We’re being showered with some great kids books this month. Below are some new arrivals that caught my eye (for my picks of YA titles, click here).
The Pigeon Needs a Bath!, Mo Willems, Hachette, Disney-Hyperion
Over ten years ago four-year-olds everywhere screamed, denied, and prevented a small blue pigeon from driving a bus. Pigeon has found a hotdog, wanted a puppy, longed for a cookie, stayed up late and I am pretty sure that we are not surprised that now he needs a bath.
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, Dan Santat, Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Beekle is a doughy white roundish creature with a golden crown. He is an imaginary friend who lacks a child. Beekle impatiently waits in the land of imaginary creatures for his perfect match until he just can’t wait any longer and journeys off to find the child himself. Santat has created a fantasy world of helpful imagined companions. We meet a navy blue octopus who seems to have mehndi designs trailing up its tentacles, a cheerful wind cloud who helps fly a kite, and a playful salamander-like creature; all part of a community of children in a familiar yet strange landscape saturated with color.
Have You Seen My Dragon?, Steve Light, Candlewick
Counting from 1 to 20 we wander the street of Manhattan as a the eponymous dragon hides in plain sight. Light’s retro crowded pen and ink drawings evoke the hustle and bustle of the big city with judicious spots of color to help young readers find the 2 red hotdogs in golden buns, 3 purple buses and so on and so on.
Cowy Cow , Chris Raschka, Abrams/Appleseed
When I found out that Abrams Appleseed was bringing the Thingy Thing books back in print, I did cartwheels. When I found out that they were adding 4 new titles right away, I did hand springs. Okay not really, but my heart did. I have adored these simple stories that are just right for the emergent readers since the silly Moosey Moose who pined for long pants to wear on his antlers. Don’t worry, kids get the joke.
Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop!, Tad Carpenter, Abrams Appleseed
Picture books about ninjas abound:
The Boy who cried Ninja, Alex Latimer, Peachtree Publishers
Wink the Ninja Who Wanted To Nap, J.C. Phillipps, Penguin/Viking Juvenile
The Three Ninja Pigs, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Dan Santat, Penguin/Putnam Juvenile
Nighttime Ninja, Ed Young, Barbara DaCosta, Hachette/Little, Brown
This one with its bold graphics and bouncy rhyme is a delightful romp.
A year a go I proclaimed my adoration of Andy Giffiths, author of The 13-Story Treehouse, illustrated by Terry Denton, (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends). It bears repeating, especially now that there’s a sequel, The 26-Story Treehouse :
Are you a little sick of the refrain, “Boys don’t read … boys stop reading … boys can read but don’t”?
My not-so-secret weapon is Andy Griffiths. Got a third grader who isn’t in to reading yet? Give him Griffiths and Denton’s The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow! and The Cat on the Mat is Flat. It can mean the difference between a kid becoming a life-long non-reader or a fluent confident reader who knows there are books out there to be enjoyed.
This new title is a not-so-tongue-in-cheek memoir of Andy and Terry who live in a 13-story-treehouse, with all the fantasy rooms a kid could dream up; a see-through-pool, a basement laboratory, a marshmallow shooting cannon, a shrink ray AND the ability to transform a cat into flying catnary (click on the cover to see treehouse in its full glory). Let’s not be sexist about the appeal of this volume. All genders of third graders will be fighting over it.