March Kids Book To Love


Among the new offerings for young readers are some enchanting picture books as well as new reasons to fall in love with sloths and poetry.

Picture Books

Jasper & Joop

Jasper & Joop (Gossie & Friends series), by Olivier Dunrea; picture book, also a board book edition, (HMH)

When Gossie first appeared on the scene, I wept for joy. Dunrea has a way of paring down language to the essentials and cueing the reader with his now classic avian creatures on a stark white background.

Grown ups will recall Felix and Oscar, the original odd couple, as we get to know the tidy Jasper and not-so-tidy Joop. A delight.


Toot   Tickle
Toot and Tickle, by Leslie Patricelli, Candlewick

I adore Leslie Patricelli’s board books. Babies love to look at babies and hers are having a lovely time. Silly age appropriate fun.

The Scraps BookThe Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, Lois Ehlert (S&S/Beach Lane Books)

Full disclosure: To me, Lois Ehlert is the unsung hero of picture books. Her careful collages and straightforward language, her sharp eye for design and subtle humor often gets lost among the piles of picture books produced every year. Her range is astounding from the marching, dancing graphic letters of her timeless read aloud classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to the pitch perfect poetic language of her informational book about metamorphosis Waiting for Wings, we are used to being astounded by her art. With this new book, count me astounded again.

The Scraps Book holds all the joy of an archival collection (like the one where I work, the Kerlan); being able to look at  manuscript pages and sketches to see how the artist is thinking and creating , but with the major advantage that you don’t have to get on a plane to experience it, it’s all in her book.

Reasons every library must have multiple copies of this book.

  1. The hard to fill reference question from the beginning-to-read and beginning-to-write 1st or 2nd grader, “I need an autobiography.“ For this reading level, they are few and far between. Give this book
  2. Ehlert lets us in on  her creative process. We witness the scraps and pieces of leaves, berries, and photocopies and watercolor paper arrange on the page to become birds and cats, a leafman and snowman, fish floating and a squirrel leaping. We see the growth of an artist and her process.
  3. Intertextual connections. We see how a book, a story, a picture is made and we can go to that book and have many an ah-ha moment.
  4. Anyone, adult or child would be inspired by this book to create their own art and tell their own story.

The Geisel Award, please.

Middle Grade

Princess Labelmaker

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue: An Origami Yoda Book, Tom Angleberger (Abrams; Recorded Books)

Obviously, you don’t need me to tell you about this series (in fact, this book just hit the USA Today best seller list), but I can’t pass it by. All the books offer a core truth about life in Middle Quarry Middle School as the Origami Yoda Gang fight the menace of standardized tests.



Swing, Sloth!   Sparky!

National Geographic Readers: Swing Sloth!, Susan B. Neuman, (National Geographic Children’s Books)

Sparky!, Jenny Offill, illus. by Chris Appelhans, (RH/Schwartz & Wade)

A Little Book of Sloth

Is it me or are we being buried under sloth books? A quick check gives us 42 children’s books featuring sloths over the last year (you may recall my favorite from last year, Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke, S&S/McElderry Books).

These two contenders arriving this week do not disappoint on the official sloth-o-meter. Cute, sweetly faced sleeping mammal? Check. Sly almost silly humor? Check. Child reader appeal? You have to ask? Did you know that there is an International Sloth Day? Start planning your programming now.


Firefly July

Firefly July and Other Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko, illus. by Melissa Sweet (Candlewick)

Just in time for Poetry Month, these are the perfect pocket poems. What, you never heard of Poem in Your Pocket Day? This is the day when people throughout the United States select a poem, carry it with them. Poems from pockets are unfolded throughout the day during events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Save the date: Thursday, April 24.

From Kirkus: “Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons…Scintillating!”

I agree.

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