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Monday, October 12, 2015

Storytime: New and Notable Picture Books (25)

This week's Storytime features a move to a new place and new friends, the magical changes autumn brings, a reminder that being little isn't so bad, reasons to be thankful, and finding balance between give and take.

Lenny & Lucy
Written by Philip C. Stead; Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Ages 3-7, Available Now

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Peter and his father are moving to a new house beyond the dark unfriendly woods. When they arrive at their new home, Peter wants to turn back. Fortunately, he has Harold for company, but Harold is just a dog and can't help Peter. Scared of the things hidden in the woods, Peter makes a tall pile of pillows. He stitches and sews. He pushes and pulls. And when he is done, he has Lenny, Guardian of the Bridge, to protect him and Harold.

Lenny is a good guard but Peter worries that Lenny will get lonely out by the woods all by himself, so he makes Lucy, who is a good friend. Together, Lenny, Lucy, Peter, and Harold discover that this new place isn't so scary after all.
This book is everything you'd expect from the brilliant husband and wife team of Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead. I found myself wanting to read it again and again, wishing I could sink into these gorgeous spreads and meet the magical Lenny & Lucy. This will pair beautifully with Liz Garton Scanlon's The Good-Pie Party and Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo's Yard Sale.

My Autumn Book
Written & Illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee
Ages 2-6, Available Now

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Crisp air and gray skies beckon a little girl to thoroughly investigate the outside world: chipmunks, squirrels, insects, and fallen leaves all hint that a change of season is coming. Young readers can explore the signs of autumn along with the adventurous child narrator in this charming conclusion to the series on the seasons.
This is the final book in Wong Herbert Yee's series features each of the four seasons, which are wonderful pairings for student projects about seasonal changes. There are also some really great examples of anthropomorphism in My Autumn Book when Yee is describing the autumnal changes of trees that are absolutely gorgeous!
Little Big
Written & Illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
Ages 2-5, Available Now

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This playful book captures just how tough life can be when you're little. With little legs, it's hard to win races. With little hands, you can't open the cookie jar. And when you have a little mouth, nobody listens to you. Sometimes it seems like all your problems would be solved if you were just a little bigger. But "sometimes, " little is exactly the right size.
In Little Big, a younger brother wishes he were big and able to do all the things his older brother does, but then realizes that being small has its benefits too. There isn't anything especially novel about the story Bentley is telling here, but his illustrations are phenomenal. Exploring these spreads is truly a joy.


Written by Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Archie Preston
Ages 4-8, Available Now

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Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children's author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out, readers are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming picture book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.
I love that Spinelli focuses on small, every day things that people are thankful for. Archie Preston's illustrations are light and playful; a fantastic fit for the story. Full disclosure: This book is published by Zonderkidz, an imprint of Zondervan, so there is one page that reads: "The pastor is thankful for God's loving world." 

Give and Take
Written & Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Ages 4-8, Available Now

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A clever story of greed and goodness, and the art of finding the in-between, from two-time Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka, creator of the New York Times bestselling A Ball for Daisy.

Watch the farmer’s ear.

Now watch the two small, clever fellows in pointy hats whispering into it, first one, then the other.

Give and Take. They cannot agree.

Listen now to the farmer talk back—and, in this story of apples, pumpkins, pigs, and a final surprise, he just might get the better of both of them.
This newest offering from Raschka hit shelves in this August, so I can't believe I've just now read it for the first time. What a wonderful story, perfect for at reading at home or lessons in the classroom. I could see this one being a great fit for a lesson on writing allegory and fables. Also, this apple-picking farmer's story has a very autumnal feel and focuses on the balance between give and take, which fits well with Thanksgiving and thankfulness. The illustrations might be overwhelming for some, but, if your able to take the time to slow down and explore, I think most will enjoy!

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


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