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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Storytime: New and Notable Picture Books (20)

This week's Storytime features a bear far from home, two friends at the fair, preschool adventures, sisters learning to be apart, and a birthday party for a fancy dessert.

Welcome Home, Bear
Written & Illustrated by Il Sung Na
Ages 0-3

Buy It 
Bear is tired of waking up every morning in the same green forest, so he decides to search for a new place to live. He visits the birds in the trees, a mole underground, a camel in the hot desert sand, puffins in the cold arctic snow . . . only to realize his own home is the perfect place for him after all. Welcome Home, Bear offers rich illustrations, bright colors, and a simple, spare text—all wrapped up in a beautiful, kid-friendly package. Readers meet animals in their habitats around the world—and return with Bear to the one place he is truly happy.
Il Sung Na is one of my absolute favorite authors and illustrators, so perhaps I'm biased when I say that Welcome Home, Bear is a book that you need to get your hands on. Not only is it a wonderful exploration of various animal habitats, it is absolutely gorgeous. I love all of Il Sung Na's books, but this one might be my favorite!

Billy and Goat At the State Fair
Written & Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Ages 3-7

 Buy It
Billy and Goat are best friends, but they have different styles. Billy likes to smell the roses—Goat likes to eat them! So it’s no surprise that they have different ideas of how to enjoy the state fair.

For Billy, the crowds and the noise are pretty intimidating. He’s happy to wait in the livestock pens until the best-goat contest begins. But Goat’s not one to sit when he could run. Faster than you can say butter sculpture, Goat’s out of the pen and leading Billy on a merry chase past rides, games, contests, and exhibits. When Billy finally catches up to him—on the biggest float of the parade!—he’s relieved, but also amazed. The fair is awesome! They may have missed Goat’s chance to win best in show, but for Billy it’s never been more clear—his best friend is the best goat ever!

I always love Yaccarino's books and this one is no exception! I quickly fell for Billy and Goat; Yaccarino's illustrations featuring the pair exude an enormous amount of warmth and emotion. I especially loved that this story was set at a busy fair, which was one of my all-time favorite experiences as a kid. Spotting Doug from Yaccarino's other books was also a treat.
Rosie Goes to Preschool
Written & Illustrated by Karen Katz
Ages 2-5

Buy It

Who better to offer advice to children facing the first day of preschool than the hugely popular, bestselling Karen Katz? It’s the first day of preschool, and the narrator, Rosie, knows everything a new preschooler needs to know. Rosie introduces the reader to her cubby, her teacher, her reading circle, her music class, her lunch table, and more.

With gentle, reassuring language and Katz’s signature bold, bright, and sweet artwork, Rosie Goes to Preschool will surely be a hit among the legions of children who have grown up reading Katz’s books. Now that these big boys and girls are ready to take their first big steps into school, Karen Katz is here to help.
This sweet introduction to preschool from Karen Katz is a must for preschool parents and teachers! With minimal text and sweet illustrations, Katz offers a pitch perfect look at the preschool classroom and etiquette. New students are sure to delight in seeing their new experiences represented on the page.

Maple and Willow Apart
Written & Illustrated by Lori Nichols
Ages 2-5

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Funny, relatable sibling dynamics make this story a wonderful way to address navigating big changes. Lori Nichols’s expressive artwork beautifully portrays Maple and Willow’s strong bond, and children will love the creative, kid-powered solution.

Maple and Willow have always been inseparable. So what happens when Maple starts big-girl school and Willow stays behind? Well, of course, both girls have marvelous adventures of their own, but the truth is, they miss each other. And when they see that the missing is mutual, they find a unique way to feel connected even when they have to be apart.

This is my first experience with Maple and Willow, but it won't be my last! I adore Lori Nichols' ORQ books, but its her characters Maple and Willow that truly warmed my heart. Nichols' gives readers such a true look at sibling, specifically sister, relationships. Her portrayal of an older sibling starting school and leaving the younger sibling at home was absolute spot on! I recognize so much of my own childhood experience in these pages. 
Happy Birthday, Cupcake
Written & Illustrated by Terry Border
Ages 5-8

Buy It
What's a cupcake to do when she needs to plan her birthday party? In this hilarious, kid-friendly homage to food and birthdays, Cupcake runs through tons of ideas while her best friend, Blueberry Muffin, finds reasons why they won't work: Soup gets seasick; Donut melts in the sun; someome might get squashed during musical chairs; and Cupcake is not very good at limbo (her icing might get sliced off!). Just as Cupcake is ready to crumble, Blueberry Muffin has one last idea that just might save the day.

With laugh-out-loud visual gags (like a band made up of beans--the musical fruit, of course), this book is sure to put a birthday smile on any kid's face (and on adult faces as well).
And to think I almost passed over this book! I'll be honest, I'm usually not a fan of picture books that feature photographs, but I gave Terry Borders' newest a try and absolutely fell in love. Not only is this book ridiculously creative, its absolutely hilarious. Kids are going to love this book and parents might like it even more. I also love that there's potential to use this book in the classroom, especially the art room. Creating a project in which students turn unconventional objects into characters to tell a story would be so much fun!

Love any of the books featured this week? Let me know in the comments!


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