Best New Picture Books | October 2016
The Children’s Book Review | October 1, 2016
18 New Release Picture Books
This is a great picture book month! There are plenty of amazing books being published this month from well-known picture book authors and illustrators: Mo Willems, Todd Parr, Cynthia Rylant, Christian Robinson, Joyce Sidman, and more. We’ve narrowed our list down to 18 picture books that we feel are the best of the best from October. Get ready to explore with Charles Darwin, learn a new interpretative language, be astonished by incredible artwork, and be overjoyed with friendship and love.
Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems
Publisher’s Synopsis: Today is the day Nanette gets to get the baguette! Is she set? YOU BET!
Mo Willems’ hilarious new picture book, Nanette’s Baguette, follows our plucky heroine on her first big solo trip to the bakery. But . . . will Nanette get the baguette from baker Juliette? Or will Nanette soon be beset with regret?
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | October 25, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1484722862
Written and Illustrated by Todd Parr
Publisher’s Synopsis: In a brand-new companion to his beloved classic It’s Okay to Be Different, New York Timesbestselling author Todd Parr encourages kids to be proud of who they are inside.
Be who you are!
Be proud of where you’re from.
Be a different color. Speak your language.
Wear everything you need to be you.
Who better than Todd Parr to remind kids that their unique traits are what make them so special? With his signature silly and accessible style, Parr encourages readers to embrace all their unique qualities.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | October 25, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0316265232
Written by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Publisher’s Synopsis: Newbery Medal–winning author Cynthia Rylant and Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson pair up to tell this wintry story about five little penguins enjoying a snowy day.
Snowflakes? Many snowflakes. Winter is coming. So begins this ever-so-simple story. As the snow starts to fall, the excited penguins pull out scarves, mittens, heavy socks, and boots, and Mama helps them bundle up. But when it’s time to go out, one timid penguin decides to stay home. Filled with waddling baby penguins, playful text, and delightful illustrations, this book feels like a young picture-book classic in the making.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | October 25, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0553507706
Written by Jo
Illustrated by Beth Krommes
Publisher’s Synopsis: There are planes to fly and buses to catch, but a child uses the power of words, in the form of an invocation, to persuade fate to bring her family a snow day — a day slow and unhurried enough to spend at home together.
In a spare text that reads as pure song and illustrations of astonishingly beautiful scratchboard art, Sidman and Krommes remind us that sometimes, if spoken from the heart, wishes really can come true.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0547979175
Written and Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Publisher’s Synopsis: Leo isn’t just a stuffed toy, he is Henry’s best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry’s family believes Leo is real enough to find his way home.
With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor–winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores the transcendent nature of friendship and love.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0544648111
Publisher’s Synopsis: In Kate Hoefler’s realistic and poetic picture book debut about the wide open West, the myth of rowdy, rough-riding cowboys and cowgirls is remade. A timely and multifaceted portrayal reveals a lifestyle that is as diverse as it contrary to what we’ve come to expect.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0544148925
Written and Illustrated by Carson Ellis
Publisher’s Synopsis: The creator of Home turns a droll eye to the natural world, with gorgeous art and a playful invented language.
Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon—with the help of a pill bug named Icky—they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down—booby voobeck!—only to be carried off in turn. Su! With exquisitely detailed illustrations and tragicomic flair, Carson Ellis invites readers to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in even the humblest backyard. Su!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Candlewick | October 18, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763665302
Written and Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Publisher’s Synopsis: Hold on to your hats for the conclusion of the celebrated hat trilogy by Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen, who gives his deadpan finale a surprising new twist.
Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat. . . . Evoking hilarity and sympathy, the shifting eyes tell the tale in this brilliantly paced story in three parts, highlighting Jon Klassen’s visual comedy and deceptive simplicity. The delicious buildup takes an unexpected turn that is sure to please loyal fans and newcomers alike.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Candlewick | October 11, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0763656003
Written and Illustrated by Sonja Danowski
Publisher’s Synopsis: This heartwarming tale by the extraordinary illustrator, Sonja Danowski, is sure to please animal lovers!
When Toni, a little boy, bravely offers his favorite stuffed cat to the animal shelter to raise money for the needy dogs and cats, it touches his mom’s heart. Later that night Toni misses his stuffed toy, and his mom offers her old stuffed animal. He embraces it with such love that his mom rewards him in a way that he never imagines.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: NorthSouth | October 1, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0735842663
Written by Rebecca Young
Illustrated by Matt Ottley
Publisher’s Synopsis: A stunning picture book that addresses life’s big journeys with hope, beauty, and reassurance
A boy must leave his home and find another. He brings with him a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up, and sets off to sea. Some days, the journey is peaceful, and the skies are cloudless and bright. Some days, storms threaten to overturn his boat. And some days, the smallest amount of hope grows into something glorious. At last, the boy finds land, but it doesn’t feel complete . . . until another traveler joins him, bearing the seed to build a new home.
With lyrical text and gorgeous artwork, this poignant picture book is perfect for discussing all of life’s toughest challenges—a big move, a divorce, long-distance separation, or even the current refugee crisis—in a way that’s reassuring and inspiring for children and adults alike.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0735227774
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the #1 New York Times bestselling team of Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond comes the ninth picture book in the blockbuster If You Give . . . series, one of the most beloved children’s series of all time. With its spare, rhythmic text and circular tale, If You Give a Mouse a Brownie is perfect for beginning readers and story time.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | October 18, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0060275716
Written and Illustrated by James and Kimberly Dean
Publisher’s Synopsis: Join Pete the Cat in a brand-new story and help him and his friends find the missing cupcakes! Pete the Cat and his friends are busy as can be baking cupcakes for a cupcake party, and Pete can’t wait to perform with his groovy band. But some of the cupcakes have gone missing. Who could have taken them? In this latest Pete the Cat picture book adventure, by New York Times bestselling authors James and Kimberly Dean, Pete and the gang solve the mystery of the missing cupcakes and learn that it’s cool to be kind.
Don’t miss Pete’s other adventures, including Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, and Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062304346
Written and Illustrated by Jennifer Thermes
Publisher’s Synopsis: In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on his first voyage. Though he was a scientist by profession, he was an explorer at heart. While journeying around South America for the first time aboard a ninety-foot-long ship named the Beagle, Charles collected insets, dug up bones, galloped with gauchos, encountered volcanoes and earthquakes, and even ate armadillo for breakfast! The discoveries he made during this adventure would later inspire ideas that changed how we see the world.
Complete with mesmerizing map work that charts Darwin’s thrilling five-year voyage, as well as “Fun Facts” and more, Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure captures the beauty and mystery of nature with wide-eyed wonder.
Ages 5-7 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | October 4, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1419721205
Written and Illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
Publisher’s Synopsis: When Bruce gets home from a southern migration trip with his goslings, he is tired. He is grumpy. And he is definitely not in the mood to share his home with the trio of mice who have turned his den into a hotel.
There’s a possum pillow fight wreaking havoc in one room, a fox luring guests into a stew in the kitchen, and a snuggly crew of critters hogging the bed. Bruce growls and grumbles and tries to throw them all out, but the entrepreneurial mice just can’t take a hint. Bruce is in a little over his head, especially once the goslings join the staff. Will this grumpy bear ever get his quiet, peaceful den back to himself?
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | October 18, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1484743621
Written and Illustrated by Tomi Ungerer
Publisher’s Synopsis: Eight classic picture books by the legendary author, brought together in one lavish slipcased volume.
This glorious treasury brings together eight iconic tales by Tomi Ungerer, featuring well-known classics (The Three Robbers, Moon Man, Otto), acclaimed recent works (Fog Island), and lost gems (Zeralda’s Ogre, Flix, The Hat, and Emile), some of which are being published for the first time in 50 years! Special features include a personal letter from Tomi, new quotes and anecdotes about each story, an exclusive interview, photos and previously unpublished materials from the making of some of his most celebrated works, such as storyboards, sketches, photographs, and images that inspired him.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Phaidon Press | October 24, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0714872858
Written and Illustrated by Bob Shea
Publisher’s Synopsis: What could be happier than a book with a dancing cake, a candy parade, and a hug monster? A book with all those things (and more) plus YOU! Your happy, happy thoughts will make this book super happy happy! But something seems off. Could it be that frowny frog? Perhaps we could shake some sense into him, or slap a Post-it over his face. No? Well then, maybe its time for that frog to SCRAM! Hooray! He’s gone! Time for a happy dance! Wait, what’s wrong? Now NO ONE seems happy! Let’s see if we can’t do something to truly make this the happiest book ever.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | October 11, 2016 | ISBN-13:978-1484730454
Publisher’s Synopsis: Here’s a powerful historical picture book about the child of founding father Thomas Jefferson and the enslaved Sally Hemings.
In an evocative first-person account accompanied by exquisite artwork, Winter and Widener tell the story of James Madison Hemings’s childhood at Monticello, and, in doing so, illuminate the many contradictions in Jefferson’s life and legacy. Though Jefferson lived in a mansion, Hemings and his siblings lived in a single room. While Jefferson doted on his white grandchildren, he never showed affection to his enslaved children. Though he kept the Hemings boys from hard field labor—instead sending them to work in the carpentry shop—Jefferson nevertheless listed the children in his “Farm Book” along with the sheep, hogs, and other property. Here is a profound and moving account of one family’s history, which is also America’s history.
An author’s note includes more information about Hemings, Jefferson, and the author’s research.
Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | October 25, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0385383424
Written and Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Publisher’s Synopsis: A visually stunning picture book biography about modern art phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Javaka Steptoe.
Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | October 25, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0316213882