On Our Shelves: New Picturebooks

Just in time for back to school, we have been cataloging new books in the children’s area like mad. In the process I have seen some great books, and had to check some out to read for myself and share with my own children. There have even been some that are staff storytime picks.  Here are some of my favorite picturebooks that have recently been added to our collection.

The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems. The  latest entry in the best-selling series that includes the Caldecott Honor-winning Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! finds a mussy Pigeon refusing to take a bath and insisting he had one a month earlier

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won. Elevated from a bad mood when he receives an exciting new hat, Elephant cheers up his equally grumpy friend Zebra before marching to the homes of other downcast friends who join them in a fabulous hat parade

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson. After a chance encounter at the park and a switch of places, Antoinette the bulldog and Gaston the
poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances, in an adorable doggy tale from a New York Times best-selling author.

Ninja! by Arree Chung. A little boy flexes his ninja chops in an adventure that finds him silently creeping through his home and overcoming formidable obstacles, like the coffee table, to pounce upon his unsuspecting father’s tummy.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat. An imaginary friend waits a long time to be imagined by a child and given a special name, and finally does the unimaginable–he sets out on a quest to find his perfect match in the real world.

As usual, I cannot stop there. Here are some more new picturebooks,  and a few easy readers thrown in for good measure, as suggestions for some fun and family friendly reading. My New Friend Is So Fun! by Mo Willems, Brimsby’s Hats by Andrew Prahin, Poppy the Pirate Dog’s New Shipmate by Liz Kessler, Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey,  Tulip Loves Rex by 
Alyssa Satin Capucilli, How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth by Michelle Robinson, Little Big Horse: Where’s my Bike? by Dave Horowitz, and The Loch Mess Monster by Helen Lester.

Recommended Wordless Picturebooks

A great picturebook does not always need words to make it worth sharing. Wordless picture books can still help a young child learn to love books and set them on the path to being a great reader. Enjoying a well-done picturebook with no words can help a child build their comprehension skills, predict what will happen next, and enhance their ability to take words and meaning from pictures. These are important tools to have as reading skills develop and grow.
Most importantly, they can show even the youngest and most challenged readers the beauty of being drawn into a new world through the pages of a book.

Chalk by Bill Thomson
A wordless picture book about three children who go to a park on a rainy day, find some chalk, and draw pictures that come to life.

Shadow by Suzy Lee
A little girl uses her imagination and a light bulb to go on an adventure in a dark attic.

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle.

Journey by Aaron Becker
Using a red marker, a young girl draws a door on her bedroom wall and through it enters another world where she experiences many adventures, including being captured by an evil emperor.

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel.

Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage
In this wordless picture book, follow Walrus on a happy-go-lucky spree through the big city, as he tries on different hats to disguise himself from the chasing zookeeper.

Tuesday by David Wiesner
Frogs rise on their lily pads, float through the air, and explore the nearby houses while their inhabitants sleep.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.

If you are still looking for more you might also want to check out; Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole, Inside Outside by Lizi Boyd,  Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola, Daisy Gets Lost by Chris Raschka, The Line by Paula Bossio, The Snowman by Raymond Briggs, Bluebird by Bob Staake,  The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller, Home by Jeannie Baker,  Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman, Time Flies by Eric Rohmann, Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu, The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, The Secret Box by Barbara Lehman, Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle, Free Fall by David Wiesner, or  Flotsam by David Wiesner.

Monstrously Magnificent Picture Books

If your kids are anything like mine, or were when they young, they have a fascination with monsters. Both my five and my seven year old love anything that they can slap a ‘scary’ label on, as long as it does not get too scary. Scooby-Doo, and an ever-cycling cast of creatures are the constant source of happy conversations and late night fears. Vampires, ghosts, zombies, mummies, and a wide assortment of creatures have become the focus of one or both of my children at any given time.

Some books, movies, and television shows featuring monsters are silly fun, others creepy and entertaining, while others cross a line (some times without me even realizing it until the questions or nightmares start) into the realm of actually scary.  Finding the right balance of fun and creepy without crossing the line into actually fright inducing can be difficult. Here are some of the books that I have found to be entertainingly spooky or silly, without becoming too scary.

We have a Monster Lit Kit– a collection of books, activities, a CD, and a DVD to please young monster lovers. The lit kit is includes the books Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella, Birthday MonstersFrank was a Monster Who Wanted to DanceThe Monsters at End of this Book, Monster Goose, My Monster Mama Loves Me So, Monster Manners, Monster Things to Make and DoThere’s a Nighmare in my Closet, and  The Very Worst Monster. The music CD include is Scream Factory Favorites which is z collection of songs based on the characters from Monsters, inc. and the DVD included is Cookie Monster’s Best Bites. We have Lit Kits available on most topics out youngest readers, and their families or teachers enjoy.

Big Scary Monster by Thomas Docherty
Big Scary Monster is one misunderstood beastie. He loves to jump out and surprise his friends, but he’s not mean, really. Yet when his friends start hiding from him, he decides to look for new creatures to frighten, only to wind up finding out he’s a bit of a scaredy-cat himself!

Bone Soup by Cambria Evans
Retells the classic tale about a traveller, a ghost, who tricks a town’s witches, ghouls, and zombies into helping him make soup. A Halloween themed version of Stone Soup.

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll
Checking under the bed for his monster, Ethan discovers that he is gone fishing for a week, and realizing he can’t sleep without him tries to find a substitute monster.

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Leonardo is a terrible monster — he can’t seem to frighten anyone. When he discovers the perfect nervous little boy, will he scare the lunch out of him? Or will he think of something better?

The Monsters’ Monster By Patrick McDonnell
Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom spend much of their time arguing over who is the “biggest and baddest” until they build a monster together that turns out to be very different than what they expect.

My Friend the Monster by Eleanor Taylor
After his family moves into their new house, Louis the fox discovers a very frightened monster living under his bed, and when he takes the monster to the park with him, the monster helps him make new friends.

Sally and the Some-Thing by George O’Connor
Stuck at home with her mom and her new sibling, Sally heads for the swamp with her fishing pole and bike. What she discovers, a slimy, slithery Some-Thing, is a new best friend. Mud pies, burping contests, snail racing–and sensational, beautiful artwork deliver plenty of kid appeal.

If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley
Monsters sing their own version of this popular song that encourages everyone to express their happiness through voice and movement.

For more monstrously fun reading, you might also want to check out; Bedtime Monsters by Josh Schneider, Some Monsters are Different by David Milgrim, Ghost in the House by Ammi-Joan Paquette, Monsters on Machines by Deb Lund, There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca Emberley, Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley, There’s a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer, Most Loved Monster by Lynn Downey, The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber, Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott, When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor, Skeleton for Dinner by Margery Cuyler, Bedtime For Monsters By Ed Vere, Beasty Bath By Robert Neubecker, Goodnight, Little Monster By Helen Ketteman, or  Broom, Zoom! by Caron Lee Cohen.

Pictures Really Worth a Thousand (or More) Words

A great picturebook is one that has a perfect pairing of illustrations and words. It should have a story that is interesting to most age groups, and artwork that makes you want to go back for more. Sometimes however you find a picturebook that has such wonderful illustrations that it could be wordless or a reader could ignore the words all together simply because of the perfection of the illustrations. Here are some picture books that have great stories and concepts, but truly stand out because of the fabulous artwork that helps to tell the story.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
A small boy tries to discover the meaning of “memory” so he can restore that of an elderly friend.

Blueberry Girl written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess
Rhyming text expresses a prayer for a girl to be protected from such dangers as nightmares at age three or false friends at fifteen, and to be granted clearness of sight and other favors.

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
When Stillwater the bear moves into the neighborhood, the stories he tells to three siblings teach them to look at the world in new ways.

On Market Street  written by Arnold Lobel, pictures by Anita Lobel
A child buys presents from A to Z in the shops along Market Street.

Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen illustrated by John Schoenherr
On a winter’s night under a full moon, a father and daughter trek into the woods to see the Great Horned Owl.

The Mitten: a Ukrainian Folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett
Several animals sleep snugly in Nicki’s lost mitten until the bear sneezes.

More great artwork and stories can be found in:  The Napping House by Audrey Wood illustrated by Don Wood, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak , The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses story and illustrations by Paul Goble, The Clown of God told and illustrated by Tomie de Paola, Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág , and Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. 

As always, I know I missed some picturebooks with picture perfect pages. Do you have a favorite picturebook that you treasure or remember because of the artwork?