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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Storytime: New & Notable Picture Books (39)

This week's Storytime features 7-steps to being a lion, an unreliable knight, the small joys of today, ducks in trucks, and squash at school.

Lion Lessons
Written & Illustrated by Jon Agee

Ages 4-8, Available Now

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With the wit and read-aloud appeal of Peter Brown’s Children Make Terrible Pets and William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza, this funny, fierce picture book teaches kids just what it takes to be a great lion

There are seven steps to becoming a proper lion, including Looking Fierce, Roaring, Prowling Around, and Pouncing. Our young hero, a rather meek and scrawny human boy, does his best to learn the necessary skills during his training with a master instructor (who just happens to be a real lion). After a grueling set of lessons, the boy discovers that that the final step—Looking Out for Your Friends—is the most important of all. That’s how any kid can earn his lion diploma (not to mention the affection of every cat in town).
I loved the humorous details in this one, especially in the teacher's office! An I (Heart) Cats mug, Africa poster, a framed Purple Pounce Award, etc. And the Lion who teaches Lion Lessons is so sassy!

The Forgetful Knight
Written by Michelle Robinson; Illustrated by Fred Blunt
Ages 4-8, Available Now

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This hilarious, Monty Python–style sendup of the classic knight-and-dragon story comes with jaunty rhymes and a fabulous twist ending

Mischief! Mishaps! Dragons! Here's the story of an intrepid knight, only our narrator can't quite remember the details. Did that knight carry a sandwich, or a sword? Was he supposed to fight a cat, or a dragon? A hilarious and unpredictable adventure ensues, building through laugh-out-loud rhymes until, at last, the narrator remembers his own role at the center of all the marvelous madness. Fans of Jon Scieszka's The Stinky Cheese Man, David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken, all of Patrick McDonnell's and Mac Barnett's picture books will love this zany read-aloud adventure.
I'm a forever fan of Michelle Robinson's books and am so thrilled that this newest didn't disappoint. Fred Blunt's illustrations are spot on, really bringing this silly story to life. 

Written & Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Ages 4-8, September 2, 2016

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Every day is full of endless possibilities - especially TODAY!

The simplest moment has the potential to become extraordinary in this beautiful book by Julie Morstad. From getting dressed, to having breakfast, to choosing ways to go, Today has a little something to delight everyone.
I was initially curious about this book because it was a new offering from the incredibly talented Julie Morstad, but it was its creativity and the way it cultivates conversation and a sense of individual choice and individuality that truly won me over. Just one of many examples throughout the book is when readers are asked what they would like to wear and are then offered a two-page spread with everything from party dresses and lederhosen to fairy wings and eye patches from which to choose. I can't wait to share this book with readers!

Dump Truck Duck
Written by Megan E. Bryant; Illustrated by Jo De Ruiter
Ages 4-8, Available Now

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Dump Truck Duck honks and zooms and steers his dump truck all through the day, helping the other hardworking ducks build a new park. With adorable illustrations and playful rhyming text, Dump Truck Duck is certain to become a new read-aloud favorite!

To be honest, I usually groan a bit when I see another truck-themed picture book because they're often painfully similar to the many, many that have come before. Still, I try to pick out the best to feature and promote. This one is a favorite because it's so gosh darn adorable. Ducks! In Trucks! And they're working toward a beautiful goal. Definitely a must have for those little vehicle obsessed little ones!

Sophie's Squash Go to School
Written by Pam Zietlow Miller; Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Ages 4-8, Available Now

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This charming sequel to the beloved Sophie’s Squash is the perfect antidote to the back-to-school jitters. Sophie goes to school for the first time and has no interest in making friends that aren’t squash. Here’s a gently humorous read-aloud that proves that making friends, just like growing squash, takes time.

On Sophie’s first day of school, nobody appreciates her two best friends, Bonnie and Baxter, baby squash that she grew in her garden. Even worse, one classmate, Steven Green, won’t leave Sophie alone. He sits by her at circle time. He plays near her during recess. And he breathes on her while she paints. Steven just wants to be friends, but Sophie isn’t interested. Still, Sophie knows that her squash friends won’t last forever. Maybe it would be nice to have some human friends after all. . . .

How awesome is it that there's a sequel to Sophie's Squash? Very, very awesome! I love Sophie's big personality and am happy to see her character further developed in this new book!

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


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