The Children’s Book Review | August 6, 2018
13 New Release Picture Books
We have selected 13 excellent picture books as the best of May. You’ll discover a rollicking rhyming picture book from bestselling author Julia Donaldson about a dog who uses her amazing sense of smell to solve mysteries, a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there, a stunning new picture book about a young boy who sets sail to find a place his grandfather told him about…the spot where the ocean meets the sky, a wordless picture book featuring exquisite two-color illustrations, a heartwarming celebration of the special relationship between a father and daughter, an achingly beautiful wordless epic, and so much more.
Written by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard
Illustrated by Jason Chin
Publisher’s Synopsis:A picnic, a beach, a pie cut into pieces and shared with good friends.
Pie is for sharing.
It starts off round, and you can slice it into as many pieces as you want. What else can be shared? A ball, of course. A tree? What about time?
Through the course of one memorable Fourth of July picnic, Stephanie Ledyard and Jason Chin take young readers through the ups and downs of sharing in this lovely picture book.
Ages 2-6 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | May 15, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1626725621
Written and Illustrated by Christy Hale
Publisher’s Synopsis: A lake turns into an island. A cozy bay into a secluded cape. A gulf with sea turtles transforms into a peninsula surrounded by pirate ships.
This unique information book for the very young switches between bodies of water and corresponding land masses with the simple turn of a page. Readers will delight as the story of Water Land unfolds and will see just how connected the earth and the water really are.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | May 22, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1250152442
Written by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
Publisher’s Synopsis: A rollicking rhyming picture book from bestselling author Julia Donaldson about a dog who uses her amazing sense of smell to solve mysteries.
When Detective Dog Nell puts her nose to the task, there’s no mystery she can’t solve. Whether she’s tracking the missing shoe of her human, Peter, or locating some lost honeycomb, all Nell has to do is sniff, sniff, sniff and she’s hot on the trail.
Besides solving mysteries, there’s something else Nell loves―listening to children read. Every Monday, Peter takes her to school where children tell her stories.
One day, Nell and Peter arrive to find that all the books are gone. Who could have taken them? And why? There’s only one dog for the job, and Detective Dog Nell is ready to sniff out the thief!
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | May 8, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1250156761
Written by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Publisher’s Synopsis: The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was.
Deep in the woods
is a house
just a house
that once was
but now isn’t
Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go?
Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1626723146
Written by Diane Lang
Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
Publisher’s Synopsis: Come along on a rhyming tour through the amazing animal kingdom—from mammals to millipedes and everything in between—with this engaging picture book about how all creatures are connected!
There are so many wild and wonderful animals in our world. Some have fur, some have feathers, some have fins, but all are connected. This fact-filled rhyming exploration of the diversity of the animal kingdom celebrates mammals, birds, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and more! It’s a perfect match for budding naturalists and animal enthusiasts everywhere.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1481447096
Written and Illustrated by the Fan Brothers
Publisher’s Synopsis:From the creators of the gorgeous bestseller The Night Gardener, comes a stunning new picture book about a young boy who sets sail to find a place his grandfather told him about…the spot where the ocean meets the sky.
It’s a good day for sailing.
Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.
Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!
And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | May 15, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1481470377
Written and Illustrated by Jed Alexander
Publisher’s Synopsis: Red is on her way through the woods to visit Grandmother when she meets the Big Bad Wolf. What are that Wolf and all of those woodland creatures up to? This version of the classic folktale ends a bit differently. A delightful surprise awaits Red and readers in this wordless picture book featuring newcomer Jed Alexander’s exquisite two-color illustrations.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Cameron Kids | May 1, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1944903114
Written and Illustrated by Soosh
Publisher’s Synopsis: A heartwarming celebration of the special relationship between a father and daughter from Instagram sensation Soosh.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | May 8, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0316438087
Written and Illustrated by Aaron Becker
Publisher’s Synopsis: A girl grieves the loss of her dog in an achingly beautiful wordless epic from the Caldecott Honor–winning creator of Journey.
This year’s summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl’s grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. In his first picture book following the conclusion of his best-selling Journey trilogy, Aaron Becker achieves a tremendous feat, connecting the private, personal loss of one child to a cycle spanning millennia — and delivering a stunningly layered tale that demands to be pored over again and again.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | May 8, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763665968
Written by Michelle Cusolito
Illustrated by Nicole Wong
Publisher’s Synopsis: Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean.
Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot and join scientists at the seafloor to collect samples and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. Extensive back matter explains how Alvin works, describes the author’s research, and includes a glossary and further reading.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Charlesbridge | May 22, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1580898119
Written and Illustrated by Claude Ponti
Translated by Alyson Waters
Publisher’s Synopsis:From one of France’s most celebrated children’s writers, the story of an “ugly duckling” who leaves his family to journey through a fantastical world. A tender and playful portrait of what it means to be unique.
When he is born, Hiznobyuti is not exactly handsome. In fact, his parents and siblings say, “He’s no beauty!” They say it so often, Hiznobyuti assumes it is his name. Wherever he goes, only embarrassment and shame await him. Hiznobyuti hides himself away, working on his inventions, until one day he receives a message from the stars. After a fight with his family, Hiznobyuti decides to run away. On a beautiful adventure by himself, he learns the secrets of the universe: how to communicate with trees and birds, how to wake up the sun, and how to see himself for who he truly is – a hero! When he returns from his journey, Hiznobyuti family rejoices and apologizes for not understanding how beautiful and important he was to them all along.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Elsewhere Editions | May 22, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0914671909
Written by Mac Barnett
Publisher’s Synopsis:The beguiling second entry in the innovative shape trilogy by multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.
This book is about Square. Square spends every day taking blocks from a pile below the ground to a pile above the ground. This book is also about Square’s friend Circle. Circle thinks Square is an artistic genius. But is he really? With the second story in a trilogy of tales about Triangle, Square, and Circle, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen nudge readers toward a more well-rounded way of looking at things. Understated and striking in its simplicity, this funny, thoughtful offering from two of today’s most talented picture-book creators emphasizes the importance of keeping your eyes — and your mind — open to wonder where others see only rubble and rocks.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | May 8, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0763696078
Written by Kate Messner
Publisher’s Synopsis: All it takes is one: one coral gamete to start a colony, one person to make a difference, one idea to change the world. The ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world’s coral reefs—with hammer and glue, and grafts of newly grown coral—are the living legacy of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation. Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe tell the true story of the coral restoration pioneer in this brilliant tribute to the wonders of nature and the power of human hope.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | May 8, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1452133508
*Header image illustration from The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe (Chronicle Books, 2018)