Recently Read: Great Picture Books (15)!

A look at some wonderful picture books that I have had the pleasure of reading lately! All are titles I have read and enjoyed. On this installment of Recently Read, we have a few titles that my three year old has requested multiple read alouds of including Nobody’s Duck from Mary Sullivan, which is a totally entertaining, witty and sweet story. Sullivan has authored and illustrated numerous wonderfully funny titles including Treat and Ball. Nobody’s Duck is great- visual gags and kookiness abound. My daughter, after our first read aloud said- (while giggling)- ‘That was really funny!’ Fans of Ame Dyckman, Jan Thomas and Keith Graves might like this one! Next we have Steve Antony‘s Unplugged, about an adorable robot named Blip who, after a blackout, finds herself unplugged- literally and figuratively. Unplugged is another one my daughter loves having read to her. The title is strong on the message about making sure we all unplug and be with friends, and find our own adventures away from screens- but, honestly, it is a timely point and the text is so genuine and wonderfully illustrated. Unplugged would pair nicely with Matthew Cordell‘s hello! hello!. Other great picture book picks include: Yellow Kayak, a visually arresting, melodic, rhyming title from Nina Laden with artwork by Melissa Castrillón; Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley‘s charming and heartening Vincent Comes Home; All the Animals Where I Live, by Philip C. Stead, uncommonly told and structured, but what a wondrous treat; and the utterly heartwarming and surprising The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling – another fantastic and unusual title from Timothy Basil Ering.

Advertisements

Recently Read: Great Picture Books!

I have had the great luck- again!- to have read through another stash of tremendous, unique, and fun picture books. You will see some returning favourites here including: the latest from Kyo Maclear and Kenard Pak with the stunning The Fog; the newest (and wonderfully madcap) collaboration from Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell; a new and awesome Olivia from Ian Falconer; more Nerdy Birdy; the latest from Canadian author-illustrator Ashley Spires; a fun and lovely cat counting book from Viviane Schwarz; and a follow-up of sorts to the very funny Creepy Carrots. There are also some utter gems from newer author and/or illustrators here, so be sure to take a look through the whole list!

The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg by Gemma Merino
Shawn Loves Sharks by Curtis Manley, illus. Tracy Subisak
Counting with Tiny Cat by Viviane Schwarz
Lily Wool by Paula Vásquez
Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani
Nope! by Drew Sheneman
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires
The Only Fish in the Sea by Philip C. Stead, illus. Matthew Cordell
Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds, illus. Peter Brown
The Teacher’s Pet by Anica Mrose Rissi, illus. Zachariah OHora
Nerdy Birdy Tweets by Aaron Reynolds, illus. Matt Davies
Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam Rex
Olivia the Spy by Ian Falconer
The Fog by Kyo Maclear, illus. Kenard Pak
This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson, illus. Suzy Lee

Picture Book Reviews: Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead & Tony by Ed Galing and Erin E. Stead

samson27414441Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead
Source: ARC courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 13, 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
Book Description:

One sunny day Samson, a large and friendly woolly mammoth, encounters a little red bird who is looking for yellow flowers for her mouse friend (whose favorite color is yellow). As she flies off with the flowers, Samson wonders what it must be like to have a friend. He wonders this for so long, in fact, that he falls asleep and wakes up to a world covered in snow. In the midst of a blizzard, Samson finds and shelters the little red bird and flower-loving mouse in a tender tale of kindness and unexpected friendship.

Philip C. Stead does picture books about friendship and kindness so well. From the award-winning and beloved A Sick Day for Amos McGee (illustrated by Erin. E. Stead) to A Home for Bird, Stead’s approach to the writing and illustrating of friendship is nothing short of splendid; always reading as unfeigned and sincere. Stead’s Samson in the Snow is another winning picture book: a quietly gorgeous and heart-warming story of one mammoth’s considered acts of compassion and kindness.

Looking after his dandelion patch on a sunny day, Samson is surprised by a tiny red bird. Searching for some yellow flowers to cheer up her friend, Samson helps the little bird select the most beautiful dandelions and off she flies to visit her friend. When sudden and angry snowfall blanket the ground and sky, Samson sets off, concerned about the little red bird. On his way through the deep and dangerous cold and snow, Samson helps and befriends a mouse who is also looking for someone. A miraculous discovery, aided by spotting some bright dandelions in the snow, leads to beautiful and moving reunion- and the start of new friendship. Stead’s work, as ever, is elegant and stirring, all the while tranquil- the kind of quietly powerful and moving picture book that I love deeply.

Any readers who have previously adored Philip C. Stead’s work- either as author or solo work as author/illustrator- will undoubtedly find much to appreciate and love here. The story holds much to explore, read and share in a quiet study or one-on-one read aloud, or for a shared read aloud with an older group. Readers who enjoy the work of authors and illustrators such as Pamela Zagarenski, Marla Frazee, Lane Smith, or David Ezra Stein might especially adore the restrained beauty of Samson in the Snow.

tony29102892Tony by Ed Galing, illus. Erin. E. Stead
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Expected publication: February 7, 2017 by Roaring Brook Press
Book Description:

Tony was all white,
large, sturdy,
with wide gentle eyes
and a ton of love . . .

Follow this touching tale of a boy and his friendship with a horse, by the late poet Ed Galing and illustrated with remarkable tenderness by Caldecott-winning artist Erin Stead.

While Erin E. Stead’s award-winning work as illustrator is much-known to me- and much adored-, (the late) Ed Galing‘s work and poetry is something completely new. Their collaborative work in Tony, a picture book centred around a gorgeous white horse, is surprising, beautiful, and unique.

Reading through Tony, poring over Galing’s words and Erin E. Stead’s incredible drawings, I was faintly and happily reminded of the work of poet Robbie Burns…and of William Carlos Williams…the honest and arguably bare, uncluttered style of writing. Galing’s poetry here in Tony is just that: unfettered and uncomplicated. A relatively simple tale of a narrator’s love and admiration for a glorious, gentle white horse that pulls a dairy cart for a young driver named Tom, Tony is one picture book that could be missed at first glance. But do not miss this one for there is much to love and exclaim over! In particular, the remarkable illustrative work of Stead here. Stead’s work is breathtaking, giving texture, aura, and atmosphere to Galing’s words and, in fact, to Tony the horse. The careful colour palette is mostly lighter green/teals with some washes of yellow; the early morning setting of the story leads to the overall hushed and hazy feel of the story. The relatively simple nature of the poem’s focus, along with details of setting, suggest a story set in a bygone era…

Overall, what a surprise! If you’ve seen and experienced Erin E. Stead’s illustrative work before, then you already know you are in for a treat. Stead’s artwork combined with Galing’s poetry makes for a special and unexpectedly rich picture book. While on the face a simple story about a ‘large, sturdy’ horse, Tony is story that may beg for a read or two or more to sift and settle: an unadorned, wonderful, wholly felt tale that strums the senses. If my words here and enthusiasm haven’t compelled you yet, you can also read this radiant starred review of Tony here from Kirkus Reviews! You can check out the book’s page over on Macmillan to see a few pages of the picture book- well worth a look!

I received copies of these titles courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own.

Must Read Monday (50): Picture books from Philip C. Stead, Adam Lehrhaupt, Pamela Zagarenski & more!

Welcome to another edition of Must Read Monday!

This feature is where I spotlight older, recent, or upcoming releases I am looking forward to. The lists will include all genres I like to read, everything from picture books to comics, children’s lit to adult fiction!

This week is all about picture books. From favourite authors and illustrators, to award-winners, to some new terrific looking and sounding titles, these are picture books I cannot wait to take a look at:

 

leapinglemmings28692023Leaping Lemmings! by John Briggs, illus. Nicola Slater
Publication: September 6th 2016 by Sterling Children’s Books

Think before you leap! Lemmings look alike, they sound alike, and they act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others will jump right after him . . . except Larry. Larry’s very independent-minded and he won’t follow his fellow lemmings blindly to their doom. But can he teach them to use their brains and stop making terrible group decisions? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about staying true to yourself, while Nicola Slater’s witty illustrations capture all the humor and pathos of Larry’s situation.

 

iwillnoteatyou28954183I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt, illus. Scott Magoon
Publication: September 6, 2016 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

From the award-winning author of Warning: Do Not Open This Book! and beloved illustrator Scott Magoon comes a suspenseful and darkly funny new picture book about a creature who resists the urge to eat the animals that wander into his cave…at least for now!

Theodore thinks everything is a potential meal. Lucky for the bird, wolf, and tiger, who pass by his cave, Theodore isn’t hungry…yet. But then something new approaches. A boy. Has Theodore found a new favorite food? Or something more?

 

peepandegghalloween25688988Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl, illus. Joyce Wan
Publication: August 9, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Peep is so excited to go trick-or-treating with her friend Egg. She wants to visit the duck pond and the cow pasture to get treats. But Egg thinks Halloween is too scary, with frightening monsters possibly lurking everywhere! Peep tells her jokes because laughing helps you feel less scared. Egg is still not cracking. But soon Egg learns that maybe trick-or-treating is not so scary after all when you have a friend to hold on to.

 

samsoninthesnow27414441Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead
Publication: September 27, 2016 by Roaring Brook Press

One sunny day Samson, a large and friendly woolly mammoth, encounters a little red bird who is looking for yellow flowers for her mouse friend (whose favorite color is yellow). As she flies off with the flowers, Samson wonders what it must be like to have a friend. He wonders this for so long, in fact, that he falls asleep and wakes up to a world covered in snow. In the midst of a blizzard, Samson finds and shelters the little red bird and flower-loving mouse in a tender tale of kindness and unexpected friendship.

 

henryandleo28114499Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski
Publication: October 4, 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Leo isn’t just a stuffed toy, he is Henry’s best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry’s family believes Leo is real enough to find his way home.

With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor–winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores the transcendent nature of friendship and love.

Picture Book Review: Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead

LENNYandLUCY23310688Review: Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead, illus. Erin E. Stead
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: October 6, 2015 by Roaring Brook Press
Verdict: Excellent

Book Description:

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 stiches 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.

There are certain pairings of author-illustrator that I, quite simply, anticipate and cherish. After my first reading of Caldecott Medal Winner A Sick Day for Amos McGee, I knew that the Steads’ joint work would be a pairing that I would always look forward to; their next joint picture book, Bear Has a Story to Tell further cemented that. For their third work together, Lenny & Lucy, the Steads’ have crafted another stunning picture book: a gentle, unusual and enchanting work that shines in its story and artwork.

Picture books that I read over and over again, or those that I think and wonder about, are often with undercurrents of whimsy and/or strange. Think of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. The Dark. Black Dog. Or Extra Yarn. Or Where the Wild Things Are. Or This Is Sadie. There are elements in all of the aforementioned which mark the way for closer readings, second or third readings, and studying of the artwork. In Lenny & Lucy, the combination of Erin E. Stead’s distinct style and careful palette with Philip C. Stead’s softly melancholy yet hopeful story are just right.

At its heart a story about friendship, Lenny & Lucy also approaches subject matters such as fear, loneliness after moving, and hope. When a young boy named Peter and his dependable dog Harold meet their new home, readers are immersed into a world of trees, of quiet, of dark woods, and of unknown ‘terrible things’. For their protection, Peter builds Lenny, Guardian of the Bridge, out of pillows and blankets, to keep danger over the bridge and away from their home, deep in the woods. After both Peter and Harold lose sleep at the possibility of Lenny being lonely, Lucy is crafted to keep them all company, leading the way to some marvelous- not so scary- happenings.

Wondrous in style and story, Lenny & Lucy is a terrific picture book that I definitely recommend. Readers who like the work of some authors and illustrators such as Mac Barnett, Sara O’Leary, Jon Klassen, Julie Morstad, or Maurice Sendak (whose titles were mentioned above), might especially enjoy this beautiful title.

I received a copy of this title from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Recently Read: Great Picture Books

whimsysheavythings17262790 laststopmarketstreet22521973 I have had the pleasure of reading a number of terrific picture books as of late! From the much talked about to the wordless to the quieter offerings, here are some terrific picture book picks:

 

Whimsy’s Heavy Things by Julie Kraulis. This is a thoughtful, contemplative and beautiful picture book from a Canadian writer/illustrator that addresses issues of anxiety and worry in a gentle and engaging way. This is one that adults and children alike can definitely read and share together.
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illus. Christian Robinson. I had read rave reviews of this title and so proceeded to read with caution, but guess what? It is pretty special indeed!  Last Stop on Market Street really delivers with Robinson’s amazing artwork and de la Pena’s poignant story.
Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead, illus. Matthew Cordell. I must admit to being a MAJOR fan of both Stead’s and Cordell’s work, so I was really looking forward to their collaboration. And I am happy to say it did not fail to delight in its irreverence, gentle charm and sly humour. Get ready to chant CHUGGA CHUGGA CHUGGA BEANS BEANS BEANS!
Pool by JiHiyeon Lee. A beautiful and innovative wordless picture book that takes one boy’s lonely time at the pool to a new level of wonder and discovery.
I Don’t Like Koala by Sean Ferrell, illus. Charles Santoso. If you’re looking for a slightly unnerving yet funny picture book read then I would recommend this one! A young boy tries desperately to get kid of a particularly wide-eyed koala bear toy who doesn’t want to disappear. Get ready to be slightly creeped out by a seemingly innocuous koala.

specialdelivery21469074pool22875417idontlikekoala17706518

Must Read Monday (4): Picture Books

Welcome to the fourth edition of Must Read Monday! On Mondays I will spotlight some new and/or upcoming releases I am looking forward to. The lists will include all genres I like to read, everything from picture books to comics, children’s lit to adult fiction!

This is the second week in a row I am featuring recently released picture book titles (both fiction and non-fiction); there’s just so many wonderful titles- by acclaimed authors/illustrators- I am eager to read!

orionandthedark22747854enormoussmallness23129884laststopmarketstreet22521973afinedessert14823980specialdelivery21469074

 

mypen21556531

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett (Published March 24th 2015 by Templar, earlier edition published in 2014)

Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, illus. Kris Di Giacomo (Published April 7th 2015 by Enchanted Lion Books)

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins, illus. Sophie Blackall (Published January 27th 2015 by Schwartz & Wade)

My Pen by Christopher Myers (Published March 10th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion)

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illus. Christian Robinson (Published January 8th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)

Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead, illus. Matthew Cordell (Published March 3rd 2015 by Roaring Brook Press)

If you’d like to join Must Read Monday, please do! Link up or leave a comment about what you’re looking forward to reading- I love to hear what other readers have on their radar!