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Best New Picture Books March 2017 Happy Dreamer

Best New Picture Books | March 2017

The Children’s Book Review | March 1, 2017

24 New Release Picture Books

From a heartwarming story about finding the courage to make a friend, to an exuberantly colorful Lucy Cousins book, to a Newbery Medalist and Caldecott Medalist collaboration, to a story about courage and cultural legacy, our selection of best new picture books that release during March, will give you plenty of outstanding reading material! This is a star-studded lineup of children’s picture book authors and illustrators; including R.J. Palacio, Helen Oxenbury, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen, and Peter H. Rynolds … just to name a few! How will you choose which one to read first?


Bird, Balloon, BearBird, Balloon, Bear

Written and Illustrated by Il Sung Na

Publisher’s Synopsis: A fresh and heartwarming new story from Il Sung Na about finding the courage to make a friend.
 
Bird is new to the forest, and he’s looking for a friend. Bear could use a friend, too.
But Bird is too shy to introduce himself. Just as he musters the courage to say hello . . . it’s too late! Bear has already found a friend: a bright, shiny red balloon.

Has Bird missed his chance?

From the acclaimed Il Sung Na comes a charming and beautifully illustrated story about courage, kindness, and friendship.

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399551550


Anywhere FarmAnywhere Farm

Written by Phyllis Root

Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Publisher’s Synopsis: For any anywhere farm, here’s all that you need: soil and sunshine, some water, a seed.

You might think a farm means fields, tractors, and a barnyard full of animals. But you can plant a farm anywhere you like! A box or a bucket, a boot or a pan — almost anything can be turned into a home for green, growing things. Windows, balconies, and front steps all make wonderful spots to start. Who knows what plants you may choose to grow and who will come to see your new garden? Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page. After all, anywhere can be a farm — all it takes is one small seed and someone to plant it.

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763674991


Bee & Me Alison JayBee & Me

Illustrated by Alison Jay

Publisher’s Synopsis: A beautiful wordless picture book brings a personal note to the plight of the honeybee and offers a message of hope.

A little girl befriends a bee that takes her on a journey of discovery, revealing an action that every child can take to aid in conservation. In a wordless story told through enchanting illustrations, Bee & Me tells a tale of friendship and offers an introduction to the ecology of the natural world. Alison Jay’s original artwork brings the story gently to life, pointing out the sadness of a world without bees. An afterword makes clear to readers the important role these endangered insects play.

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763690106


Hooray for Birds! Lucy CousinsHooray for Birds!

Written and Illustrated by Lucy Cousins

Publisher’s Synopsis: In an exuberant display of color, Lucy Cousins invites little ones to imagine themselves as brilliant birds.

Birds of all feathers flock together in a fun, rhyme-filled offering by the creator of Maisy. From the rooster’s “cock-a-doodle-doo” at dawn to the owl’s nighttime “tuwit, tuwoo,” the cheeps and tweets of many bright and beautiful avian friends will have children eager to join in as honorary fledglings. This day in the life of birds will hold the attention of even the smallest bird-watchers, whether at storytime or just before settling into their cozy nests to sleep.

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763692650


Shake a Leg, Egg!Shake a Leg, Egg!

Written and Illustrated by Kurt Cyrus

Publisher’s Synopsis: From celebrated author-illustrator Kurt Cyrus comes a playful and whimsical picture book that celebrates the excitement and anticipation of a soon-to-be-born baby.

It’s springtime, and the pond is bursting with new life. There are beaver pups, heron hatchlings, and lots and lots of ducklings. Everyone is out and about, swimming, flapping, chirping, and quacking—except for one family of geese. When, oh when, will their last little one break on out and join the waiting world?

Ages 2-8 | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481458481


 A Day With DogsA Day with Dogs

Written and Illustrated by Dorothée de Monfreid

Publisher’s Synopsis: Gecko Press, founded in 2005, is a New Zealand-based, award-winning independent publisher of curiously good books from around the world. We translate and publish English-language versions of children’s books by some of the world’s best writers and illustrators. We choose books that are excellent in story, illustration, and design, with a strong “heart factor.” Gecko Press aims to encourage children to love to read.

Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Gecko Press | March 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1776570980


The Fox WishThe Fox Wish

Written by Kimiko Aman 

Illustrated by Komako Sakai

Publisher’s Synopsis: This charming story follows two children who go looking for their jump rope and discover that a group of foxes have claimed it as an answer to their wish. With beautiful, classic illustrations and lyrical text, here is a subtle, sensitive piece of magic that proves to sisters, brothers, and foxes alike that the trusted familiar often lives right next to the truly extraordinary—if only you have the eyes to see it.

Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452151885


Big Cat, Little CatBig Cat, Little Cat

Written and Illustrated by Elisha Cooper

Publisher’s Synopsis: There was a cat
who lived alone.
Until the day
a new cat came . . .

And so a story of friendship begins, following two cats through their days, months, and years until one day, the older cat has to go. And he doesn’t come back.

This is a poignant story, told in measured text and bold black-and-white illustrations about life and the act of moving on.

Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1626723719


Time Now to DreamTime Now to Dream

Written by by Timothy Knapman

Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Publisher’s Synopsis: A mysterious forest sound sets a curious girl and her timid younger brother on an evening adventure with an unexpectedly heartwarming outcome.

Alice and Jack are out playing catch when they hear a strange sound coming from the forest. Jack wants to know what it could be, and Alice decides to go find out. “But what if it’s the Wicked Wolf?” Jack asks. “Shhh,” says Alice. “Everything is going to be all right.” As the two go deeper into the woods and get closer to the odd noise, Jack grows more afraid. But Alice reassures him as she guides him along, and together they make a surprising and sweet discovery. Author Timothy Knapman balances the excitement of adventuring into the unknown with the comfort of returning home safe and sound, while Helen Oxenbury’s classically charming illustrations make this a perfect bedtime book to share with little explorers, both the brave ones and those who may need some reassuring that everything is going to be all right.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763690786


Wake Up! by Rick LiederWake Up!

Written by Helen Frost

Photographs by Rick Lieder

Publisher’s Synopsis: The world is wide awake — are you? Stunning photos and poetic text usher readers into the early moments of life all around them.

Wake up! Come out and explore all the new creatures being born — just-hatched birds in the trees, tadpoles in the pond, a baby fawn in the woods. In their latest collaboration, poet Helen Frost and photographer Rick Lieder, the creators of Step Gently Out, Sweep Up the Sun, and Among a Thousand Fireflies, invite readers to wake up, open their eyes, and see the awe-inspiring array of new life just outside their door.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763681494


Princess Cora and the CrocodilePrincess Cora and the Crocodile

Written by Laura Amy Schlitz

Illustrated by Brian Floca

Publisher’s Synopsis: A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Medalist join forces to give an overscheduled princess a day off — and a deliciously wicked crocodile a day on.

Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She’s sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She’s sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won’t let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn’t expect that help to come in the form of a crocodile—a crocodile who does not behave properly. With perfectly paced dry comedy, children’s book luminaries Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca send Princess Cora on a delightful outdoor adventure — climbing trees! getting dirty! having fun! — while her alter ego wreaks utter havoc inside the castle, obliging one pair of royal helicopter parents to reconsider their ways.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763648220


Lucia the LuchadoraLucia the Luchadora

Written by Cynthia Leonor Garza

Illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez

Publisher’s Synopsis: Lucía zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her “girls can’t be superheroes,” suddenly she doesn’t feel so mighty. That’s when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret: Lucía comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition. Cloaked in a flashy new disguise, Lucía returns as a recess sensation! But when she’s confronted with a case of injustice, Lucía must decide if she can stay true to the ways of the luchadora and fight for what is right, even if it means breaking the sacred rule of never revealing the identity behind her mask. A story about courage and cultural legacy, Lucía the Luchadora is full of pluck, daring, and heart.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: POW! | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1576878279


Duck and Hippo in the RainstormDuck And Hippo In The Rainstorm

Written by Jonathan London

Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

Publisher’s Synopsis: Get ready for a rainy-day adventure with Duck and Hippo!

Duck and Hippo may be completely different, but they are best friends. When playful Duck invites careful Hippo to go for a walk in the rain, they have trouble sharing Duck’s umbrella. But Duck and Hippo won’t let that stop them. Soon they are puddle-jumping and sailing down the river! Until…WHOOOSH! A terrible wind sends the umbrella flying up, up, up into the air, with one friend holding on. What will Duck and Hippo do now? Jonathan London’s charming text and Andrew Joyner’s delightful art bring to life two lovable friends in this fun new series.

Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Two Lions | March 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1503937239


Round by Joyce SidmanRound

Written by Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

Publisher’s Synopsis: If you look closely, you will find that the world is bursting, swelling, budding, and ripening with round things awaiting discovery—like eggs about to hatch, sunflowers stretching toward the sun, or planets slowly spinning together for billions of years.

Whimsical and imaginative, this poetic ode to all that is round and full of wonder by the Newbery Honor–winning author and poet Joyce Sidman, with illustrations by the two-time New York Best Illustrated Book award recipient Taeeun Yoo, inspires curiosity and wonder for this (round) little earth we call home.

Ages 4-7 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0544387614


Over and Under the PondOver and Under the Pond

Written by Kate Messner

Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Publisher’s Synopsis: In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452145426


We're All WondersWe’re All Wonders

Written by R.J. Palacio

Publisher’s Synopsis: The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, soon to be a major motion piction, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.

Over 5 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.

Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.

We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1524766498


Happy DreamerHappy Dreamer

Written and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Publisher’s Synopsis: In his Scholastic debut, picture book and creativity guru Peter Reynolds brings us a universally poignant celebration of the colorful spectrum of what it means to dream and the many ways to find happy!

While the world tells us to sit still, to follow the rules, and to color inside the lines, Happy Dreamer celebrates all those moments in between when the mind and spirit soar and we are free to become our own true dreamer maximus! In Peter’s signature voice and style, this empowering picture book reminds children of how much their dreams matter, and while life will have ups and downs, he enlists readers to stay true to who they are, to tap into their most creative inner selves, and to never ever forget to dream big!

With worldwide sales of his previous titles surpasing 2 million copies, Peter Reynolds’ latest inspirational book is a perfect gift for graduations, new babies, milestone moments, and any happy occasion throughout the year.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Orchard Books | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0545865012


All Ears, All EyesAll Ears, All Eyes

Written by Richard Jackson

Illustrated by Katherine Tillotson

Publisher’s Synopsis: Shh…look…listen…to the sounds of the dark say Goodnight!

What sails? What flies? Those…these, Down low, nearby, far off, up high.
Who listens? Who looks? Who hears? Who sees?

An homage to the melodies of nighttime, to each critter that sings, hoots, or glows, All Ears, All Eyes takes us on a moonlit journey where the landscape shimmers with Fantasia-like beauty. Where if you look and listen, you might spy an owl, a deer, a chipmunk—or—what else!—before falling asleep.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481415712


Percy, Dog of DestinyPercy, Dog of Destiny

Written by Alison McGhee

Illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann 

Publisher’s Synopsis: Dog park? Let’s go! Percy may be a small dog, but he more than makes up for it in attitude and energy. Holding tight to his precious toy ball, he makes his way to the dog park, coming across three friends along the way—Molly, with her kerchief; Oatmeal Cookie, with his Frisbee; and lovable giant Fluffy, with his bone. At the park, the four friends have fun running, digging, and sniffing—until a sneering, jeering squirrel dares to challenge Percy, causing him to drop his beloved toy. Percy’s ball sails through the air, flying so high that he might lose it forever… but an unlikely hero dashes in to save the day! Told from the perspective of a way-too-big-for-his-britches Jack Russell Terrier, and paired with humorous, quirky illustrations, this hilarious, original story from New York Times best-selling author Alison McGhee is brimming with enough personality and wit to keep children and adults alike giggling from start to finish.

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Boyds Mills Press | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1590789841


The Hidden Life of a ToadThe Hidden Life of a Toad

Created by Doug Wechsler

Publisher’s Synopsis: In jaw-dropping photos, Doug Wechsler captures the life cycle of the American toad from egg to tadpole to adult. To get these images, Wechsler sat in a pond wearing waders, went out night after night in search of toads, and cut his own glass to make a home aquarium. The resulting photos reveal metamorphosis in extreme close-up as readers have never seen it before.

Budding naturalists will be transfixed by this unprecedented peek into the secrets of tadpole transformation. Demystifying

Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Charlesbridge | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1580897389


Dad and the DinosaurDad and the Dinosaur

Written by Gennifer Choldenko

Illustrated by Dan Santat

Publisher’s Synopsis: A heartwarming father-son story about bravery and facing fears.

Nicholas was afraid of the dark outside his door, the bushes where the giant bugs live, and the underside of manhole covers.
 
His dad was not afraid of anything.

Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).

With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.

Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.

A family classic in the making from the dream team of Newbery Honor-winner Gennifer Choldenko and Caldecott Medal-winner Dan Santat.

Ages 5-8 | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | March 28, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399243530


Triangle by Mac BarnettTriangle

Written by Mac Barnett 

Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Publisher’s Synopsis: Multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen conspire again on a slyly funny tale about some very sneaky shapes.

Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks. . . . With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. Visually stunning and full of wry humor, here is a perfectly paced treat that could come only from the minds of two of today’s most irreverent — and talented — picture book creators.

Ages 5-9 | Publisher: Candlewick | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763696030


When Jackie Saved Grand Central- The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy's Fight for an American IconWhen Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American

Written by Natasha Wing

Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Publisher’s Synopsis: Before she was an iconic First Lady of the United States, Jackie Kennedy was a born-and-raised New Yorker. She loved everything about her city, from the natural beauty of the parks to the architectural history of the buildings. So when the owners of Grand Central wanted to build a skyscraper on top of the famous train station, Jackie knew they had to be stopped. She helped inspire thousands of people to come together and fight to protect the historic landmark. From letter-writing campaigns all the way to the Supreme Court, this little-known story celebrates winning in the face of immeasurable odds and how one person can make a big difference.

Ages 6-9 | Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers | March 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0547449210


Red Cloud- A Lakota Story of War and SurrenderRed Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender

Written by S. D. Nelson

Publisher’s Synopsis: The award-winning author and illustrator of Black Elk’s Vision and Sitting Bull continues his picture-book biography series with Red Cloud, the story of one of the most controversial leaders in Native American history.

A leader among the Lakota during the 1860s, Chief Red Cloud deeply opposed white expansion into Native American territory. He rejected treaties from the U.S. government and instead united the warriors of the Lakota and nearby tribes, becoming the only Native American to win a war against the U.S. Army. Despite his military successes, Red Cloud recognized that continued conflict would only bring destruction to his people. He made the controversial decision to make an agreement with the U.S. government, and moved his people to a reservation. The effects of his decision—as well as the conflicts that arose from those who rejected the agreement and continued fighting against white expansion, such as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull—shaped much of the history of Native American relations with the U.S. in years to come.

Featuring archival images and S. D. Nelson’s stunning illustrations, Red Cloud offers an authentic Native American perspective on one of the most pivotal eras of American history. S. D. Nelson has received praise and honor for his works. His book Sitting Bull received an American Indian Youth Literature Honor Award. Black Elk’s Vision made the prestigious Texas Bluebonnet Master List and The Star People earned a Western Spur award.

Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | March 14, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1419723131


For more of the best new picture books for kids, follow along with our articles tagged with New Books for Kids, Picture Books, Books for Ages 0-3, and Books for Ages 4-8.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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