Previously in my capacity as Children’s Department Manager for the Odyssey Book Shop, I had the opportunity to look over publisher’s catalogues at the new books for each season. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some Fall 2011 catalogues, so decided to revive my seasonal picture book highlights series.
Disclaimer: I have not seen these books with my own eyes. So, these books have been chosen based on my knowledge of the author and/or illustrator’s previous work, the catalogue description, and my own personal taste.
by David Ezra Stein
Mouserella misses her grandmouse, so she writes her a letter. At first she can’t think of anything to say, but once she starts, the news begins to flow – she found a cat whisker at the zoo, she taught her ladybug to fetch, she made shadow puppets with Dadmouse during a blackout – and just like that, the events of the past few days come to vivid life in her letter, as does her love for Grandmouse. Children will enjoy reading the story from top to bottom, like a real letter, and Mouserella’s funny drawings and lively adventures will spark their imaginations and just might inspire them to start a correspondence of their own.
Bun Bun Button
by Patricia Polacco
Paige loves cuddling with Gramma and all of Gramma’s pets in the Old Blue Chair. And when Gramma makes her Bun Bun Button, an adorable homemade stuffed bunny with a button nose, this special time becomes even more cozy. Then a balloon carries the little bunny away. Bun Bun braves honking geese and a wide night sky, until luck – or love – magically brings her back home to the little girl who loves her. This heartwarming story celebrates the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, and is perfect for children who imagine their toys have secret adventures when no one’s watching.
Otis and the Tornado
by Loren Long
Otis and his farm friends are enjoying a summer’s day playing their favorite game, follow-the-leader. The bull, however, has no interest in playing and stays in his pen, where he delights in intimidating the other animals. Suddenly the day turns frightening: the birds stop chirping, the wind picks up, and the sky turns dark and stormy. It’s a tornado! Otis rouses a game of follow-the-leader to get all of the farm animals safe and sound in the dried-up riverbanks of Mud Creek. But Otis hears a cry in the distance – it’s the bull, still locked in his pen! Quick as his tires will take him, Otis putt puff puttedy chuffs back to the farm to save the day. This brand-new adventure is a perfect accompaniment to any Otis lover’s bookshelf and story time.
by Valerie Gorbachev
When baby brother is sleeping, it’s time to be ever so quiet. There’s no singing or jumping or laughing at all. Even the toys need to be quiet! The pirates stop firing their cannons, the knights stop fighting, even the tiger stops growling. But when baby wakes up . . . it’s time to jump and laugh and sing again! And the knights begin to fight, the pirates fire up the cannons, and the tiger growls so loudly! Until it’s time to be quiet once again. In this beautifully and expressively illustrated picture book, we celebrate the love between siblings as a big brother uses his imagination to calm his urge to cause a ruckus so that his little brother can sleep.
by Oliver Jeffers
When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he’s determined to get it out. But how? Well, by knocking it down with his shoe, of course. But strangely enough, it too gets stuck. And the only logical course of action . . . is to throw his other shoe. Only now it’s stuck! Surely there must be something he can use to get his kite unstuck. An orangutan? A boat? His front door? Yes, yes, and yes. And that’s only the beginning. Stuck is Oliver Jeffers’ most absurdly funny story since The Incredible Book-Eating Boy. Childlike in concept and vibrantly illustrated as only Oliver Jeffers could, here is a picture book worth rescuing from any tree.
King Jack and the Dragon
by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
An irresistible knights-and-dragons fantasy for the very young, in the tradition of Oxenbury’s enduring classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Jack, Zack, and baby Caspar spend all day fighting dragons in their homemade fort. But when Sir Zack and Caspar are taken inside for bed, King Jack – alone on his throne – finds himself feeling a bit less brave . . . especially when he hears a thing approaching, a thing with four legs. A rollicking read-aloud with a charming surprise ending and Helen Oxenbury’s spare, expressive illustrations, this kid-pleaser is a classic in the making.
The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy
by David Soman and Jacky Davis
When Sam turns into Bumblebee Boy to defeat pirates, fight dragons, and tame saber-tooth lions, he doesn’t need his little brother, Owen, butting in and ruining his adventures. Bumblebee Boy flies alone! But what happens when Bumblebee Boy comes face-to-face with more scary aliens than even he can imagine? Owen is there, garbed in goggles and a towel cape, and he just might be the perfect alien-fighting sidekick. For all young superhero fans with big imaginations and curious siblings, here’s a hilarious and sweet new adventure from the creative team who knows exactly how kids think.
by Deborah Freedman
In this deceptively simple picture book, author-illustrator Deborah Freedman has created an irresistible character that springs to life and wreaks havoc in a farmyard with a pot of blue paint. The innocent chicken just wants to help, but things get worse and worse-and bluer and bluer–the more she tries. Playing with colors and perspective, and using minimal text, this richly layered story reveals new things to see and laugh about with each reading.
Little Owl’s Night
by Divya Srinivasan
It’s evening in the forest and Little Owl wakes up from his day-long sleep to watch his friends enjoying the night. Hedgehog sniffs for mushrooms, Skunk nibbles at berries, Frog croaks, and Cricket sings. A full moon rises and Little Owl can’t understand why anyone would want to miss it. Could the daytime be nearly as wonderful? Mama Owl begins to describe it to him, but as the sun comes up, Little Owl falls fast asleep. Putting a twist on the bedtime book, Little Owl’s Night is sure to comfort any child with a curiosity about the night.