Spring 2012 Picture Book Highlights: Chronicle Books

 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. Thanks to Edelweiss, I can now look at publisher’s catalogues as a blogger! Here are my picks for Spring 2012:

Trains Go
by Steve Light
9780811879422, $8.99, Pub. Date: January 2012

For the very youngest reader, a new board book of sights and sounds guaranteed to capture their attention.

Publisher’s description: All aboard! Take a trip on eight noisy trains as they huff, puff, and toot-toot their way through this lively book filled with onomatopoetic text and interactive illustrations.

Animal Spots and Stripes
by Britta Teckentrup
9781452109947, $12.99, Pub. Date: February 2012

Animal 123
by Britta Teckentrup
9781452109930, $12.99, Pub. Date: February 2012

For the toddler in your house, 2 new colorful lift-the-flap books.

Publisher’s descriptions: With a bold palette, striking graphics, and a bouncing menagerie of animals, this pair of uniquely formatted lift-the-flap books introduces young readers to the basic concepts of counting and patterns. Each is a boisterous, vivid trek of discovery, providing irresistible clues which encourage lifting the flap – a hands-on, educator-approved strategy of uncovering and learning concepts. Whether it’s finding out just who’s next in Animal 123, or exploring differently patterned creatures hiding in the habitats of Animal Spots and Stripes, these ultra-sturdy books provide not just an intriguing way to communicate essential building blocks of learning, but also offer an energetic playground of sheer delight.

Water Sings Blue (poetry)
by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So
9780811872843, $16.99, Pub. Date: March 2012

While the poems in this book are well-written, it’s really the illustrations that make this picture book worth the price. At turns a dreamy wash and a bold statement, Meilo So’s watercolor illustrations are the perfect compliment to the lyrical text.

Publisher’s description: Come down to the shore with this rich and vivid celebration of the ocean! With watercolors gorgeous enough to wade in by award-winning artist Meilo So and playful, moving poems by Kate Coombs, Water Sings Blue evokes the beauty and power, the depth and mystery, and the endless resonance of the sea.

Chloe, Instead
by Micah Player
9780811878654, $15.99, Pub. Date: April 2012

Bright illustrations with bold color and simple text, this is a to-the-point picture book about the trials and triumphs of a new sibling.

Publisher description: Molly always dreamed of having a sister who is just like her. But she got Chloe, instead. These two sisters are nothing alike: Molly loves to color with crayons. Chloe prefers the taste of wax. Molly loves to read. Chloe prefers to nibble a book’s spine. Molly is frustrated! But then she realizes that maybe sisters aren’t the ones next to you on the piano bench, they’re the ones dancing to the music you play! This humorous, perceptive snapshot of sibling love is perfect for those who may need a bit of convincing what fun little siblings can be!

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
by Hena Khan
9780811879057, $17.99, Pub. Date: June 2012

More than a book to learn colors, this can also serve as an introduction for a child (or even an adult) to a world that might be unfamiliar to them. Even if I recognized the object, there were several words I did not know that named specific objects important in the Muslim religion and culture. This is a great cross-cultural way to learn both colors and cultural acceptance.

Publisher’s description: Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam’s beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is equally at home in a classroom reading circle as it is being read to a child on a parent’s lap.

Tua and the Elephant
by Randal Harris, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
9780811877817, $16.99, Pub. Date: April 2012

Cheating a bit as this one is not a picture book, but instead is an illustrated chapter book for the 8-12 Middle Grade Reader set.

Publisher’s description: Ten-year-old Tua – Thai for peanut – has everything she needs at home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, except for one thing she’s always wanted: a sister. In the market one day, Tua makes an accidental acquaintance – one with wise, loving eyes, remarkable strength, and a very curious trunk. And when Tua meets Pohn-Pohn, it’s clear this elephant needs her help. Together, the unusual team sets off on a remarkable journey to escape from Pohn-Pohn’s vile captors. From the bustling night market to the hallowed halls of a Buddhist temple and finally, to the sanctuary of an elephant refuge, this clever girl and her beloved companion find that right under their noses is exactly what each has been searching for: a friend.

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