It is Autumn, and the new books are falling in like leaves off a tree. Autumn is the height of publishing season, so here’s a batch of picture books to keep your reading pile stacked high.
I won a what? – by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Robert Neubecker
A boy wins a whale at the circus. His parents have said no to anything with fur or feathers, so when he wins this they let him keep it. The whale, named Nuncio, starts to become a problem and Dad says it has to go, but the resourceful child finds ways to make Nuncio indispensable for the family. The illustrations playfully match the tone of the story, with bright swathes of primary colours. Added bonus, the family has dark skin, adding to the stack of books that do not feature blond-haired white kids.
City Shapes – by Diana Murray, illustrated by Bryan Collier
This jaunty rhyme makes this a good one for storytime sharing, and looking for shapes is always fun. Collier’s watercolour and collage art add depth to the rhyme, and he takes us inside a cityscape filled with circles, triangles, rectangles, diamonds, & ovals. Your next trip to the city may just be filled with shape sightings. Love the nearly-abstract cityscape end pages.
Princess! Fairy! Ballerina! by Bethanie Deeney Murguia
The sparkly cover will draw in many a young reader. The cast of characters includes a dark-skinned princess, so chalk up one more for diversity. And the story turns the typical sparkly girlie book upside down at the end when they cast off their wings, crowns, and tutus for mud boots. The story is spare, but the illustrations are fun and the message is full of girl power.
One Hundred Bones – Yuval Zommer
This British import will satisfy dog lovers and dinosaur fans in one fell swoop. The digital illustrations have a watercolour feel that reminds me somewhat of Chris Raschka’s work. The story of dogs finding dinosaur bones is nothing new, but there’s a little message about friendship that makes this one a bit more special. A fine choice for storytime.
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
Definitely take a peek under the cover of this one to see the varied cast. The book begins on the end pages – in fact, the whole book is so well designed – the flow, and movement, the whole package is well done. The feel of an airport is so well captured the illustration as we follow this biracial family on their way to visit grandparents. The airport is filled with people – punks, elderly folks, a man in a headscarf, people in wheelchairs, fancy folk, and families of all sorts. The action is a perfect capture of a trip to the airport and on the plane. A good storytime book and also a great one to recommend to families preparing to travel.
Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson
This simple story, which takes a lesson from Blueberries for Sal, will appeal to a wide audience. Tow explorers — a boy and a bear – finally run into each other and then become great pals. The illustrations make it fun — a dark-skinned boy and a little bear cub traipse through the woods in a nicely designed page-layout. For the first part of the book, there’s a big tree trunk separating the two explorers, but one they meet, the illustration becomes full-spread. The art features all the luck colours of the woods— greens and browns and oranges and yellows. A fun romp for lap sharing or storytime.
Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin & Rob Dunlavey
In just a few words, a night-time owl adventure takes place. The pacing swooshes along as the baby owl explores the blue world of night. The watercolor, coloured pencils, and collage illustration fits and moves the story along. Good choice for quiet toddler storytime and for young readers figuring out new words.