Best New Picture Books | August 2017
The Children’s Book Review | August 20, 2017
19 New Release Picture Books
We have listed 19 of the best new picture books for you to read your way through. Included in this round-up of picture books is the newest book from Hervé Tullet, a delightful picture book by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell, a warm and surprising story, a humorous tale that proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us, a hilarious yet poignant parable about feeling left out, a joyful celebration of the Cuban people and their resourceful innovation, a striking under-the-sea version of Goldilocks, a hilarious (and just a little creepy) story of a brave rabbit and a very weird pair of underwear, a unique story of the trailblazing Disney artist Mary Blair, an honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son and between cultures, and the true story of how one of America’s most “notorious” women bravely persevered to become the remarkable symbol of justice she is today.
Our selection of best new picture books will give you plenty of outstanding reading material! Which one are you going to read first?
Written and Illustrated by Hervé Tullet
Publisher’s Synopsis: Make some noise! Shout “OH!” Whisper “oh!” Say “Zoop”? Yes! “Zoop!” “Zoop!” “Zoop!” The newest book from Hervé Tullet magically responds with bursts of color and moving shapes, empowering children by letting their imaginations liberate and direct each page’s reaction. Tullet’s books define the genre of participatory bookmaking, encouraging readers to explore and interact with the physical book in all its dimensions. The reward is tremendous: a journey of whimsy and sheer fun that extends well beyond the book’s pages. In this worthy and exhilarating companion to the bestselling trio launched with Press Here, Tullet’s beloved dots will have readers literally “Ooh”-ing and “Ahh”-ing out loud in a happy collective encore.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | August 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452164731
Written by Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s back to school for the New York Times bestselling Cat when he steps in as a substitute teacher.
Cat is not pleased to be tapped as substitute teacher. Not only is it cutting into his naptime, but a roomful of kittens is a little, well, scary. At school, he’s faced with six adorable kittens and follows the lesson plan of music, building, and painting—only in pure, mischief-making Cat style. By the end, Cat has learned a thing or two about inspiring others by being himself. But even more heart-melting and humorous is what the kittens have learned from Cat.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Dial Books | August 8, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399539053
Written by Phillip C. Stead
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Publisher’s Synopsis: Did you hear about little Amy Scott? She got a goldfish for her birthday and then just threw it in the ocean! That doesn’t seem right.
I guess Sherman and Sadie will have to go save little Ellsworth (every fish deserves a proper name) on their own. They’ll need:
Twenty-one pink balloons
A bucket of paint
Appropriate headwear in case of weather―good or bad
Don’t worry. Ellsworth is in good hands now, but what ever happened to little Amy Scott?
Join Sadie (Special Delivery) on another adventure in The Only Fish in the Sea, a delightful picture book by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | August 15, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1626722828
Written and Illustrated by Antje Damm
Publisher’s Synopsis: Bear has been sitting and waiting since dawn. “”I’m waiting for Goliath. He’s my best friend.”” At last the bus pulls up, but no one gets out. “”He’ll definitely show up. You’ll see!”” The robins fly south and the first snow falls. When Bear wakes from a long sleep, he hears a noise like a hand sliding slowly across paper. Goliath is coming!
But Goliath’s identity is a big surprise.
This is a warm and surprising story with depth and humor and luminous illustrations.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Gecko Press | August 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1776571413
Written by Jory John
Illustrated by Pete Oswald
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of the Goodnight Already! series …
This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember!
With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for young readers, as well as anyone navigating their current world, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | August 29, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0062467768
Written and Illustrated by Adam Rex
Publisher’s Synopsis: We all know nothing rhymes with orange. But how does that make Orange feel? Well, left out! When a parade of fruit gets together to sing a song about how wonderful they are—and the song happens to rhyme—Orange can’t help but feel like it’s impossible for him to ever fit in. But when one particularly intuitive Apple notices how Orange is feeling, the entire English language begins to become a bit more inclusive. Beloved author-illustrator Adam Rex has created a hilarious yet poignant parable about feeling left out, celebrating difference, and the irrefutable fact that nothing rhymes with orange.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | August 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452154435
Written by Giovanna Zoboli
Illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio
Publisher’s Synopsis: Mr. Crocodile loves his job. Every morning he gets up with an alarm. He brushes his teeth. He chooses the right tie to match his outfit, eats a quick slice of toast, and heads off to work on a crowded train. But what exactly is his job? The answer may surprise you! Readers will want to pore over this witty, wordless book again and again, finding new details and fresh stories with every reading.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | August 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1452165066
Written and Illustrated by Angela Dominguez
Publisher’s Synopsis: Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family. He brings his guitar, his music―and his memories.
In this story inspired by the life of Apolinar Navarrete Diaz―author Angela Dominguez’s grandfather and a successful mariachi musician―Abuelo and his grandchildren sing through the bad times and the good. Lifting their voices and their spirits, they realize that true happiness comes from singing together.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | August 22, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1627798396
Written and Illustrated by Mike Curato
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s autumn in the Big City! Little Elliot and Mouse love the hustle and bustle of the city streets. But sometimes it feels like there are too many people, too many noises―just too much! The best friends decide to get out of town for a vacation in the countryside. There, they’ll discover the sights and smells of autumn in the country. Everything is more fun when shared with a friend!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | August 29, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1627796408
Written by Margarita Engle
Illustrated by Mike Curato
Publisher’s Synopsis: So we purr, cara cara, and we glide, taka taka, and we zoom, zoom, ZOOM!
Together, a boy and his parents drive to the city of Havana, Cuba, in their old family car. Along the way, they experience the sights and sounds of the streets―neighbors talking, musicians performing, and beautiful, colorful cars putt-putting and bumpety-bumping along. In the end, though, it’s their old car, Cara Cara, that the boy loves best. A joyful celebration of the Cuban people and their resourceful innovation.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. | August 29, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1627796422
Written and Illustrated by Jan Brett
Publisher’s Synopsis: A striking under-the-sea version of Goldilocks as only Jan Brett could create.
When Kiniro, a young mermaid, comes upon a gorgeous house made of seashells and coral, she is so curious that she goes inside. She’s thrilled to find a just-right breakfast, pretty little chair, and, best of all, a comfy bed that rocks in the current.
But when the Octopus family returns home, they are not happy to find that someone has been eating their food and breaking their things. Baby has the biggest shock when she finds the mermaid asleep in her bed! Luckily, shock turns to happiness when Kiniro gives her a thoughtful gift before escaping from the twenty-four arms coming her way.
Vibrant, intricate scenes of an underwater paradise transport this classic fairy tale to a magical setting inspired by the seas off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Chock full of fish and fauna and adventure, Kiniro’s story will enchant readers of all ages.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | August 22, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399170720
Written by Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Peter Brown
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the celebrated team behind Creepy Carrots!, Aaron Reynolds and Caldecott Honor winner Peter Brown, comes a hilarious (and just a little creepy) story of a brave rabbit and a very weird pair of underwear.
Jasper Rabbit is NOT a little bunny anymore. He’s not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not afraid of something as silly as underwear. But when the lights go out, suddenly his new big rabbit underwear glows in the dark. A ghoulish, greenish glow. If Jasper didn’t know any better he’d say his undies were a little, well, creepy. Jasper’s not scared obviously, he’s just done with creepy underwear. But after trying everything to get rid of them, they keep coming back!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | August 15, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1442402980
Written by Jacqueline Tourville and Amy Guglielmo
Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
Publisher’s Synopsis: Amy Guglielmo, Jacqueline Tourville, and Brigette Barrager team up to tell the joyful and unique story of the trailblazing Disney artist Mary Blair.
Mary Blair lived her life in color: vivid, wild color.
From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots, and magenta horses that could fly.
She painted her world.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | August 29, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481461313
Written by Carmen Bogan
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Publisher’s Synopsis: Rodney is that kid who just can’t sit still. He’s inside, but he wants to be outside. Outside is where Rodney always wants to be. Between school and home, there is a park. He knows all about that park. It’s that triangle-shaped place with the yellow grass and two benches where grown-ups sit around all day. Besides, his momma said to stay away from that park. When Rodney finally gets a chance to go to a real park, with plenty of room to run and climb and shout, and to just be himself, he will never be the same.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Yosemite Conservancy | August 7, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1930238732
Written by Jean E. Pendziwol
Illustrated by Phil
Publisher’s Synopsis: In the stillness of a summer dawn, two siblings leave their campsite with fishing rods, tackle and bait, and push a red canoe into the lake. A perfect morning on the water unfolds, with thrilling glimpses of wildlife along the way.
The narrator describes the experience vividly. Trailing a lure through the blue-green depths, the siblings paddle around a point, spotting a moose in the shallows, a beaver swimming towards its home and an eagle returning to its nest. Suddenly there is a sharp tug and the rod bends to meet the water. A few heart-stopping moments later, the pair pull a silvery trout from the water, then paddle back to the campsite to fry up a delicious breakfast.
The poetic text is accompanied by stunningly beautiful paintings rendered on wood panels that give a nostalgic feeling to the story.
Ages 5-8 | Publisher: Groundwood Books | August 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1554988471
Written and Illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Publisher’s Synopsis: Get to know Zaha Hadid in this nonfiction picture book about the famed architect’s life and her triumph over adversity from celebrated author-illustrator Jeanette Winter.
Zaha Hadid grew up in Baghdad, Iraq, and dreamed of designing her own cities. After studying architecture in London, she opened her own studio and started designing buildings. But as a Muslim woman, Hadid faced many obstacles. Determined to succeed, she worked hard for many years, and achieved her goals—and now you can see the buildings Hadid has designed all over the world.
Ages 5-10 | Publisher: Beach Lane Books | August 22, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1481446693
Written by Bao Phi
Illustrated by Thi Bui
Publisher’s Synopsis: Acclaimed poet Bao Phi delivers a powerful, honest glimpse into a relationship between father and son and between cultures, old and new. A Different Pond is an unforgettable story about a simple event a long-ago fishing trip. As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father’s long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao s father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. The New York Times has said that Bao Phi s poetry rhymes with the truth. Together with graphic novelist Thi Bui s striking, evocative art, Phi s expertly crafted prose reflects an immigrant family making its way in a new home while honoring its bonds to the past.
Ages 6-8 | Publisher: Capstone Young Readers | August 1, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1623708030
Written by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Publisher’s Synopsis: To become the first female Jewish Supreme Court Justice, the unsinkable Ruth Bader Ginsburg had to overcome countless injustices. Growing up in Brooklyn in the 1930s and ’40s, Ginsburg was discouraged from working by her father, who thought a woman’s place was in the home. Regardless, she went to Cornell University, where men outnumbered women four to one. There, she met her husband, Martin Ginsburg, and found her calling as a lawyer. Despite discrimination against Jews, females, and working mothers, Ginsburg went on to become Columbia Law School’s first tenured female professor, a judge for the US Court of Appeals, and finally, a Supreme Court Justice.
Structured as a court case in which the reader is presented with evidence of the injustice that Ginsburg faced, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the true story of how one of America’s most “notorious” women bravely persevered to become the remarkable symbol of justice she is today.
Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | August 8, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1419725593
Written and Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Publisher’s Synopsis: Award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh tells the story of Amalia Hernández, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folklórico de México.
Published in time for the 100th anniversary of Hernández’s birth, Danza! is the first picture book about the famous dancer and choreographer.
Danza! is a celebration of Hernández’s life and of the rich history of dance in Mexico. As a child, Amalia always thought she would grow up to be a teacher, until she saw a performance of dancers in her town square. She was fascinated by the way the dancers twirled and swayed, and she knew that someday she would be a dancer, too. She began to study many different types of dance, including ballet and modern, under some of the best teachers in the world. Hernández traveled throughout Mexico studying and learning regional dances. Soon she founded her own dance company, El Ballet Folklórico de México, where she integrated her knowledge of ballet and modern dance with folkloric dances. The group began to perform all over the country and soon all over the world, becoming an international sensation that still tours today.
Duncan Tonatiuh’s picture books have been honored with many awards and accolades, including the Pura Belpré Award, the Robert F. Sibert Award, and the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award. With Tonatiuh’s distinctive Mixtec-inspired artwork and colorful drawings that seem to leap off the page, Danza! will enthrall and inspire young readers with the fascinating story of this important dancer and choreographer.
Ages 6-10 | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers | August 22, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1419725326
*Header image illustration from Here Comes Teacher Cat, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Reuda (Dial Books 2017)