The Children’s Book Review | September 1, 2016
32 New Release Picture Books
We’ve picked 32 picture books that we feel are the best of the best from the many picture books that release this month. From debut picture books to familiar characters starring in new stories, you’ll be delighted, charmed, entertained, and humored.
Written and Illustrated by Bomi Park
Publisher’s Synopsis: Look out. Now look up. From the sky one flake falls, then another. And just like that—it’s snowing.
In this beautiful book from debut creator Bomi Park, a young girl wakes up to the year’s first snowy day. From her initial glimpse out the window to her poignant adventures—rolling a snowman, making snow angels—the girl’s quiet quests are ones all young readers will recognize. Simple, muted text and exquisite, evocative art conjure the excitement of a day spent exploring the wonder of snow—and the magic that, sometimes literally, such a day brings. As subtly joyful as a snow day itself, this book will find its home in the hearts of young adventurers everywhere. Plus, this is the fixed format version, which looks almost identical to the print edition.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1452154725
Written and Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Publisher’s Synopsis: In this charming follow-up to 2015’s hit Who Done It?, each page asks the reader a question about the lineup of characters featured on the spread. Sharp eyes and keen observation are necessary. There’s only one right answer, and it’s not always easy! Kids will love learning early concepts like expressions and positions as a natural consequence of their hunt for clues in the details of the lineup. It’s a book for all audiences: the seek-and-find call to action of every page makes Who What Where? a wonderful lap or parent read, while the whimsical art, distinctive horizontal format, and hip exposed board ensures this book will be equally appealing as coffee table décor.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1452156934
Written by Sandra Feder
Illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Publisher’s Synopsis: Yellow is Ella’s favorite color — she loves the bright, sunny daytime. But every night, as darkness falls, she becomes afraid. When her mother encourages her to look at the soft glow of the moon and fireflies dancing in the night, and to listen to the chirping of crickets and the gentle rustling of the wind, Ella gradually realizes that nighttime can be something to look forward to rather than something to fear.
With sweet, luminous illustrations by Aimée Sicuro, this story will inspire parents and children to welcome the peaceful nature of nighttime into their homes and hearts.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Groundwood Books | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1554988235
Illustrated by Xavier Deneux
Publisher’s Synopsis: Using the same innovative production technique and brilliant aesthetic cheered by parents, educators, and children alike in the acclaimed TouchThinkLearn series, here is an alphabet that literally adds a new dimension to learning. Raised die-cut pieces nestled in mirroring indented cut-outs engage readers on both visual and tactile levels. An impressive gift, this exquisitely executed design object is above all else a fabulously fun and educationally essential alphabet book.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1452145037
Written and Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard
Publisher’s Synopsis: Bird is hiking with his friends when his tummy rumbles.
But no one packed him a snack that he likes!
With every step, his hunger mounts until he collapses on the ground.
How will Bird survive if he doesn’t eat the perfect something this instant?!
The hilarious blue-feathered anti-hero who first starred in Jeremy Tankard’s high-flying debut, Grumpy Bird, returns in another laugh out loud melodrama. For every child who has ever needed a snack right now, and for every parent who has had to cope with a hangry, fussy child, Hungry Bird is sure to satisfy.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0545864176
Written and Illustrated by Deborah Freedman
Publisher’s Synopsis: A dazzlingly beautiful new book about shyness from the author of Blue Chicken, The Story of Fish and Snail, and By Mouse and Frog!
Shy loves birds. He’d love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he’s only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He’s dying to meet her, but there’s just one problem: Shy is, well, shy–so shy, in fact, that he’s afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page?
This sweetly relatable picture book from the acclaimed Deborah Freedman speaks to every child who’s ever felt like hiding instead of facing the daunting world.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451474964
Publisher’s Synopsis: Wiggly, giggly preschoolers will love the action in this picture book with its catchy sequence of movements and directions — hop up, bend down, spin round, jump over — that are endlessly fun! A young boy and his energetic puppy take a walk in their neighborhood, where they encounter and interact with lots of friends along the way!
A hop is up.
A bend is down.
A spin is round
A jump is over,
from here to there.
A leap repeats
when there’s a pair.
Dempsey’s poetic and playful text is brought to life by Richmond’s rich, kid-friendly illustrations. It all comes together for an inspired story that will have everyone on their feet!
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1619633902
Written by Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrated by Eric Wight
Publisher’s Synopsis: Cupcake dresses to impress. Her smile is brilliant. Her wave is flawless. She even wears a tiara. Everyone loves a tiara. And Cupcake wants everyone to love her. But when she tries too hard to make everyone happy, she crumbles under the pressure and realizes that sometimes just being yourself is enough.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0374302931
Written by Jonathan Tweet
Illustrated by Karen Lewis
Publisher’s Synopsis: Where did we come from?
It’s a simple question, but not so simple an answer to explain―especially to young children. Charles Darwin’s theory of common descent no longer needs to be a scientific mystery to inquisitive young readers. Meet Grandmother Fish.
Told in an engaging call and response text where a child can wiggle like a fish or hoot like an ape and brought to life by vibrant artwork, Grandmother Fish takes children and adults through the history of life on our planet and explains how we are all connected.
The book also includes comprehensive backmatter, including:
– An elaborate illustration of the evolutionary tree of life
– Helpful science notes for parents
– How to explain natural selection to a child
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1250113238
Written and Illustrated by Lucie Félix
Publisher’s Synopsis: Full of colorful pieces to pop out and move around, this striking, hands-on book of opposites is one that toddlers will love exploring over and over.
To play this game of opposites, press out a shape on each spread and turn the page to complete a new picture. Once readers reach the end, they will be eager to play their way back to the beginning! Not your ordinary board book, Lucie Felix’s highly original novelty title will help very young children practice early motor skills, shape recognition, sorting, and the vocabulary of opposites.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick Studio | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763690113
Written and Illustrated by Kim Krans
Publisher’s Synopsis: In this companion to ABC Dream, Kim Krans elevates the simple activity of counting with pen-and-ink drawings of unusual animals and scenes of natural beauty. Delicate watercolor accents, an infusion of all-embracing spirituality, and an engrossing search-and-find element make this enchanting book a collectible for all ages.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553539325
Written by Jory John
Illustrated by Lane Smith
Publisher’s Synopsis: A penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like—and it isn’t all fun and games. A hilarious first collaboration from Jory John (All my friends are dead. and Quit Calling Me a Monster!) and Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales).
Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it’s a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won’t they?
Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no more a picnic than yours is here. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol’ crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you.
Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we’ve just learned that grumps are everywhere. . . .
Jory John and Lane Smith let us decide. This book is sure to tickle kids’ funny bones and will elicit appreciative sighs from the adults reading it aloud.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553513370
Written by Evan Kuhlman
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for reading aloud, this spare, charming picture book about a day in the life of a pill bug in suburbia is also about an unusual friendship.
Hank is a pill bug with a busy life—for a pill bug, that is. His daily routine involves nibbling a dead leaf, climbing up a long stick, avoiding a skateboarder, and playing pretend with his best friend, a human girl named Amelia, in her backyard. And when day is done, Hank likes nothing better than returning home to his cozy rock.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553511505
Written by Oliver Jeffers
Illustrated by Sam Winston
Publisher’s Synopsis: New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston deliver a lyrical picture book inspiring readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine.
A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? Combining elegant images by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories—an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others.
Ages 4+ | Publisher: Candlewick | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763690779
Written by Richard Jackson
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Publisher’s Synopsis: Sophie lives with Mama and Daddy and Grandpa, who spends his days by the window. Every day after school, it’s Grandpa whom Sophie runs to.
“Here I am, Grandpa!”
“Ah, Sophie, how was your day?”
As Sophie and her grandpa talk, he asks her to find items he’s “lost” throughout the day, guiding Sophie on a tour through his daily life and connecting their generations in this sweet, playful picture book illustrated by Caldecott Medalist and Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner Jerry Pinkney.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Roaring Book Press | September 20, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626722552
Written by Chris Hadfield
Publisher’s Synopsis: Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan’s lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.
Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he’s a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem–at night, Chris doesn’t feel so brave. He’s afraid of the dark.
But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is–and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0316394727
Written and Illustrated by Hazel Mitchell
Publisher’s Synopsis: A heartwarming story about the growing bond between a child and a new pet—inspired by the author’s experience with a rescue dog of the same name.
When a young boy and his father move from one house to another, they decide to adopt a dog from the local rescue shelter. But their chosen dog, Toby, is having a tough time adjusting to his new life outside the shelter—howling all night, hiding fearfully from his new humans, forgetting where to go to the bathroom, and chasing a ball through the flower bed. The boy has promised to train his new companion, and he’s trying his best, but Dad is starting to get exasperated. Will Toby ever feel comfortable with his new family and settle into his forever home, or will Dad decide he’s not the right dog for them after all?
Ages 4-6 | Publisher: Candlewick | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763680930
Written and Illustrated by Norman Messenger
Publisher’s Synopsis: Readers will be mesmerized by these surreal and gorgeously rendered alphabet letters, cleverly shaped from flora, fauna, and more.
At first glance, this elegant alphabet book—showcasing both upper- and lowercase letters—seems to follow a familiar formula. There’s an acrobat standing atop a horse to form a big letter A and another curled under herself to make a small one. There’s a colony of beetles attached to the leaves they’ve munched, creating a big and a small letter B. But then comes the letter C, made of sea waves evoking the artist Hokusai. Or a lowercase I in the form of a pen that has left an ink smudge, or two kingly beasts that create the letter K. And what of the many letters, equally fantastical and fascinating, whose associations are left to the viewers’ imaginations? Ingenious and intriguing, beautiful and full of stunning detail, this is an alphabet book sure to invite many repeat explorations.
Ages 4+ | Publisher: Candlewick Studio | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763681234
Written and Illustrated by Brian Won
Publisher’s Synopsis: When the moon is up, Owl is wide awake and ready for fun: “Hooray for today! Would you like to play?” But everyone says, “Not now! I’m sleepy!” Owl’s playday gets lonely fast as each friend turns her away—until sunrise, when Owl discovers a friendly surprise. Perfect for little ones learning the art of patience, Hooray for Today! celebrates playtime, sharing, and friendship.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0544748033
Written and Illustrated by Vera Brosgol
Publisher’s Synopsis: An epic tale about one grandmother, a giant sack of yarn, and her ultimate quest to finish her knitting.
One day, a grandmother shouts, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and leaves her tiny home and her very big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting. Along the way, she encounters ravenous bears, obnoxious goats, and even hordes of aliens! But nothing stops grandma from accomplishing her goal―knitting sweaters for her many grandchildren to keep them warm and toasty for the coming winter.
This slyly clever and unexpectedly funny modern folktale by Vera Brosgol is perfect for fans of Extra Yarnand is certain to warm even the coldest of hearts.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626724419
Publisher’s Synopsis: Pack your bags and take the journey of a lifetime with this puzzle book packed with maps, wildlife, people, and places unique to the 50 states. As a holiday companion title to The 50 States, spreads are thematically ordered by subject, featuring 50 Animals, 50 Things that Go, 50 People, 50 Places, 50 Festivals and Cultural events, plus a make-your-own puzzle of the 50 states on the final spread.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions | September 1, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1847808691
Written by Berkeley Breathed
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the “Bloom County” comic strip is back! To help celebrate, here is the first ever Bloom County picture book, featuring fan-favorite Bill the Cat! (Ack ack!) Pre-order your copy today!
Almost thirty-five years ago Berkeley Breathed launched a little-known comic strip called “Bloom County” that was full of characters who instantly entered the public consciousness–none more so than Opus (the penguin) and Bill the Cat. Bloom County’s popularity soared, it was soon syndicated nationally, had millions of daily readers, and before long its creator was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Then, nine years later, “Bloom County” sadly came to a close. It had simply ceased being fun for Berkeley Breathed.
Now, more than twenty-five years after it ended, “Bloom County” has returned in full force online, with an ever-growing fanbase every bit as zealous as it was in the strip’s heyday. For the comic’s youngest fans, and for those who never stopped wishing for its return, here is an all-new, kid-friendly story for anyone who ever wanted to know the origin story of Bill the Cat. “Bloom County” has never been more fun!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Philomel Books | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0399546624
Written and Illustrated by Paul Meisel
Publisher’s Synopsis: In this fresh and funny picture book from Geisel Honor-winning author-illustrator Paul Meisel, a lonely bat thinks he has found a perfect home—until he discovers that it’s already inhabited by a persnickety squirrel. Since each is asleep during the other’s waking hours, the two begin exchanging notes. With these notes, Squirrel does her best to oust her unwelcome guest, but Bat misunderstands and thinks Squirrel is happy to have a new friend. This is a sweet opposites-attract friendship story that gently shows how to find common ground despite outward differences.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Boyds Mills Press | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1629794952
Written by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Publisher’s Synopsis: Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!
Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spent a lifetime disagreeing: disagreeing with inequality, arguing against unfair treatment, and standing up for what’s right for people everywhere. This biographical picture book about the Notorious RBG, tells the justice’s story through the lens of her many famous dissents, or disagreements.
An out of control canine named Puddles disrupts the charmed life of the fat, pampered cat, Fuddles in this charming follow-up to Fuddles and A Very Fuddles Christmas.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | September 20, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481465595
Written and Illustrated by Frans Vischer
Publisher’s Synopsis: An out of control canine named Puddles disrupts the charmed life of the fat, pampered cat, Fuddles in this charming follow-up to Fuddles and A Very Fuddles Christmas.
Fuddles finds that his perfectly pampered life of luxury comes to a screeching halt when his family buys a new puppy, Puddles. Howling and barking? Incessant licks and ball-fetching? Will Fuddles ever find a way to cope with his new frenemy?
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Aladdin | September 27, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1481438391
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Publisher’s Synopsis: You may think you know how this book was made, but you don’t. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How’d it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger.
New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal the nitty-gritty process of making a book . . . with a few unexpected twists along the way! Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf, and a reader.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1423152200
Written and Illustrated by Michael Hall
Publisher’s Synopsis: This beautiful and informative picture book follows a single tree through the fall season, from the end of summer to winter’s first snowfall. A great read-aloud for home and the classroom by the New York Times–bestselling creator of My Heart Is Like a Zoo and Red: A Crayon’s Story.
Wonderfall follows a single tree through the changing of the seasons. People, animals, and vehicles pass in front of the tree, celebrating holidays, playing in its leaves, and getting ready for winter. Fifteen combined words (thankful + fall = thankFALL, plentiful + fall = plentiFALL) underscore the themes and concepts of the season, while the main attraction—the beautiful tree—drops acorns, loses leaves, and provides food and a home for a pair of scurrying squirrels. Two full spreads at the back of the book offer additional information about the animals featured in the book, as well as the science behind squirrels, acorns, and saplings.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062382986
Written and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman
We woke up in the usual way,
but it was not a usual day.
Out on the lawn, plain as could be,
stood an orange wishing tree.
“I wish!” I said. “I wish!” said you.
And so our double wishes grew.
Wishes are a magical part of childhood. Whether we wish on stars or blow out candles on a cake, our dreams matter. Nancy Tillman captures the wonder of wishes as only she can, with love.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1250056290
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
Publisher’s Synopsis: A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.
George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0451472304
Written by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Publisher’s Synopsis: An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille—a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.
Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read.
Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.
And so he invented his own alphabet—a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.
Award-winning writer Jen Bryant tells Braille’s inspiring story with a lively and accessible text, filled with the sounds, the smells, and the touch of Louis’s world. Boris Kulikov’s inspired paintings help readers to understand what Louis lost, and what he was determined to gain back through books.
An author’s note and additional resources at the end of the book complement the simple story and offer more information for parents and teachers.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0449813379
Publisher’s synopsis: Four friends. Three cookies. One problem.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | September 20, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1484726365
Written by Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by David Roberts
Publisher’s Synopsis: The creators of the New York Times bestselling picture books Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect are back with a story about the power of curiosity in the hands of a child who is on a mission to use science to understand her world. Ada Twist, Scientist, from powerhouse team Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, is a celebration of STEM, perseverance, and passion.
Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!
Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. She may never find the source of the stink, but with a supportive family and the space to figure it out, she’ll be able to feed her curiosity in the ways a young scientist should.
Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere have earned their places among the most beloved children’s characters, and they have inspired countless kids and adults to follow their dreams and passions. Now in her own charming and witty picture book, determined Ada Twist, with her boundless curiosity for science and love of the question “Why?,” is destined to join these two favorites. The book is the perfect tool to remind both young girls and women that they have the intelligence and perseverance to achieve their dream.
Ages 5-7 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | September 6, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1419721373
Grumbles from the Town: Mother-Goose Voices with a Twist
Illustrated by Angela Matteson
Publisher’s Synopsis: Poets Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich take fourteen Mother-Goose rhymes that have been enjoyed by generations of children and twist them in ways sure to delight modern kids. These poem pairs feature wildly different voices and perspectives, and Angela Matteson’s stunning illustrations add further hilarious details. So while Humpty Dumpty’s classmate explains why he’s sitting in time-out again, Matteson’s art shows Humpty Dumpty as a daredevil skateboarder teetering on a wall. The poems have strong rhythm and rhyme, making Grumbles from the Town a terrific read-aloud. This lavish volume includes the original Mother Goose rhymes, endnotes that briefly describe their history, and an introduction that invites readers to imagine their own poems from unusual perspectives and “create magic.”
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: WordSong | September 13, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1590789223