In this compelling book, Roth and Trumbore recount the efforts of the scientists of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program to save the parrots and ensure their future. Woven into the parrots’ story is a brief history of Puerto Rico itself, from before the first human settlers to the present day.
All Ages | Publisher: Lee & Low Books | September 15, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1620140048
By Brian Floca
All aboard! From the creator of the “stunning” (Booklist) Moonshot, a rich and detailed sensory exploration of America’s early railroads.
It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean.
Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!
Ages 4-10 | Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books | September 3, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1416994152
By Elisa Kleven
Richly illustrated, Kleven’s latest picture book feast presents a year of everyday wonders, giving children an opportunity to snuggle up with a parent and enter into a warm, cozy world, where even the planets are tucked cozily into bed along with the shining stars.
Ages 3-9 | Publisher: Creston Books | September 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1939547026
By Drew Daywalt; Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Crayons have feelings, too, in this funny back-to-school story illustrated by the creator of Stuck and This Moose Belongs to Me — now a #1 New York Times bestseller!
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?
Kids will be imagining their own humorous conversations with crayons and coloring a blue streak after sharing laughs with Drew Daywalt and New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers. This story is perfect as a back-to-school gift, for all budding artists, for fans of humorous books such as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith, and for fans of Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck, The Incredibly Book Eating Boy, Lost and Found, and This Moose Belongs to Me.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Philomel | June 27, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0399255373
Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class.
When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
Includes backmatter with discussion questions and resources for further reading.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | October 8, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1582464503
When Alex gets a silly, sappy picture book called Birthday Bunny, he picks up a pencil and turns it into something he’d like to read: Battle Bunny. An adorable rabbit’s journey through the forest becomes a secret mission to unleash an evil plan–a plan that only Alex can stop. Featuring layered, original artwork, this dynamic picture book celebrates kids as storytellers.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | October 22, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1442446731
By Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell
Kids will giggle as they count all the animals that have frightened the monkeys off the pages. Full of fun reader interactions and keeps readers guessing until the very last page! Matching Mac Barnett’s brilliant wit are Kevin Cornell’s luminous illustrations, which will have young readers begging to count the monkeys all over again.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | June 25, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1423160656
By Peter Brown
Are you bored with being so proper?
Do you want to have more fun?
Mr. Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild.
But does he go too far?
From Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown comes a story that shows there’s a time and place for everything…even going wild.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | September 3, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0316200639
As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn’t lift his right arm, and couldn’t make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint–and paint, and paint! Soon, people—including the famous painter N. C. Wyeth—started noticing Horace’s art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.
Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet team up once again to share this inspiring story of a self-taught painter from humble beginnings who despite many obstacles, was ultimately able to do what he loved, and be recognized for who he was: an artist.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers | January 8, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0375867125
See our full list of the best kids books of 2013!