I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since the last picture books round-up post! (Okay, so I checked and…it was JANUARY. To borrow from Cathy: ACK!). With the necessary library closures in place due to COVID-19, our family’s weekly happy hauls of picture books from the library took a dive, but I am lucky to have the opportunity to read through a backlog of review materials as well as some newer titles received from publishers, authors, and illustrators. So, with that being said, I hope you enjoy this all-new round up of recently read and recommended picture books!
In no particular order, here are the titles: Shinsuke Yoshitake (who you may recognize as the creator of the hysterical picture book Still Stuck) returns with the very, very funny, very dry and awesomely offbeat I Can Be Anything*, about a young girl named Natsumi who peppers her increasingly exhausted mother to guess the kinds of things (clothespin! rice ball! bulldozer! electric fan!) she is pretending to be. Both of my kids (five and two) were quite RIVETED by the story and couldn’t wait to see what surprising thing Natsumi would pretend to be next! Author and illustrator Rowboat Watkins (Mabel: A Mermaid Fable) brings readers the gloriously giggly, totally cool and uplifting Most Marshmallows*, about some out-of-the-ordinary, reach-for-the-sky marshmallows that don’t quite follow and do what most other marshmallows do. As ever, Watkins artwork is splendid, unexpected and makes me laugh with joy. Author Emily Snape and illustrator K-Fai Steele (A Normal Pig) bring readers an updated, kicky and funny version of Old MacDonald with Old MacDonald Had a Baby*: with zany new verses all about babies and illustrations that may make you laugh out loud, this is a refreshing update to a classic. Prolific picture book author Deborah Underwood and illustrator of the popular Baby Loves board book series Irene Chan collaborate on Finding Kindness*, a sincerely lovely rhyming story about all kinds of ways that people can and do express kindness. In Underwood’s hand, the subject and text is light and satisfying (with an ending that makes a sweet callback to the opening lines), and Chan’s illustrations are so cozy and warm- a perfect match to the story. Marie Lamba and illustrator Alea Marley team up for A Day So Gray* (yes, it’s a winter-y read, but bear with me!), a story about two friends who see the world and its spectrum of colours in a very different way. Marley’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous, lush and inviting; a wonderful match to Lamba’s text which celebrates stalwart friends and our magical, rainbow-filled world. An indomitable “tiny truck” named Kid McGear joins the construction team in Three Cheers for Kid McGear*, from by Sherri Duskey Rinker and A.G. Ford. Readers who have loved the titles in this bright and rhyming construction series (Construction Site on Christmas Night and more) will undoubtedly adore Kid McGear’s can-do attitude, her amazing skills, and getting the chance to spend more time on the construction site. And last, but not least, Boats Will Float by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and illustrator Brett Curzon (I won a copy via a Twitter giveaway courtesy of author Andrea!) is a wonderfully bouncy, sweetly illustrated and perfect-for-reading-aloud rhyming story about all kinds of boats- everything from fireboats to research vessels to submarines! Back matters includes a list of the boats mentioned in the story and their descriptions. If you have a little one at home who loves vehicles, or anything do with transportation in and out of the water, this is a terrific pick.
Happy reading to you all!
*I received copies of these starred titles courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. Titles have been published and are currently available.