Marcia Strykowski

New Picture Books for 2022!

Time to catch up on some picture books I’ve recently reviewed. Thanks to Candlewick Press for sharing these first three newly released (or nearly released!) books with me for an early sneak peek and in turn, a heads-up for my readers, too.

FIRSTS AND LASTS: THE CHANGING SEASONS is written by Leda Schubert and is illustrated by Clover Robin. Candlewick Press, 2022. This is a gentle lyrical book with an old-fashioned appeal for ages 4 to 8. Gorgeous cut paper illustrations portray the firsts and lasts of each season and the way they overlap into the next time period. For example, “the last time we wear flannel pajamas” is the gradual changing of winter into spring. And “the first time we wash the car” is one of several activities and observations announcing the arrival of summer towards the end of spring. Great for all audiences, especially young ones learning about the passing of time and seasons of the year.

THIS IS A SCHOOL is written by John Schu and is illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison for ages 4 to 8. Candlewick Press, 2022. This is a wonderful story of inclusion and how each of us is important in making up an entire community. Despite their different backgrounds, all the children depicted in this fun, learning environment are equally needed to make up the classroom of students we follow from page to page. With each word and illustration, the necessity of each participant is apparent whether they happen to be working or playing together. Great for library and school purchases.

AT THE POND is written by David Elliott and is illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford for ages 3 to 7. Candlewick Press, 2022. Absolutely gorgeous! The lyrical words and beautiful illustrations bring equal brilliance to this perfect picture book. Some of the words will be new to young readers but this brings even more to the experience of hearing the story read aloud while exploring the detailed pictures. There are additional fun notes about the plants and animals in the back matter. Highly recommended for all ages!

As always, a wonderful collection of Candlewick books, but I also have a bonus book from Yeehoo Press to add to this post. I was happy to win a copy of this debut picture book on Ellen Leventhal‘s blog.

THE HAPPIEST KID is written by Sarah Bagley Steele with illustrations by Elsa Pui Si Lo and Clarice Yunyi Cai. This is a beautifully written picture book for ages 4 to 8. Yeehoo Press, 2022. Without being didactic, the story sends a strong message to children of all ages about how it’s okay to sometimes feel sad. Sally is a thoughtful main character who cares about others’ feelings and doesn’t want to burden them with her sadness. Even though she’s feeling down, she isn’t mad (except at the cloud!) or blaming others for her sadness. By the end, with the help of a new friend, she becomes brave enough to share her feelings. The illustrations are bright and lively and as fresh as a new box of crayons. Sally’s facial expressions throughout are adorable. A lovely book with a surprise second cover underneath the book jacket.

Oh goodie, I’ve got one more brand new book to share, this one from Beaming Books!

SOME DADDIES is written by Carol Gordon Ekster and is illustrated by Javiera MacLean Alvarez. Beaming Books, 2022. This is a super fun book where kids can see which fathers remind them most of their own dads, family or found—from huggers and jokesters to quiet consolers. There’s sure to be giggles as the wide variety of quirky characters reminds kids of the men in their own lives. This makes for a popular story-time choice for youngsters aged 4 to 7. Just in time for Father’s Day, Some Daddies releases to the public on May 17th. Check out Carol’s website for launch events!


  1. Thanks for the recommendations!


  2. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    Fabulous selections Marcia!


  3. Some awesome picture books! Thanks.


  4. Hilary Margitich

    Loved reading about all of these new books coming out! Thank you for sharing 🙂


  5. Laura Fineberg Cooper

    I always love your book recommendations! Each of these books look and sound wonderful!!


  6. Hi Marcia, thank you for sharing these reviews. The books all look adorable. And thank you for sharing about SCBWI. I have joined and it is benefiting me already.


    • You’re welcome, Robbie! I’m so glad you’re finding a lot of useful information through SCBWI.


  7. Wonderful, Marcia! Your reviews are always the best!


  8. Bette Norton

    These books all look like wonderful reads! There is nothing like a good picture book with beautiful illustrations! Thank you for your great reviews!


  9. Marcia – these all look super. I can tell from the covers that the illustrations are all well done. Hope you are having a great week.


    • Thanks, Debbie! I hope your week is going well, too. Enjoy your upcoming special event!


  10. Lots of great recommendations. I haven’t read any of these yet- but I do have This is a School on my library order for next year. I have heard great things about it. Glad to see you enjoyed it too. 🙂


  11. What a lovely post, Marcia! I always look forward to your recommendations., and thank you for sharing!😍


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