Best New Picture Books | May 2017
The Children’s Book Review | May 3, 2017
20 New Release Picture Books
We have 20 new picture book suggestions for you to read your way through. Included in this round-up of picture books is a funny and honest read-aloud about how overwhelming the world can be when you’re worried, a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, a rollicking book that will have readers of every age reconsidering whether “Mine!” is the best answer, a classic read-aloud favorite addressing bullying retold by acclaimed artist Jerry Pinkney, and the story of an inspiring American artist. Our selection of best new picture books will give you plenty of outstanding reading material! Which one are you going to read first?
Written by Carolyn Crimi
Illustrated by Laurel Molk
Publisher’s Synopsis: Come on, Sukie, you can do it! A little dog’s paralyzing anxiety gives way to bravery when someone smaller is in need in this humorous, tenderly sympathetic story.
Lots of things at the beach scare Sukie. Lots. Because she is just a small dog, and the stairs are big and sandy, and the waves are big and whooshy, and the balls are big and beachy. And besides, there might be lobsters. With endearing illustrations and a perfectly paced text that captures a timid pup’s looping thoughts, here is a funny and honest read-aloud about how overwhelming the world can be when you’re worried — and how empowering it is to overcome your fears when it matters the most.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763675424
Written and Illustrated by Gaia Cornwall
Publisher’s Synopsis: Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Candlewick | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0763678388
Written and Illustrated by Jeff Mack
Publisher’s Synopsis: Start with one rock. Add two mice. The end result? A never-ending battle! Or is it? Using only one word, along with many brightly colored and lively illustrations, Jeff Mack brings his hallmark humor to this rollicking book that will have readers of every age reconsidering whether “Mine!” is the best answer.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452152349
Written and Illustrated by Matt Lamothe
Publisher’s Synopsis: Follow the real lives of seven kids from Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia for a single day! In Japan Kei plays Freeze Tag, while in Uganda Daphine likes to jump rope. But while the way they play may differ, the shared rhythm of their days—and this one world we all share—unites them. This genuine exchange provides a window into traditions that may be different from our own as well as a mirror reflecting our common experiences. Inspired by his own travels, Matt Lamothe transports readers across the globe and back with this luminous and thoughtful picture book.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452150185
Written and Illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper
Publisher’s Synopsis: Yellow Bird has a button. It does . . . nothing! It is a good for nothing button. Red Bird and Blue Bird are excited to try the button. But when they press it, they discover that the button makes them happy. Happy is something! A flabbergasted Yellow Bird insists the button does nothing. But it sure does seem to be making him mad. Mad is something!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1484726464
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Publisher’s Synopsis: A classic read-aloud favorite addressing bullying retold by acclaimed artist Jerry Pinkney.
Jerry Pinkney puts his indelible stamp on another beloved folktale in the same vein as the Caldecott Medal-winning The Lion & the Mouse and the highly acclaimed The Tortoise & the Hare and The Grasshopper & the Ants.
When the three billy goats Gruff are hungry, they see bountiful grass to eat across an old bridge. But the bridge is home to a terrible troll, who is peckish himself, and looking for a tasty morsel to gobble up. In his interpretation of the timeless tale, Jerry Pinkney shows there’s little good to come from greed–but in the end, redemption for even the most trollish bully is possible. A dramatic gatefold heightens the climax of this brilliant rendition.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | May 9, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0316341578
Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle
Publisher’s Synopsis: Everybody has a favorite color. Some like blue balloons or brown buildings or mint green ice cream cones. Others prefer sunshine yellow, Maine morning gray, or Mexican pink.
In this book, fifteen beloved children’s book artists draw their favorite colors and explain why they love them. This personal collection will undoubtedly inspire readers to create favorite color drawings and stories of their own!
Contributors include: Eric Carle, Lauren Castillo, Bryan Collier, Mike Curato, Etienne Delessert, Anna Dewdney, Rafael Lopez, William Low, Marc Martin, Jill McElmurry, Yuyi Morales, Frann Preston-Gannon, Uri Shulevitz, Philip C. Stead, Melissa Sweet
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0805096149
Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
Publisher’s Synopsis: The bold story of Maya Lin, the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
You may be familiar with the iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorial. But do you know about the artist-architect who created this landmark?
As a child, Maya Lin loved to study the spaces around her. She explored the forest in her backyard, observing woodland creatures, and used her house as a model to build tiny towns out of paper and scraps. The daughter of a clay artist and a poet, Maya grew up with art and learned to think with her hands as well as her mind. From her first experiments with light and lines to the height of her success nationwide, this is the story of an inspiring American artist: the visionary artist-architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1250112491
Written and Illustrated by Hope Anita Smith
Publisher’s Synopsis: A picture book of poems that celebrate fathers from a two-time Coretta Scott King Honor–winning poet.
Who is your hero? Who’s your best friend?
Who says he loves you again and again?
Told through the voice of a child, My Daddy Rules the World collection of poems celebrates everyday displays of fatherly love, from guitar lessons and wrestling matches to bedtime stories, haircuts in the kitchen, and cuddling in bed. These heartwarming poems, together with bold folk-art-inspired images, capture the strength and beauty of the relationship between father and child.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0805091892
Written by Chelsea Clinton
Publisher’s Synopsis: Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.
Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.
She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.
With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.
This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor–and one special cameo.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Philomel Books | May 30, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1524741723
Written and Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
Publisher’s Synopsis: Armed with a vivid imagination and her trusty cat mask, Lily can take on anything–even a new school…
But when her teacher tells her no masks allowed in class, Lily worries, can she make friends without it?
Anyone who has been daunted by a new experience, or struggled to put on a good face, will relate to Lily. Whimsical art brings Lily, her father, and her new classmates to life, with text that begs to be read aloud. Perfect for Father’s Day, back to school, and even Halloween–Lily and her grinning cat mask are sure to make you smile back.
Ages 4-6 | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0425287996
Written and Illustrated by Sally Fawcett
Publisher’s Synopsis: Through the Gate tells the story of a child who has just moved house and is struggling to cope with all the changes in her life. She relates to the dilapidated house she has moved to, as she sits sad and forlorn upon its broken front step. But, as the story unfolds, the house is gradually repaired paralleling how the child’s perception of her new situation improves. Each time the child passes ‘through the gate’, into the world beyond, she notices more of her surroundings and discovers that her new life has some wonderful things in it. The messages delivered through this story can be understood at different levels – literal and metaphorical. Nothing stays the same and difficult times will pass. A little effort in maintenance can improve our physical surroundings, yet our perceptions also colour our world. These messages are relevant to both children and adults, as we all experience many changes throughout our lives and draw on our resilience as we adapt to them. Within the illustrations is a ‘spot the difference’ game that encourages interaction with the story and develops observation skills. Younger children can be involved in spotting the more obvious changes and older children will be challenged with the more subtle transformations.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: EK Books | May 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1925335415
Written and Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Publisher’s Synopsis: Colette can’t find something to talk about with the new kids in the neighborhood…so she invents a pet! Her fib quickly escalates, and suddenly her parakeet is a larger-than-life world-traveler named Marie Antoinette. Have her new friends figured out her secret? What will they do?
This charming story both clearly identifies the struggle of navigating a different experience, and demonstrates to kids a lovely and welcoming way to treat someone new in their community.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | May 23, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0553536591
Publisher’s Synopsis: A sweet introduction to owning a pet that is perfect for readers of The Most Magnificent Thing and A Ball for Daisy.
When a little girl gets a new puppy, they have a lot to learn about each other. The new friends can be shy, messy, and sometimes get into trouble. They get lost, but they always get found. Their friendship may be a lot of work—but at the end of the day, they love each other!
Experience the excitement and mystery surrounding a new pet (and a new friend) in this joyful picture book from acclaimed author and illustrator Karl Newsom Edwards.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | May 23, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399557002
Written by Dean Robbins
Illustrated by Lucy Knisley
Publisher’s Synopsis: Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world.
Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.
Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deliver a lovely portrayal of a pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | May 16, 2017| ISBN-13: 978-0399551857
Written by Laurel Snyder
Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Publisher’s Synopsis: Perfect for fans of the Caldecott Honor Book The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and David Small, here’s a heartwarming spring picture book about gardening and friendship.
Every day, Honey tends her garden, thinning the lettuces, pulling up beets, and even singing to the kale. (Honey says if you listen carefully, you can hear the kale singing back!) Laurel, the little girl who lives next door, likes to help, weeding the rows, washing vegetables under the pump, and gathering speckled eggs from the chicken coop. But one day there is a FOR SALE sign in Honey’s front yard. Honey’s mother is sick, and she is moving away! What will happen to Honey’s garden? And what will Laurel do without her friend? Here is a touching story that beautifully illustrates how friendship—just like a garden—grows.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Schwartz & Wade | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0553512731
Written and Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
Publisher’s Synopsis: WEE-OOO-WEE-OOO-WEE-OOO! Here come the Firefighter Duckies!
Frank Dormer is at it again with this quack-out-loud silly story, full of wacky charm and perfect for little duckies of all dispositions.
The Firefighter Duckies are brave and strong. They rescue:
Gorillas in chef hats!
Whales in trees!
Dinosaurs on bicycles!
But when the emergencies requiring their attention become a little overwhelming, the Firefighter Duckies realize that they don’t have to be brave and strong to be helpful and kind.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | May 30, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481460903
Written by Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by Katy Wu
Publisher’s Synopsis: “If you’ve got a good idea, and you know it’s going to work, go ahead and do it.”
The inspiring story of Grace Hopper—the boundary-breaking woman who revolutionized computer science—is told told in an engaging picture book biography.
Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life.
Ages 5-12 | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1454920007
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Publisher’s Synopsis: “Uncle,” Croissant said, “the fridge is in trouble!
A mystery stench turned a whole shelf to rubble!
I’m the last hope or the fridge will be lost!
Help me or else we’ll be cooked, served, and sauced.”
There’s a stinky stench in the fridge–and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Sir French Toast’s nephew, Inspector Croissant, begs him and Lady Pancake for help in finding the source of the foul odor. Could it be the devious Baron von Waffle? A fetid fish lurking in the bottom of Corn Chowder Lake? Featuring the same delectable wordplay and delicious art that won critical raves for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast–this fun follow-up is an absolutely tasty treat for kids and adults alike!
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | May 2, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1454919605
Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Kenard Pak
Publisher’s Synopsis: A clever and whimsical environmental fable about a bird who is a human-watcher from a dynamic author-illustrator duo.
Warble is a small yellow warbler who lives on the beautiful island of Icyland, where he pursues his hobby of human watching. But on a warm day, a deep fog rolls in and obscures his view. The rest of the birds don’t seem to notice the fog or the other changes Warble observes on the island. The more the fog is ignored, the more it spreads. When a Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile) appears, Warble discovers that he’s not the only one who notices the fog. Will they be able to find others who can see it too? And is the fog here to stay? Kyo Maclear’s witty story, brought to life with the delicate, misty artwork of Kenard Pak, is a poignant yet humorous reminder of the importance of environmental awareness.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Tundra Books | May 16, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1770494923
*Header image illustration from Mine!, by Jeff Mack (Chronicle Books 2017)