Kids New Title Radar, Week of 5/13

Next week continues the picture book palooza we’ve experienced this apring, so we’re devoting most of this column to a few of the notables, and just one of the dozens of YA titles that will also arrive.

Our downloadable spreadsheet lists the titles mentioned here as well as dozens more, Kids New Title Radar, Week of May 13. Also listed are the tie-ins to two animated summer blockbusters, Monster’s University (Disney/Pixar, June 21) and Despicable Me 2 (July 3).

Picture Books

Cowpoke Clyde

Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, Lori Mortensen, illus. Michael Allen Austin, (HMH/Clarion)

This cumulative tale larded with old West vernacular is a soon-to be story time favorite. I agree with the Kirkus assessment, “Pitch-perfect rhyming text bounces along with peppy phrases telling the tale of a cowboy who likes to keep things clean and tidy. Clyde tries tactic after tactic to catch his dog for a scrub down, each new method adding another layer of mayhem to the scene, with a lassoed hog, wet chickens and a kicking mule adding to the hilarious hijinks.”

Little Owl's Night Out   Octopus Alone

Octopus Alone, Divya Srinivasan, (Penguin/Viking Childrens)

Srinivasan struck gold with her stunning debut Little Owl’s Night (2011) mines similar early childhood territory with a lovely quiet story about the joys of companionship and solitude.


Water in the ParkWater in the Park, Emily Jenkinss, Stephanie Graegin, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)

Emily Jenkin has quietly created a shelf of read alouds, each one a jewel and an  essential purchase. That New Animal was a completely new take on how kids feel about the arrival of a younger sibling. I was blown away by Five Creatures, a very clever exercise in critical thinking skills with a subtle nod to the Venn diagram. Last year’s Lemonade in Winter was a gift to teachers who wants to incorporate math into their literature program. And now, proving once again that she can not be pigeon holed, Water in the Park  is a fresh reflection of the everyday lives of children in a neighborhood park. Jenkin’s rhythmic language ensures that this new classic will be read aloud again and again.

Toys in SpaceToys in SpaceMini Grey, (RH/Knopf)

Mini Grey’s Traction Man series is my go-to for preschoolers who are obsessed by superheroes. In this new book, Grey puts her own unique comic spin on this familiar storybook theme of talking toys that have their own  secret life.


The Might LaloucheThe Mighty Lalouche, Mathew Olshan, illus. Sophie Blackall, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)

“One hundred and a few-odd years ago, in Paris, France, there lived a humble postman named Lalouche.

He was small, Lalouche, and rather bony, but his hands were nimble, his legs were fast, and his arms were strong”

And so begins this story of an underdog who became a champion.

Blackall’s paintings of the characters, boxers with nom de plumes like “Bleriot” (lighter than air, unafraid of heights) and “The Pointillist” (pinpoint accuracy, confuses the colorblind) support Olshan’s humor and wit. The illustrations are painted on paper then cutout, layered in dioramas and photographed to create a fantastical world.

Young Adult

FirecrackerFirecracker, David Iserson, (Penguin/Razorbill)

Highly recommended by librarians on YA GalleyChat, this debut by screenwriter Iserson (Fox’s New Girl, NBC’s Up All Night and SNL) features an entitled rich girl forced to face real life after being expelled from private school, it called “Quirky, fun.” Kirkus notes that part of the quirkiness is and occasional “surfeit of swearing.”

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