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Gaston is a French bulldog who lives with a family of poodles: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo and Ooh-La-La. He tries his best to fit in, being precious and delicate like his siblings. One day at the park Mrs. Poodle meets another pup family of mostly bulldogs and one poodle, Antoinette. After playing, Gaston and Antoinette switch places and go home with their new, supposedly correct pup family. It doesn't feel right: Gaston isn't as rough and tumble as the other bulldogs and Antoinette is not as delicate as the other poodles. The next day the pups switch back, but keep visiting each other at the park. Eventually, Gaston and Antoinette go on to have a family of their own, teaching them "to be whatever they wanted to be." The colorful, simple artwork and fun names for the dogs will keep most kids entertained by this pup tale.
This is a wordless picture book that nonetheless manages to impart a lovely message about sharing. A girl walking with her little brother, sees a bike in a store window which she must have. The girl goes home and promptly gets busy, looking for loose change around the house and doing chores for the neighbor. When she finally gets enough money (months later) she looks in the window and the bike is gone. The girl buys a tricycle for her brother instead. There's a happy ending for her, which is sweet but not overly preachy. The illustrations have a vintage feel, done in tones of sepia and the bicycle in green. The overall effect is simple and understandable for a variety of ages.
This is a picture book which has a message, but is written in such a way that it doesn't feel preachy. Brian, a young elementary school boy is quiet; so quiet he's invisible. Other children and the teacher ignore him when teams are chosen or hands are raised. He draws when his classmates read or play board games. Things change for Brian when a new boy joins the class. The new boy Justin, appears to be a different ethnicity than the other classmates and is looked upon strangely at first. Being outsiders, Justin and Brian make friends and soon a third friend is included. Toward the end of the book, the three boys work on a project together that cements their friendship. Patrice Barton's illustrations show Brian faintly in the beginning and gain some color when he makes friends. At the end of the book, there's a reference page with further reading for children and adults about friendship and introversion.
"Shh! We Have a Plan" revolves around four friends going into the woods to capture a bird. The smallest (or youngest) friend has another idea, however. He just wants to talk to the bird: "hello birdie". After several attempts, the youngest succeeds and draws a whole forest of red-hued birds to him. A large angry bird chases them off when the friends again attempt to capture a bird. At the end, the youngest points out a squirrel and they're off and running again. Younger readers will appreciate this book's slapstick humor, simple art and minimal text.
This is a clever little picture book where the gutter of the book "eats" various items starting with Bella's dog. Soon the gutter starts swallowing the fire truck, dog rescue truck and Bella also. The girl tosses a note out of the gutter asking the reader to help by shaking the book. Finally, the entire crew of helpers, the girl and and her dog fall out of the gutter. The book's premise sounds scary for little ones, but the drawings are whimsical and with the reader's help it becomes a funny, interactive story.
This is a sweet tale about a girl who finds a box of yarn and proceeds to knit for all the townsfolk. An evil archduke covets her box of yarn and steals it, only to find out that the box is empty. He curses the girl, but she gets the box back and continues to knit. There's a message to the story: it's the kindness of the girl's heart that enables her to knit with no yarn. The message is subtle though, and doesn't overwhelm the whimsy of the story. The illustrator, Jon Klassen, even includes his bear from I Want My Hat Back (wearing a sweater). Extra Yarn is a simple story with illustrations that give the book an instant classic feel.
Madame Chapeau lives in what seems to be Paris and makes hats for other people. Madame herself is a sad eyed, but fashionable young woman. Every year on a special day she goes out in her finest hat and matching outfit. But this year things go wrong and she loses her hat to a bird. The rest of the story is about Madame Chapeau looking for her hat while others offer theirs. She refuses their kind offers until a girl gives her a hat she knit specially for her.
The clever rhyming and unique illustrations make this a great book, particularly for kids who like fashion.
If you like dogs, even mischievous ones, you'll enjoy Bad Dog Flash. Ruth Paul captures the energy of a young dog getting into trouble all throughout the house. Flash eats shoes, chases the cat, tracks mud into the house and shreds the laundry among other things; all the while maintaining a look of innocence.The text is easy for the little ones and the illustrations are soft and sweet. In the end, Flash is forgiven by the little girl who loves him.
This is an adorable celebration of books for the little ones. Babies and toddlers are everywhere and so are books. The simple text shows children in what ways and where you can enjoy books: on sunny days, rainy days, in scary ways and funny ways. Though the text is simple, the illustrations are charming and fill out the sparse text. Lots of color and little details (like a mouse hiding on each page) are fun for kids to play search and find.
Froodle is a funny book, with lots of silly words for kids to say aloud. The story begins with a normal neighborhood filled with animals making normal sounds, bark, coo, cheep etc. Then a little brown sparrow decides to say something besides peep. Soon all the birds except for crow are saying weird things. Crow is not amused. Finally, he comes around and says, "Wuppy!" then the cats and dogs join in. It's verbal mayhem! Lots of puns (which will amuse the adults), simple pictures and fun words keep the story going in this book about a not-so-normal neighborhood.
This is a wordless picture book which is full of adventure. A boy drawing in his bed imagines himself on a safari and soon he is on the savannah with the animals. He has lunch with the zebras, rides on an elephant, shares his bread with monkeys and is chased by rhinos. Finally he draws himself back to his room, sketching his way across the savannah. At the end, he's at school showing his art to his classmates. To help differentiate between the imagined scenes and the "actual" scenes, Mr. Colon uses different techniques: colored pencil for the imagined and ink/watercolor for the realistic scenes. As with most kids, the imagined world is more lush and vivid than the real one.
This is a simple but cute picture book for younger children. The whole book is wordless and takes place at night. It features a boy who's camping near the woods and decides to go on a walk with his flashlight. The beam from the flashlight reveals the hidden world of night to the boy. Other select parts of the woods are lit as well: birch trees, luna moths and june bugs. The moon rises and offers another source of light. Interspersed are cut-out shapes offering glimpses of critters in trees and ponds. At the end, the animals get to use the flashlight and have fun shining it on the boy. A unique and fun picture book!
Bluebird is a beautiful and unusually illustrated children's book. The illustrations are done in a sparse, yet delicate style with the bluebird being one of a few featured colors on each page. The occasional flowery typeface and the collaged images add a touch of whimsy to the whole look. The bluebird is in search of his friend the wind, without whom he's convinced he can't fly. He looks high and low around the city and country encountering dandelion seeds, kites and scarves who also can't fly without the wind. In his search, he realizes that he's flown to the tallest building without his friend the wind. At the end of the book his friend returns, but the bluebird now knows he can also fly alone.
This is a great book for a picky eater. Nacho is very picky, he only wants to eat one thing; Gazpacho. When he learns to cook the soup on his own he realizes how many yummy things there are to try. The story is told in a rhyming mix of Spanish and English.
When Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith
Friends by Eric Carle
Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Splash! by Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas is the continuation of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! Mr. McGreely just can't get away from the bunnies that ate his garden. They follow him on his vacation. Eventually he gives in and realizes that they can be friends and have fun together.
Oh, No! by Candace Fleming
Just Ducks by Nicola Davies
Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino
Tulip Loves Rex
is about a little girl who is a bit different, she loves to dance so much that it's just about all she does. One day she meets a dog who loves to dance just as much as she does. This is a cute book that is sure to delight any little dancer or dog lover.
Foxy in Love by Emma Dodd
A Bunny in the Ballet by Robert Beck
Who Goes There? by Karma Wilson
is charming, as are all of Rosemary Wells' books. Stella lives in her silver home and is happy there until some weasels tease her about it. Eventually Stella comes to realize that her home is wonderful and she shouldn't worry what others say. Older kids will understand the simple lesson this book teaches; younger kids will love the sweet story and Wells' illustrations.
Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden
Sparky by Jennifer Offill
Shoe dog by Megan McDonald
Using just one word on each page, Nest
tells the story of a bird family and what their life is like. The illustrations are simple, yet there is enough there to expand on the one word per page. The birds are shown during all the seasons, and all of the times of day, which makes the story easy for any child to relate to.
Baby Bear by Kadil Nelson
And Then it's Spring by Julie Fogliano
Birds by Kevin Henkes
Little Treasures is a very different type of book. Kids will enjoy hearing all the funny little names parents call their children in different countries. The text includes phonetic spelling of hard to say foreign words, so children just may pick up a phrase or two! The art is very cute too.
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Because You Are My Teacher by Sherry North
All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tarfuri
Little Owl's Orange Scarf is a very sweet story about Owl and his desire for a scarf that is just right for him. The illustrations are adorable. This is a good read aloud book. The prose is simple, but funny and children will be able to relate to Owl's search for a comfy scarf.
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
The First Drawing is a very cute story about a family of cavemen who have no art. One of the children discovers cave painting and astounds all of the other people. It's a pretty funny story about looking at things in an artistic way.
Journey by Aaron Becker
Dusk by Uri Shulevitz
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
Fall Ball is another excellent book by Peter McCartney. The illustrations are fantastic as always and the story is fun. It's a great story about Fall activities, and the children in the story enjoy a beautiful fall day and a game of football. A must read!
Hondo and Fabian by Peter McCarty
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
Cosmo Zooms by Arthur Howard
Stella and her brother Sam are back with a cute story about all the things you can learn from books. Sam is as inquisitive as ever, and Stella is as patient. A good story about reading as well as sibling relationships.
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Super Sam! by Lori Ries
Ladybug Girl by David Soman
Based on the true story of Orundellico, a boy from the islands around Tierra del Fuego (Chili/Argentina) who was taken from his homeland to England in 1830. He spent 15 months in the U.K. where he learned some English and adopted the dress of Victorian England. Using mixed media shapes, the artists show what the boy must have felt upon seeing the strangers. Silhouettes of men are shown wearing Victorian clothing in the wild and lush jungle."We will call you Jemmy Button," the visitor said as he gave Orundellico's family a mother of pearl button in exchange for Jemmy. On his voyage, Jemmy looked out of the porthole and is amazed at the sea life. All of the artwork serves to show how the world felt to Jemmy, whether it was astonishment, alienation or homesickness. Jemmy Button does eventually return to his island and it's way of life. Through it's
simple pictures and limited text, this book succeeds in conveying the emotions of Jemmy/Orundellico and a small portion of his life.
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This is a beautifully illustrated story which is told without words. A lonely girl finds a red crayon and uses it to draw a door into an adventure. The scenery is in subtle monochrome while the magic elements appear in red or purple: the boat, the balloon, the bird and the magic carpet. This quiet and cinematic book was a 2014 Caldecott honor book.