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Viewing Blog: Library Goddesses Picture Books, Most Recent at Top
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1. Home by Carson Ellis



In this tribute to homes, Carson Ellis writes about the many types there are: wigwams, boats, lairs, palaces and shoes, to name a few. The illustrations are whimsical and folksy: showing knights riding seahorses, a Norse god structure, an alien's home on the moon etc. These fanciful depictions open a child's mind to all the real and imagined homes there could be. At the end she shows herself (the artist) working at home, with a lot of the items depicted in the book. A final question to the reader: "Where is your home? Where are you?"

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2. In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van



This is a quiet book about a fisherman and his family in Vietnam. The fisherman longs for home as the storm surges and the family waits in their village for his return. The writing is sparse, but uses a "nesting" technique in which the reader starts in a larger scene, scopes downward to a small scene and then scopes out again. In this case, the book travels from the sea to the family house and the mother cooking. While the baby sleeps, the family dog is shown looking through a hole in the floor where a cricket is painting a scene of the fisherman, battling the stormy sea. The reader then telescopes out to the sea again where the fisherman gazes at his family's photo and finally returns to the village. The illustrations are very soft, detailed and lovely. Overall, a good book that introduces children to other cultures, and the universal emotion of family longing.

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3. A Lucky Author Has A Dog by Mary Lyn Ray


This book introduces kids to a day in the life of a picture book author from the viewpoint of her dog. He thinks: where is she going, what is she doing and when will she ever take me on a walk? The dog is her helper, muse and companion. Without the dog you suspect that the author wouldn't get out to find new ideas, or get fresh air and exercise. At the end of the book, the author visits a classroom and leaves the dog alone most of the day. She comes home to take him on a walk. "The author rubs two happy ears. A tail wags. A lucky dog has an author. And a lucky author has a dog."

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4. Space Dog by Mini Grey



"Can sworn enemies work together to save the Spooniverse?" As the subtitle implies, Space dog needs his enemies Astrocat and Mousetronaut to help the Cereal People, plug up Ketchup Volcanoes and defeat the Cheese Ants.
From the creator of Traction Man and Turbo Dog comes an intergalactic adventure complete with funny exclamations: "Thundering Milkswamps!" and "Shivering Stilton!" Not to mention great life form names: "Cruets of West Cutlery" and "Fruitons of Crumble Major."
The illustrations are full of action and detail that keep the book moving along in hilarious fashion.
Any children interested in space and goofiness will appreciate this romp through the Spooniverse.

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5. Your Alien by Tammi Sauer



Something wonderful comes his way when a boy notices an alien crashes in his yard.  Illustrator Goro Fujita's adorable alien is every space-obsessed child's wish: cute, cuddly and playful. The boy takes him throughout his day: impressing friends at school, playing outside at home and bathing before bed. But even alien's need their parents at night, so the boy turns on all the lights to signal to alien's parents. They come pick him up and the boy waves sadly to his friend. At the end another wonderful something comes his way: a hug from his parents.

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6. Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins



This book is part of the Toys series (Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party and Toys Come Home) featuring a stuffed buffalo, a plush stingray and a plastic ball. With their owner, Little Girl, away for winter vacation the toys are tempted to go out to experience the snow. Amazingly, all three toys make it to the outside and have a great time experiencing wintertime fun. Each animal approaches the snow in it's own way. Buffalo asks questions, StingRay is poetic and Plastic is very pragmatic. Until the very end when Plastic declares himself to be a "strawberry-syrup sun in the snow!" The illustrations are gorgeous, especially the depictions of late afternoon in the snow. You can almost feel the toys' relief at being inside, cozying up to the radiator.

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7. How to Share with a Bear by Eric Pinder




This picture book is about a boy defending his indoor pillow cave against a bear. In the beginning of the story the boy leaves his cave to retrieve a flashlight so he can read. He returns to find a pair of bear eyes staring out at him! Thus follows a series of diversions that the boy does in order to distract the bear from getting back in his cave. He tries blueberries, a back scratcher, water play and honey. Finally, the boy can get into the cave but who's outside crying? There's a cute twist to the story as the identity of the bear is revealed. Very simple yet adorable pictures throughout.

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8. Waiting by Kevin Henkes


This is a simple book about figurines sitting on a windowsill, each waiting for things to happen outside. There's little text and soft, basic images but it's an adorable tale. In Waiting, the windowsill proves to be a perfect stage for the various animals and their tale. Good for young children 3-8.

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9. When Santa Was A Baby by Linda Bailey



This picture book shows Santa before we all knew him, as a baby. Just like everyone, Santa was a kid once and this cute book has Santa showing early preferences for the color red, reindeer (aka hamsters), giving things away, cooler temperatures, soot etc. Toward the end of the book, Santa's transition  from ordinary life to the North Pole is a bit abrupt (and seems to lack a scene or two). However, Santa's parents realize this is the perfect job for Santa so all is well. The illustrations by Genevieve Godbout are soft and retro which fits nicely with the nostalgic theme of the book.

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10. Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School by Richard Torrey




This is a cute book about a little girl named Ally who loves dinosaurs and wants to be one. For the first day of school Ally shows up as her dinosaur-self, roaring and stomping. The illustrations show her dinosaur outline, scales and tail colored in pink. At first, none of her classmates want to hang out with a dinosaur like her.  Instead, a group of girls want to be princesses and a boy dreams of outer space. Feeling left out, she's alone at lunch until some other children show up to sit with her. One girl wants to be a dragon, a boy wants to be a lion and the other boy just loves his new lunchbox. They make fast friends and Ally is made to feel part of the class. All the children are depicted with their fantasy characters outlining them in crayon. At the end, Ally's class takes a trip to the library where she discovers that there's more characters she can be.

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11. My Cousin Momo by Zachariah Ohora



A family of squirrels eagerly await the arrival of Momo, their cousin who's a flying squirrel. Momo is not what they expected, however. He dresses funny, is shy and has odd ideas about fun activities. When Momo overhears his cousins complain about him, he cries and starts to pack for home. Afterward, they try to have fun Momo's way and the rest of the visit goes well. So well in fact, that they are left counting the days until Momo's return. The illustrations from the book are adorable: primitive and bold with funny details (the family's tree house is charming). This book is fun, yet has a lesson in compromise. For those who enjoy his style, Zachariah Ohora illustrated No Fits, Nilson! and Wolfie the Bunny.

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12. The Monkey and the Bee by C.P. Bloom

This book is a great introduction to the style of a comic book. It's not a comic book, but there are elements that make it similar.  There are very few words, and you have to really look at the illustrations to figure out what it going on, but it should be easy for kids as young as 3 to follow along. Wordless books, or nearly wordless, in this case, are fantastic for fostering discussion, imagination and early literacy.  The Monkey and The Bee is also funny and kids will enjoy it. 

Also Try:
I Yam a Donkey by CeCe Bell
Whose Shoe by Eve Bunting
Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony

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13. Little Humans by Brandon Stanton

A fun version of Humans of New York for young kids.  This book highlights all kinds of children and has an empowering message about all of the thinks little humans can do.

Also Try:
One World, Obe Day by Barbara Kerley
To Be a Kid by Maya Ajmera
Shoe Shoes Shoes by Ann Morris

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14. Boom Snot Twitty: this way that way by Doreen Cronin


This is the second book featuring the bear (Boom), a snail (Snot) and a bird (Twitty). Once again, the trio have differing agendas. The three animals are all packed to go on an outing, but none of them are packed for the same place. Boom wants to go splash in the water, Twitty wants to go hike in the mountains and Snot could go anywhere but all he has is snacks. Of course, it's up to the one with snacks to solve the dilemma. The illustrations by Renata Liwska are fuzzy, soft and simple and match the spare text. A good introduction to compromise for younger kids.

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15. Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox

Peace is an Offering is a short but nicely illustrated book about peace and kindness.  It gives many examples of peace, all of which kids can relate to. There is a lot of detail in the illustrations, so parents can expand on each page and talk about the various topics.

Also Try:
One Family by George Shannon
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
Old Turtle by Douglas Wood

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16. Pine and the Winter Sparrow retold by Alexis York Lumbard

Pine and the Winter Sparrow is a retelling of a traditional Native American tale.  In the book a sparrow with a broken wing seeks shelter during the winter. All of the trees refuse him, except for Pine.  As a reward the pine tree becomes the only tree to not lose her leaves in the winter.  This is a nice book that teaches kindness, as well as a little bit about the rhythms of the seasons. 

Also Try:
The Magic Boat by Demi
A Grain of Rice by Helena Clare Pittman
Zomo the Rabbitt by Gerald McDermott

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17. Tell Me What to Dream About by Giselle Potter

This is a very sweet, whimsical book that will delight kids.  It's also a sweet book about sisters and the relationship between them.  The little sister has trouble sleeping, so the big sister comes up with increasingly outlandish suggestions to dream about. The illustrations are cute and colorful.

Also Try:
Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins
Wild by Emily Hughes
Home by Carson Ellis

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18. I Will Never Get A Star On Mrs. Benson's Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann



This cute, whimsically illustrated children's book has a message for kids with unconventional talents. Rose is artistic, but her teacher Mrs. Benson only seems to notice her messiness and daydreaming. When desk inspection day comes, Rose has so much anxiety she gets a tummy ache. In the end, Rose has her chance to shine when the class makes cards for another teacher. Mrs. Benson looks past her messiness and praises Rose's card, even allowing her to make her own unique star on the backboard.

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19. Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson



Sidewalk Flowers is a wordless picture book that manages to convey a lot with just pictures. A girl takes a walk with her father through the city and collects flowers. It's a simple plot line, but there's little episodes along the way where the girl interacts with people, animals and her flowers. The images are done primarily in black shades of ink and watercolor with spots of color for emphasis. The girl throughout is wearing a red jacket and bits of nature are painted with color also. Toward the end, the color is much more prevalent and the illustrations spread across the page. Overall, this is a sweet and gorgeously done children's book.

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20. Sparky! by Jenny Offill



A little girl wants a pet, but her mother says she can only get a pet that doesn't need to be "walked, bathed or fed." After a visit to the library, she picks out the perfect pet from a book: a sloth. She orders one through the mail and Sparky as she calls him, lives up to his reputation as a lay about. The girl is determined to interact with him, but the only game he plays successfully is Statue. She tries one last time to impress her friend by putting on a show of sloth pet tricks. Once again, Sparky refuses to do anything. In the end, she learns to appreciate the sloth's slow companionship. This is a quiet book (as one might expect of a sloth), but the illustrations are cute and the underlying message of appreciating the low-key is a nice one. Winner of the Charlotte Zolotow award.

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21. Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear



"Julia, Child" is subtly deceptive. Though it has Julia Child's name in the title, it isn't a picture book biography of Julia as a child. The preface states that the book was inspired by, but not about Julia's childhood. However, the main character does love to cook. Julia and her friend Simca shop, take classes and whip up meals. They begin to notice that adults are too busy to savor food and life. So they decide to make some meals for them. The first foray turns out badly, since most adults "don't have the proper ingredients" and start fighting over the food. Julia and Simca's next effort fixes that: they make "smaller portions....just enough to feed the sensible children from whom these senseless grown-ups grew." This dinner party does the trick; the adults have a wonderful time and are more generous. In a nod to the other Julia, the girls write a book, "Mastering the Art of Childhood" for grownups. Overall, the book has sweet vintage illustrations and the message is a positive one, though more understandable for older kids.

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22. Peace is an Offering by Anette LeBox




This book is basically an illustrated poem about ways to celebrate or express peace and walk away from a fight. The rhyming is relatively simple yet touching and the illustrations are adorably sweet.

                  "Peace is a joining not a pulling apart.
                   It's the courage to bear a wounded heart.....
                   Sing a quiet song.
                   Catch a falling star.
                   May peace walk beside you
                   Wherever you are."

Peace is an Offering has a classic, timeless quality which will help children see ways to be a friend and enjoy the quiet strength of peace.

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23. Wherever you go by Pat Zietlow Miller


This poetic book about a rabbit and his owl friend who take to the roads on a bicycle is gorgeously illustrated. The watercolors are vivid and creatively used. Their journey flows along from page to page, over rivers and through woods, cities and mountainous terrain. They hitch along with bus-riding friends until they part ways and home is once again in sight.

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24. Snoozefest at the Nuzzledome by Samantha Berger




Snuggleford Cuddlebun, the sleepy sloth protagonist wants to go the the Snoozefest at the Nuzzledome. She and other good sleepers are taken by bus to the Nuzzledome, carrying all their blankets, pillows and lovies. At the Nuzzledome there's a pj parade, food booths, posters and t-shirts for sale. Various animals play quiet sleepy music on stage and Snuggleford sleeps in her hammock only to wake up and realize the festival is over. That's okay with Snuggleford since she's a sloth, but she can't wait until next year's festival. The colorful, pattern-y illustrations are adorable with all the different animals snuggling in their blankies. A cute, kiddie version of festival-going and naptime.

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25. Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker



This is an amusing book about parents who try to keep their kids in their dull world. The Dullards stare at blank tv's, watch paint dry and eat plain ice cream with no cones. Little exciting intrusions keep happening to the Dullards and they're forced to move their children, Blanda, Borely and Little Dud to another location. Of course, excitement follows them: one room has bright yellow floral walls and the kids are caught doing acrobatics outside. To avoid further excitement, the Dullards move back to their old town. At the end of the book, Mr and Mrs. Dullard are blissfully unaware that their kids have joined up with the circus that's visiting town. The illustrations are funny and show the extent of the family's dullness with their grey, plain outfits, blank walls and "pragmatic moving container".

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