Marcia Strykowski

2018 Picture Books

Below are some new favorite picture books I’ve recently added to our library. These are all 2018 releases and several have it’s-about-time sensitive subjects included, but they are all uplifting and well worth the read. There were a few others I would have liked to include, however not all were checked-in when I read and reviewed, which I suppose is a good thing. Books as special as these tend to fly off the shelf!

Duck Gets a Job written and illustrated by Sonny Ross, published by Templar Books (an imprint of Candlewick Press) First U. S. edition 2018. This wise and thoughtful book about being who you were truly meant to be rather than stressfully following the crowd is long overdue. The pictures are delightful and the message spot on. This might make a nice graduation gift!

Fruit Bowl written and illustrated by Mark Hoffmann, published by Alfred A. Knopf 2018. A fun book about the connections between fruits and vegetables which includes a sympathetic tomato who smartly pleads his case as he tries desperately to get into the fruit bowl. Witty puns throughout!

Perfectly Norman written and illustrated by Tom Percival, published by Bloomsbury Publishing First U. S. edition 2018. Another great message about being brave enough to be yourself no matter how unusual you might feel and in the process you just might find your tribe. I tend to prefer large format books and this is a nice big 10″ x 12″.

Hello Lighthouse written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, published by Little, Brown and Company (a division of Hachette Book Group) 2018. Simply a gorgeous book. I’ve researched lighthouse history before and this has it all, telling the sweet story of a lighthouse keeper and his family during the time when lighthouses became automated. A beautifully illustrated peek at coastal history with informative back matter on the endpaper.

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Sarah Horne, published by CarolRhoda Books (division of Lerner Publishing) 2018. Another fun book, very unique with bright colorful illustrations and a surprise ending.

In-Between Things written and illustrated by Priscilla Tey, published by Candlewick Press 2018. This could have been a basic concept book, but the details and surprising examples of what it means to be in-between bring a whole lot more to this clever book. Wonderful mixed media illustrations!

Iver & Ellsworth written by Casey W. Robinson and illustrated by Melissa Larson, published by Ripple Grove Press 2018. The poignant illustrations and gentle words tell a rare rendition of the true meaning of everlasting friendship. A well-done debut book for both author and illustrator!

Julian is a Mermaid written and illustrated by Jessica Love, published by Candlewick Press 2018. A little boy and his grandmother demonstrate a loving story of acceptance in a sometimes cookie-cutter world. With its empowering message, this is an outstanding debut book.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins, published by Disney Hyperion 2018. You’ll love meeting Penelope, an adorable little T. rex who, on her first day of school, is surprised to discover all her classmates are children. Can she learn to stop eating them?

Whale in a Fishbowl written by Troy Howell and illustrated by Richard Jones, published by Schwartz & Wade 2018. A beautifully poetic book about a captive whale who longs for the ocean. Lovely illustrations which include a nice fold-out page.

Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree written by Sandy Shapiro-Hurt and illustrated by Xindi Yan, published by Tilbury House Publishers 2018. A lovely rhyming story filled with deep themes of caring and nature. The soft vibrant illustrations are stunning!

The Other Ducks written by Ellen Yeomans and illustrated by Chris Sheban, published by Roaring Brook Press 2018. A goofy fun story about two easily confused and clueless ducks. The humorous illustrations are watercolor, graphite, and colored pencils.

The Funeral written and illustrated by Matt James, published by Groundwood Books (House of Anansi Press) 2018. This is a light, gentle take on a sad event we all eventually encounter. Despite its underlying gloomy subject, the thoughts and actions of the children are buoyant, believable, and life-affirming.

Mommy’s Khimar written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Ebony Glenn, published by Salaam Reads (Simon & Schuster) 2018. Love and acceptance are the main themes in this very sweet combination of words and pictures. A debut book for both author and illustrator.

Alma and How She Got Her Name written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal, published by Candlewick Press 2018. A charming book about a little girl with a very big name who learns about her many namesakes. The graphite and colored-pencil drawings are delightful!


  1. Wow – “it’s-about-time” subjects is right! Thank you for this wonderful display and reviews of the NEW cartwheeling into the Children’s Picture Book world.


    • You’re welcome, Pierr. 🙂 There are so many great picture books releasing weekly off the presses!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Some great picture books here. I was pleased to see Duck Gets a Job as children need to think about what choosing careers that interest them instead of following the crowd. Planting these ideas early is important and what better way than through picture books.


    • Yes, picture books can subtly offer children a lot of self-esteem-building character traits to carry with them throughout their lives.


  3. robbiecheadle

    A wonderful selection of children’s books, Marcia


  4. I enjoyed your reviews. Great!


  5. I absolutely love your book lists and reviews, Marcia! This one looks terrific. I’ll have to check them out, especially Sophie Blackall’s Lighthouse book. Thank you!


    • I’m sure you’ll love Hello Lighthouse! If I’m remembering correctly, I think you mentioned once you’re a fan of Mother Bruce, if I’ve got that right, you might enjoy the new one by Higgins listed here, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the one, We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, right? I do like Mother Bruce. I know I’ll like Hello Lighthouse. A good reason to visit the Eric Carle Museum this summer and browse their bookstore. Thanks, Marcia!


        • Yes, that one. Sounds horrific, but it’s a pretty cute book. You’ll know better as to whether it’s suitable or not. Have fun browsing that wonderful bookstore!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks, Marcia. Do you know Wilfred? He wrote that book before the Mother Bruce series. I certainly will enjoy browsing! Once every summer to that bookstore is a treat.


  6. Ashley

    Looks like some fascinating titles. Alma and Norman look particularly cute! Thanks for the suggestions, Marcia!


    • Yes, so many cute main characters brought to life by talented illustrators. You’re welcome, Ashley!


  7. What fun to be able to research children’s books and add them to your library. You have the best job ever, Marcia. It was fun to read through the list. 🙂


    • It is a fun job. 🙂 Can be overwhelming at times (so many books!) but the payoff of being able to check them all out later and take a better look makes it all worthwhile.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Barbara Fisher

    We don’t eat our classmates is a standout title for me, I can see it flying off the shelves! In-Between Things appeals to me because of the bright, attractive cover, I would so enjoy spending time in ‘your’ library browsing all these and many more books.


    • That would be so much fun if you could hang out at my library looking at picture books. 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful summer!


  9. Great round-up!


  10. So many wonderful books on this list! I kept reading the descriptions and thinking “What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that?” HA! (And Candlewick for the win, right?)


    • You’re right, so many good ideas if only we were first to have them! Candlewick does seem to have an abundance of beautiful books lately. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. clarehelenwelsh

    Thanks Marcia – I love books that tackle difficult issues in clever, sensitive (and often humourous) ways. Julian is a mermaid is on my list to read too!


  12. Woo hoo! Always love these new book posts Marcia!! Your description of the Fruit Bowl book made me laugh. And that chicken on the birthday book cover!! Totally pulled me and I want to read the surprise at the end! And I’ve always loved the name Alma– we knew some from Spanish families. I’d love to read that one as well. Wish I lived close to your library so I could check them all out (or at least get on the waiting list!) thanks thanks for the post. And– how is your summer going?? Any plans for the weeks ahead? We have kids coming down for a cousin’s wedding this weekend– can’t wait!


    • Yay, so happy you enjoyed the post, Rhonda! Lots going on between two weddings, a wedding shower and a baby shower, and several other events, so I’m trying to make time for everything. Like you, our wedding this weekend is a cousin one (my cousin’s daughter). Have fun at your event! 🙂


  13. I always enjoy your wonderful picture book reviews. I know that I’ll come back to it the next time I need to buy a gift for a child.


  14. Bette Norton

    I do love your new book reviews posts especially the picture books! I am so happy to see pictures books dealing with challenging topics of today’s times. I believe these books can be very helpful in reaching out to young people who may feel isolated and lacking in confidence and courage to stand up for themselves and be who they are. Today’s topics of the environment, dying, racism to name a few, are easier to deal with through reading beautifully illustrated picture books. Thank you for all of your research. It sounds like you have a busy but very fun job at the library! I would like to read all of these books! A great post! 🙂


    • Thanks, Bette, I hope you do get to read all of these selections. Yay for picture books! 🙂


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