Marcia Strykowski

New Picture Books

As always, there are many beautiful new picture books being released (yay!). Therefore, I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch of deserving titles, but I did try to vary between styles and publishers to come up with the following sixteen favorites to review—all hot off the press.
pb-oct-1
First up: My Friend Maggie, written and illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison, is a delightful, gentle read about friendship,  peer pressure, bullying, and fitting in. This soon-to-be-classic features adorable animal characters in its lovely illustrations. Dial Books—August 2016.

pb-oct-4Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith. This humorous retelling of the popular fairy tale takes place in Africa and features a brave, clever little girl who knows how to put a big, hungry lion in his place. Great twist for the ending and bright colorful illustrations add lots to the fun!  Scholastic Press—July 2016.


pb-oct-5They All Saw a Cat, written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel.
Quietly told story has a peaceful feeling to it, as well as an important message of how we each see things a bit different. The amazing mixed-media illustrations are worth poring over again and again. Chronicle Books—August 2016.

pb-oct-16Kiss it Better, written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and illustrated by Sarah Massini is a great choice for your next bedtime story. The rhyme is spot on and the illustrations are delightful. How could you not love a book filled with cuddly teddy bears and kisses? Bloomsbury USA Childrens—October 2016.

pb-oct-6A Child of Books, written by Oliver Jeffers and illustrated by Sam Winston. Sparse on words, yet with multiple layers of text make for many classic tales within this new story of a dream-like girl who introduces a young boy to the world of the imagination where everyone is welcome. Candlewick Press—September 2016.

pb-oct-7The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles is written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. I’ve long been fascinated by messages in bottles and this timeless story shows just how special they can be. The soft dreamy pictures are a perfect match for the lovely prose. Dial Books—August 2016. Both this and A Child of Books become more brilliant with each reading.

pb-oct-17Tek: The Modern Cave Boy, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell is about a little cave boy who is so connected to his gadgets, he’s missing out on all that’s going on in the world beyond his cave—a story many of us can relate to. The clever design imitates a tablet. I wasn’t sure how well it would wear with heavy library use, but it seems sturdy enough. Lots of funny lines and details between the thick board-book covers (inside pages are thin). Little, Brown & Co.—Oct. 2016

pb-oct-8Monday is Wash Day, written by Maryann Sundby and illustrated by Tessa Blackham. A gentle tale of bygone days is beautifully complimented with soft, layered paper-cut illustrations. I’ve noticed this small publisher has an excellent eye for art and this new release is no exception. Ripple Grove Press—September 2016.

pb-oct-9Penguin Problems, written by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith.  This unique book features a little penguin who is constantly complaining about his lot in life, his appearance, the behavior of others, and anything else that might not be exactly to his liking. A wise walrus sets him straight, but like many, the little penguin is rather stuck in his ways. Perfect prose and striking illustrations. Random House Books—September 2016

pb-oct-3Mary Had a Little Glam, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Various characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes make up this entertaining story. Good choice for fans of Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, and Olivia. Personable young Mary comes alive in dazzling pictures filled with fun details. Sterling Children’s Books—August 2016.

pb-oct-19Lucy’s Lovey, written by Betsy Devany and illustrated by Christopher Denise. Many small children have a special blanket or doll they favor over all else. That’s how it is for Lucy. She takes her favorite doll everywhere with her until Smelly Belly goes off on her own. All ends well in this delightful story accompanied by gorgeous, sunlit illustrations. Henry Holt & Co.—September 2016.

pb-oct-15The Summer Nick Taught his Cats to Read, written by Curtis Manley and illustrated by Kate Berube. A surefire hit for those who love cats and books. Because Nick’s cats distract him while he’s reading, he decides to teach them how to read. The dour-faced ‘reluctant reader’ cat is especially well done. Simon & Schuster—July 2016.

pb-oct-11-noGrumpy Pants, written and illustrated by Claire Messer. A charming tale accompanied with bright, original illustrations created in a printmaking style. Nice choice for toddlers learning about feelings and how it’s okay to be grumpy once in a while. Albert Whitman & Co.—May 2016.

pb-oct-2There’s a Bear on My Chair, written and illustrated by Ross Collins. A little mouse finds a large bear taking up space in his home. He tries everything to get the bear to leave, but nothing works until the surprise ending. A fun read-aloud with plenty of rhymes! Nosy Crow—August 2016.

pb-oct-18Samson in the Snow, written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead. Another beautiful story about friendship. This one features a large, woolly mammoth and a tiny red bird. Lovely soft artwork brings magic to this quiet story. Roaring Brook Press—September 2016

pb-oct-20Dear Dragon, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo. Great pairing of awesome rhyme and well-done illustrations makes this a fun choice for children learning not only about pen pals, but about how much they may have in common with others even if they look very different from each other. Viking—September 2016.

I’ve read each of these books more than once and in several of them a deeper story is revealed during the second or third reading. In others a previously missed illustration detail shines through. At first I was choosing too many animal stories, but with a little shuffling, now it’s the other way around. Nine of the above sixteen books have people as main characters. As mentioned, I tried to pick from a variety of publishing houses and from only those books released in the last few months.

But what have I missed? Any great new books I might not know about? Do you have a preference for animal characters or people characters?

Other posts from 2016 about picture books include thesePicture Book Boot Camp, New Library Books, More New Books.

74 Comments

  1. Colleen

    So many fascinating choices! I am so glad I am old enough to buy picture books for myself and enjoy them! I also like to read them to little ones-but to be honest- I have them for the sheer pleasure of reading them as bedtime stories. Thank you Marcia for so many lovely suggestions for my books wanted list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Colleen! I love reading picture books, too (obviously, ha ha). 🙂

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  2. Such an exciting and lovable selection! I look forward to reading them. As someone who writes picture books, I am inspired by the genius of others. Also, glad to see some of them contain rhyme, something we’re often told editors do not want. Thanks for posting, Marcia!

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    • It’s always interesting to see how rhyming books and talking animal stories continue to prevail and I’m glad they do. Let me know when a picture book by you comes out, Lynn, and best of luck!

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  3. Thanks, Marcia! I always look forward to your list of new picture books! I’ll definitely be checking out the ones I haven’t read already 😀

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    • So many great new titles. I don’t think picture books will ever stop being popular!

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  4. It is great to hear about new titles. I have my favourite stories that I love to read over and over but it is equally fun to discover something new. As a preschool teacher I read a lot of picture books and I love them!

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    • I can see how your collection would be all set since you have new children in your class each year. It must be hard to squeeze in more and more new titles. Thanks for your comment, Cindy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true. I sort of do a two year program because a lot of the children are with me when they are three and again when they are four. Still, the new books are one of the things that keeps my job interesting! And you’re welcome for the comment 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Marcia, You have done such a good job of compile this super collection of picture books.
    I’m not up to date with many new picture books, but I have heard good things about Aberdeen by Stacey Previn and Zog and the Flying Doctors by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Aberdeen is a little mouse who doesn’t mean to get into scrapes … but does and Zog is a clumsy little dragon (which you probably already know!)
    I’ve just started looking for Christmas presents for my granddaughters in Australia after reading your post I think they might enjoy Lucy’s Lovey, and Mary had a little glam. Next time I’m in town I shall be going in search of both.

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    • Both great titles, thanks for the suggestions, Barbara. I might add Aberdeen to my next order. I didn’t know about the new Zog, seems it’s just barely released here in the states, but I’ll keep an eye out. I’m sure your granddaughters will love their new books!

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      • Thanks so much for visiting me today Marcia, and for your lovely comment.

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  6. A fabulous collection of picture books! They all look so appealing. Thanks for the list.

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    • You’re welcome, Darlene! 🙂 (Still waiting on my Amanda order.. but I’m sure it will arrive eventually.)

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  7. I love your reviews. Short but packed with voom! Have to check them all out.

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  8. Yeah!! Marcia–love your posts about new kids books– as good as a trip to the bookshop! I especially liked the Dear Dragon and There’s a Bear in my Chair books!! Get to get some fun to titles before Christmas shopping!

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    • I’m glad you like the selection, Rhonda. So many good new titles coming out, makes me wonder what’s next!

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      • Fun! You know how to cull out the great ones Marcia! Glad you kept the book ordering part of your job! (we all benefit). Happy weekend ahead friend!! hugs.

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  9. P.S. and thanks for the links to your other kid books posts!! smart Marcia! hugs from here!!

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  10. Great job, Marcia.

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  11. Marcia, your book recommendations are always terrific. Thank you! I am most familiar with The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. Wonderful book. Bruce Hotel is a great sequel to Mother Bruce. For older children, The Poet’s Dog is one of the best books I have ever read. I am hoping it wins the Newbery this year.

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    • Great suggestions, Jennie! I haven’t read Bruce Hotel yet, but I’ll check it out. And if I do another list that’s not limited to picture books, The Poet’s Dog will definitely be on it—a beautiful book!

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  12. Your list is wonderful, Marcia! Monday is Wash Day and Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion look especially good to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure you’ll enjoy both books—both are unique, yet so different from each other. One fast and flashy, the other soft and slow. It’s fun to compare various styles and I’m glad there is still such a big variety to pick from, rather than having them all mimic the latest bestseller.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. These children’s picture books look wonderful – the illustrations are all great and they make me want to curl up and read them to a little one!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. mirkabreen

    The sheer caliber of the artistic imagination in the titles you highlighted leave me humble.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aren’t they brilliant? I’ve always thought it would be fun to illustrate a full picture book, but when I see books like these, I know it’s just a dream. The prose and poetry are done with amazing skill, as well; never mind coming up with such creative ideas in the first place.

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  15. smfordblog

    Just saw A CHILD OF BOOKS last night. So cool. Others I’ve recently enjoyed include:
    Hensel and Gretel: Ninja Chicks, A Dark, Dark Cave, and Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book)

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    • Oh, those are all great suggestions! I can’t believe I missed Snappsy. I guess it’s a case of so many books and so little time. Thank you for your visit!

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  16. Marcia, thank you SO much for including LUCY’S LOVEY in this fabulous list. I especially loved hearing about new PBs, which I look forward to getting.
    It’s so sweet, I’ve heard from at least four different families where kids (ages 3-7) insist on being read LUCY’S LOVEY every night. The parents say they almost have the text memorized.
    Schools are having PJ days where kids wear PJs to school and bring along their loveys. They read LUCY’S LOVEY and then write about their own lovey. One school sent me a booklet the kids made for me with pics of all their loveys, along with reasons why they love them.
    Thanks again!
    Betsy Devany

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    • How fun! Glad Lucy’s Lovey is doing so well out in the world! 🙂

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  17. Bette Norton

    I love picture books and I have quite a collection of them! All of these books look great! I especially like Tek; The Modern Cave Boy and its clever jacket design! I strongly agree that children are missing out with their noses always in their electronics! A great gift to give for a child! I think I would enjoy reading Monday is Wash Day, as I used to love to hang clothes out on my mother’s clothesline and I continued to hang clothes on my clothesline until the last few decades. I wish there were more time in the day to sit quietly and read a beautifully illustrated picture book. Maybe I should make this a priority in my daily life. Thank you for a delightful post! 🙂

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    • I do think picture books can be a very restorative way to end the day, for all ages. Thanks for contributing to the discussion, Bette!

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  18. Great timing – I’m starting to think about holiday gifts. The books sound wonderful.

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  19. These all look fabulous to me! So many beautiful covers and the descriptions have me very intrigued. Glad to hear you have read them several times each and they are all winners. Can’t wait to start checking them out!

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  20. Ooh yes, I read your reviews on GoodReads and have already added several of them, Marcia. Hope to seek them out from my library soon! They look and sound wonderful, especially the one with the message in a bottle and wash day. Now that Oliver Jeffers book in interesting: written by him yet illustrated by someone else? That I haven’t expected!

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    • Hi Claudine! I think you will really like those choices. And knowing your taste, you will love A Child of Books! It’s very lyrical and imaginative. Both Oliver and Sam created the images.

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  21. Kids’ books are so great. I just read Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion with my grandson and he loved it. It will be a sad day for granny when we leave the picture books behind. 🙂

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    • I kept reading to my kids no matter how big they got (or they’d read them to me). Great that you read to your lucky grandson!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Bobbi Miller

    What a nice, nice selection of books. I love that title, Gumpy Pants!!

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  23. These look great! Thanks for sharing.

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  24. What a great roundup! Several here I haven’t read, so I’ll look forward to checking them out.

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    • After making up my list, I kept seeing more good ones releasing in October and November. May we never run out of picture books!

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  25. Rebecca

    I can’t wait to read several of these! Thanks for the great recommendations!

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  26. I want all of them. They look very interesting and adventurous!

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  27. Oh my! How adorable!!! The creativity that goes into creating a picture book has me in awe. They really are like works of art.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Stephanie. So much talent goes into every picture book–true works of art! 🙂

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  28. joan eyles johnson

    Thank you for this lovely selection of current books for little ones. This helps my students who are attempting to write for children. Love your blog!

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    • Joan, I really appreciate your feedback on my post and blog, thank you. Best of luck to you and your students!

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  29. Ashley

    You really know what’s trending, Marcia! It’s super to see these new books coming out from so many different publishers. Thanks for sharing your research! Great selection!!

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    • I’m glad you liked the post, Ashley. It’s refreshing to know a variety of publishers are still producing quality picture books…long may they prosper!

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  30. I have posted this post in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MyOfficialDiary/

    Like

  31. Wow, there are so many books for children? They all look cute (as my daughter would say 😉 A bit sad, they are not available in Polish. Do you plan to translate your book about Amy into Polish? If not, I will have to hurry my daughter to learn English quicker to be able to read it 🙂 And thanks for following my blog.

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    • Nothing in Polish, yet, but one of my manuscripts takes place in Poland. Hopefully it will become a finished book someday. Nice to meet you, Awa, and thanks to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Benjamin

    Reading your site is pure pleasure for me!

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  33. Informative post: I’ve tweeted it 🙂

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  34. I need to find a copy of There’s a Bear In My Chair, it would complement Bonnie Becker’s Bear and Mouse books nicely. My first graders love those (and they are extra fun to read out loud.)

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    • It’s a cute book, I think your students will like it. I love Bonnie’s Bear & Mouse books, too!

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