Must Read Monday (80): Picture Books from Anna Walker, Shinsuke Yoshitake, Jessie Sima & 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: all about picture books! These are titles from authors and illustrators that are favourites or automatic must-reads, as well as new and wonderful-sounding and looking titles that I have been fortunate to hear about. Here we go!


Still Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake
Publication: September 26, 2017 by Harry N. Abrams (first published 2015)

Rot, the Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton
Publication: December 19, 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. Jen Hill
Publication: February 6, 2018 by Roaring Brook Press

Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime! by Lisa Mantchev, illus. Samantha Cotterill
Publication: February 13, 2018 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Florette by Anna Walker
Publication: February 20, 2018 by Clarion Books

Once Upon a Zzzz by Maddie Frost
Publication: March 1, 2018 by Albert Whitman Company

Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima
Publication: March 6, 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Everything You Need For a Treehouse by Carter Higgins, illus. Emily Hughes
Publication: March 13, 2018 by Chronicle Books

Big Bunny by Rowboat Watkins
Expected publication: March 20, 2018 by Chronicle Books

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Expected publication: April 10, 2018 by Candlewick Press



Picture Book Review: Pete With No Pants by Rowboat Watkins

Review: Pete With No Pants by Rowboat Watkins
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: May 2, 2017 by Chronicle Books
Book Description:

Meet Pete.

Pete is gray. He’s round. And he’s not wearing any pants.

So Pete must be a boulder. Or is he a pigeon? Or a squirrel? Or a cloud?

Join Pete in his quest to answer the world’s oldest question: Why do I have to wear pants? Wait, that’s the second oldest. Born from the one-of-a-kind imagination of Rowboat Watkins, this hilarious book (the asides just beg to be read aloud) about finding out who you are features a satisfying and touching ending that will encourage young readers to be true to themselves as it reminds the adults in their lives to support them no matter what.

I like- no, love- a picture book with a funny title, and Pete With No Pants might be up there with the best of them! (Just say it aloud a few times and try not to laugh). The extra good thing about Rowboat Watkins’ Pete With No Pants though is that it is not just a picture book with a fun-to-say-title, it’s also a very good read. Slightly off-kilter, a little sweet, a little sly- like a combination of Mo Willems, Jory John and Bob Shea- Watkins’ sophomore picture book is great.

We meet Pete the elephant ‘shortly after breakfast’, as he decides he is a boulder. Why? Well, he’s big, gray, and not wearing pants- just like a boulder. Pete then proceeds to go through a range of emotions as he quickly goes from professing his love of boulders, to having a very one-sided game of knock-knock with a boulder, to soon declaring ‘Wah! Boulders are the worst‘. We follow Pete as he experiments with being a squirrel, faces his mother’s exasperation at his lack of pants, and unexpectedly finds a wonderful person who loves him for exactly who he is.

Pete With No Pants is a busy, funny, sometimes subversive, story that utilizes speech bubbles and concurrent dialogue from multiple characters; the story relies, to a certain degree, on reader understanding and comprehension, or an able storyteller. Watkins’ illustrations are terrific- expressive and comical, and perhaps do best to be viewed up close. I can see using this story as a read aloud for preschool and up ages: a smaller, enthusiastic crowd with an eye and ear for the wacky and unexpected might especially appreciate Pete With No Pants. I have had my own experience of reading this story to my daughter (almost three) and she loves it best when I perform it in a kooky, loud fashion, with voices. My daughter might just be especially enamored with Pete as she gets to happily giggle and shout for a book called Pete With No Pants (again, just try not to laugh saying that title!)…but that’s totally okay by me!

I received a copy of this title courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.