The Children’s Book Review | April 30, 2018
13 New Release Picture Books
We have 13 of the best new picture books to share with you this month. You’ll discover a new novelty delight from renowned pop-up master Robert Sabuda, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog, a lavish new picture book from Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall that will transport readers to the seaside, an inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends, a beautiful and vibrant picture book that uses the visual motif of circles as to guide young readers through the stages of life on Earth, a bedtime book in disguise, and many more.
Of the 14 best new picture books we have selected for you to read your way through, we wonder which one you are going to want to read first?
Written and Illustrated by Juan Martinez-Neal
Publisher’s Synopsis: What’s in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from — and who she may one day be.
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Candlewick | April 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763693558
Written and Illustrated by Robert Sabuda
Publisher’s Synopsis: Roan, speckled, dappled, gray — how many different horses are playing on these pages? A new novelty delight from renowned pop-up master Robert Sabuda.
Watch with awe as majestic horses leap off the page when you open this stunning full-color pop-up book. Glorious images of horses grazing, prancing, and galloping in an idyllic farm setting are inspired by everyday scenes in rural America as well as by the real Ten Horse Farm (now an art studio) owned by artist and designer Robert Sabuda in upstate New York. This 3-D gem will draw horse enthusiasts of all ages.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | April 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763663988
Written by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Publisher’s Synopsis: Based on a real-life partnership, the heartening story of the love and teamwork between a girl and her service dog will illuminate and inspire.
Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763696047
Written by Thomas Scotto
Publisher’s Synopsis: This story follows a little boy named Raphael, whose daily rhythm is steeped in his immense affection for his friend Jerome. The two boys share jokes and snacks and plan future adventures to the Himalayas. Even when Raphael’s constant talk of Jerome is driving his parents crazy, he remains steadfast: “Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It’s easy.” And the truth is, when he’s with Jerome, Raphael feels happy, liked, and understood― even special. Thomas Scotto’s simple, strong, and insightful prose and Olivier Tallec’s delightful, expressive illustrations give much emotion and immediacy to the story.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books | April 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1592702503
Written by Carter Higgins
Illustrated by Emily Hughes
Publisher’s Synopsis: Featuring beautiful images and a lyrical text with an exquisitely readable cadence, this book gives life and meaning to all the requisite elements of a treehouse, from time, timber, and rafters to ropes of twisted twine that invite visitors to sprawl out on a limb and slide back down again. For anyone who’s ever wanted to escape real life and live in a nostalgic dream come true, this poignant picture book captures the universal timelessness of treehouses and celebrates all the creativity and adventure they spark.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | April 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1452142555
Written by David W. Miles
Illustrated by Hollie Mengert
Publisher’s Synopsis: Unicorn is a unicorn. And Horse is, well . . . not.
Horse is brown. Horse is plain. And Horse can’t stand the unicorn he shares a pen with. Unicorn dances. Tra la la! Horse does not. Blah blah blah. But when robbers kidnap Unicorn for a local circus, what will Horse decide to do? Packed with forty-eight pages of hilarious illustrations and deadpan wit, Unicorn (and Horse) is a funny yet endearing lesson on envy with one important truth: We are sometimes unicorns. We are sometimes horses. And happiness doesn’t always come from pink cupcakes for breakfast.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Familius | April 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1945547768
Written by and Illustrated by Matt James
Publisher’s Synopsis: Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She is looking forward to playing with her favorite cousin, Ray, but when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that have never occurred to her before. While not all questions can be answered, when the day is over Norma is certain of one thing ― Uncle Frank would have enjoyed his funeral.
This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Groundwood Books | April 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1554989089
Written and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Publisher’s Synopsis: A lavish new picture book from Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall that will transport readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | April 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0316362382
Written by Samantha Berger
Illustrated by Mike Curato
Publisher’s Synopsis: Creativity, the power of imagination, and the importance of self-expression are celebrated in this inspiring picture book written and illustrated by real-life best friends.
This girl is determined to express herself! If she can’t draw her dreams, she’ll sculpt or build, carve or collage. If she can’t do that, she’ll turn her world into a canvas. And if everything around her is taken away, she’ll sing, dance, and dream…
Stunning mixed media illustrations, lyrical text, and a breathtaking gatefold conjure powerful magic in this heartfelt affirmation of art, imagination, and the resilience of the human spirit.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | April 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0316390965
Written by Ian Lendler
Illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline
Publisher’s Synopsis: One Day a Dot explores the age-old question: Where did we come from? Where did everything come from?
Starting with one tiny dot and continuing through the Big Bang to the rise of human societies, the story of our universe is told in simple and vivid terms. But the biggest question of all cannot be answered: Where did that one dot come from?
One Day a Dot is a beautiful and vibrant picture book that uses the visual motif of circles as to guide young readers through the stages of life on Earth.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: First Second | April 17, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1626722446
Written and Illustrated by Sibylle Delacroix
Publisher’s Synopsis: On the last day of a family vacation, a little girl is as blue as the sea, and her shoes are filled with sand. What should she do with all of this sand? Together, she and her brother decide to plant the grains of sand, and imagine what will grow. A field of beach umbrellas, to wave hello to the sun? Or a forest of windmills, to fill the sails of a boat? Before drifting off to sleep, the girl has her dad promise they’ll go back for new grains of sand next year.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Owlkids | April 15, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1771472050
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by David Roberts
Publisher’s Synopsis: This interactive book may seem to be on your side, reluctant sleeper — but it’s truly a bedtime book in disguise! New from New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Amy Krouse Rosenthal and David Roberts!
Here’s how it works: if you can avoid getting to the end of this book, you can avoid bedtime, simple as that. (It’s a pretty sweet deal, actually.) But each time you blink, you have to turn a page. Those are just the rules. So whatever you do, DON’T BLINK!
From New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Amy Krouse Rosenthal and David Roberts comes a playful, super-duper interactive bedtime story, narrated by a cheeky stuffed owl. Kids love a challenge, and you can bet they’ll do their darndest to rise to the one set out in Don’t Blink!…especially when bedtime is on the line!
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | April 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0385391870
Written by Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Molly Idle
Publisher’s Synopsis: Lisa Wheeler and Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Molly Idle remind overeager little biters that biting is for food in this hysterical read-aloud picture book. Learning good behavior has never been so fun!
It’s good to bite a carrot.
It’s good to bite a steak.
It’s bad to bite your sister!
She’s not a piece of cake.
People don’t bite people!
That’s what this book’s about.
So if you find
you’d better check it out!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | April 3, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1481490825
*Header image illustration from People Don’t Bite People, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Molly Idle (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018)