Summer 2010 Picturebook Highlights – Simon & Schuster

Introducing Simon & Schuster as number four in the “Summer 2010 Picturebook Highlights” series!

The Pirate of Kindergarten
by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril
9781416950240, $16.99, Pub. Date: June 2010
This one’s a departure from my usual taste; I’m not, in general, a huge fan of “issues” books. This one caught my attention because it’s a clever blend of issue & character-driven plot with bright illustrations. Ginny sees everything as a double. She doesn’t know this isn’t how most other people see the world. I enjoy (and think kids will, too) that the teacher overlooks or misinterprets signs of Ginny’s double-vision, as this often happens between adults and children. A routine eye exam results in Ginny’s pirate-like eye patch she will need to wear until her new glasses arrive. The pirate theme is very small at the end, so don’t be fooled this will be a swashbuckling adventure. A good book to read at any time when explaining the difference in peoples’ appearances.
Perhaps I like this book due to my own experience with needing glasses. As family legend would have it, I put on my new glasses, stepped outside, and said, “You can see leaves?!” Apparently, only green blobs had been visible before the miracle glasses. I was nine-years-old. My mother felt awful, but now I like to tease her about it.

Dogs Don’t Do Ballet
by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie
9781416998396, $15.99, Pub. Date: June 2010
Biff, an adorable little Boston Terrier-looking dog, longs to dance ballet. But, as you can imagine, he is told time and again, “Dogs don’t do ballet!” He follows his owners to a show at the Royal Ballet, and when the principle dancer falls, it’s Biff’s big chance! Will his ballet moves impress the crowd and save the show? Adorable illustrations highlight Biff’s longing for dance.
What I find most intriguing about this book is you could very easily change the word “boy” for the word “dog” (not that I’m calling boys dogs, mind you), and have a non-traditional coming-of-age tale.

The Cow Loves Cookies
by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Marcellus Hall
9781416942061, $16.99, Pub. Date: July 2010
A great new storytime book! As the farmer walks around the farm, feeding each animal its particular type of food, everyone can chant the refrain together: “The Cow loves cookies!” The illustrations are somewhat reminiscent of the barnyards featured in Betsy Lewin’s illustrations for Doreen Cronin’s picturebooks such as Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, though obviously with an original spin.

Where Is Tippy Toes?
written & illustrated by Betsy Lewin
9781416938088, $16.99, Pub. Date: July 2010
Die-cut pages fold open to reveal where Tippy Toes the cat goes. Very sweet, and a good bedtime book.

by Matthew Van Fleet
9781442403796, $17.99, Pub. Date: August 2010
I’m cheating a little bit here, because technically this is a board book, but it’s wonderful! In the same vein as his others – Cat, Alphabet, Dog, Tails – this book has more push tabs, with his signature funny rhyming text.

The Halloween Kid
by Rhode Montijo
9781416935759, $12.99, Pub. Date: August 2010
A delightful combination of retro illustrations and Western-sounding slang, this picturebook is a new Halloween must-have. The Halloween Kid is a masked hero, riding around on his trusty hobby horse, saving trick-or-treaters from the Goody Goblins and other clever monsters.

The Monster Princess
by D.J. MacHale, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
9781416948094, $17.99, Pub. Date: August 2010
A perfect match between author and illustrator! The rhyming text is well-written and tells the story of a krinkle-nut digger type-of-monster named Lala. Lala lives in a cave deep in the earth, but dreams of the light and the dresses and parties of life as a princess. When she gets a chance to attend the ball, she slips and falls, and the real princesses laugh at her. Back at home, her supportive mother comforts Lala by telling her she brings her own light into the cave. Lala forgives the princesses for being mean, and decides being a princess isn’t what she’s meant to be after all. The beautiful illustrations and design of the words on each page adds so much character to an already enticing story.

A backlist title I just discovered:

My Friend, the Starfinder
by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Stephen Gammell
9781416927389, $16.99
Have to admit I haven’t read this book yet, but I love Stephen Gammell illustrations. The catalogue description reads: Dazzled, a little girl listens to her old neighbor’s story of following a falling star when he was a boy. He found it, too. But that’s not all the starfinder has to tell, in this luminous picture book by George Ella Lyon and Stephen Gammell.
It feels like the perfect summertime nighttime book to me.

And stay tuned – I have about 10 chapter book recommendations I need to blog about. Coming soon!

2 thoughts on “Summer 2010 Picturebook Highlights – Simon & Schuster

  1. I love reading your reviews! You do such a great job of giving a sense of the book in so few words. Plus I love getting a heads-up about front list since I don't get to see it often in my neck of the woods.

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