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Monday, February 15, 2016

Storytime: New & Notable Picture Books (33)

This week's Storytime features the poetry of nature, a reluctant main character, the lives of bears, itty bitty animals, and opposites.

Daniel Finds a Poem
Written & Illustrated by Micha Archer
Ages 5-8, Available 2/16/2016

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What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, as it is something special for everyone—you just have to take the time to really look and listen. The magical thing is that poetry is in everyone, and Daniel is on his way to discovering a poem of his own after spending time with his animal friends. What is poetry? If you look and listen, it’s all around you!
Daniel Finds a Poem is the first book that Micha Archer has both written and illustrated and, if we're using this book as a benchmark, I cannot wait for more! While the cover and a peek inside give a general impression of this book, I urge you to seek out a physical copy to truly appreciate the story and presentation. The texture and colors used in the illustrations are gorgeous. Educators and librarians will love using this fantastic celebration of poetry in the classroom, but I think it would be well loved in personal collections as well, as it offers a thoughtful, creative look at nature and the world around us.

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer (2016). Image courtesy of Penguin.
Beneath the book jacket of Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer (2016).
Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)
Written by Julie Falatko; Illustrated by Tim Miller
Ages 4-8, Available Now

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Snappsy the alligator is trying to go about his very ordinary day when a pesky narrator steps in to spice up the story with slanderous claims. Is Snappsy making crafty plans? Is he prowling for defenseless birds and soft, fuzzy bunnies? Is Snappsy a big, mean alligator who’s obsessed with snack foods that start with the letter P? It’s no wonder Snappsy won't invite the narrator to his party!

Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) is an irreverent look at storytelling, friendship, and creative differences from a pair of rising stars in the picture book world.
If you're looking for a book kids and parents will find equally amusing, this is it! I wouldn't be surprised if this Snappsy gains the same kind of following as The Day the Crayons Quit. The illustrations and voice reminded me of one Henry Goes West by Robert Quackenbush, which was a personal favorite when I was growing up. Not only is Snappsy a hilarious and engaging story, it provides a great example of voice, narration, and storytelling!

Snappsy the Alligator (Does Not Want to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko & Tim Miller
Beneath the book jacket of Snappsy.

Shh! Bears Sleeping
Written by David Martin; Illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
Ages 3-7, Available Now

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In the fall
When leaves turn red
Bears know soon
It’s time for bed

A lilting read-aloud text and stunning pictures combine to make an irresistibly appealing picture book that follows these fascinating animal friends through the cycle of the year. A page of facts about bears will answer young readers' questions as they begin to explore the wonders of the natural world.
While Shh! Bears Sleeping has a calming cadence and soothing color palette that make may make it a great pick for bedtime, I wouldn't classify it as a bedtime book. Instead, this story offers a revealing look American black bears and their lives in relation to the seasons. The book ends with an informative note from the author, in which he further delves into the eating habits and sleeping patterns of bears. 

Shh! Bears Sleeping by David Martin, Steve Johnson, & Lou Fancher (2016).

Little Bitty Friends
Written by Elizabeth McPike; Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Ages 0-2, Available Now

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Little bitty chipmunks,
chattering all the day,

Little bitty ladybug
always comes to play.

Marching with ants, snuggling with baby rabbits, reaching for the sun with happy buttercups--young children form special bonds with nature's little creations.

Lyrical verse and charming capture an enchanted world of little bitty friends. 

This second Little collaboration from Elizabeth McPike and Patrice Barton, following last year's Little Sleepyhead, are truly a joy. McPike's minimal rhythmic text paired with Barton's soft illustrations provide a readaloud that readers will sink into. I especially love that the children and animals are performing the same action in the majority of the spreads. This is such a sweet read aloud and I'm hopeful that there will eventually be board book editions!
Little Bitty Friends by Elizabeth McPike & Patrice Barton (2016)

Back cover of Little Bitty Friends (2016)

The Huey's in What's the Opposite?
Written & Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Ages 3-5, Available Now

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Explore the humorous world of opposites with the #1 bestselling illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit and his band of Hueys!

"What's the opposite of the beginning?" A sensible question to ask when opening a book that teaches the reader about opposites. But maybe we should start with something a little easier? For example, it's quite unlucky when a Huey finds himself stranded on a hot, deserted island—but how lucky it is when a fan arrives to provide some cool air! Oh, wait . . . nowhere to plug it in? Unlucky, once again. Now for a harder one: What’s the difference between half full and half empty?

Stumped? Don’t worry, that one will make a Huey’s head hurt too.
This new Hueys concept book features - as you've probably guessed - opposites. This fourth Hueys book released as a full hardcover picture book and board book simultaneously. The text and illustrations remain the same in both bindings, so choosing which version to purchase is truly a matter of binding preference. A great continuation to this fun series.

The 4th Hueys book is available in both hardcover and board book bindings.


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


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