By Leslie Colin Tribble
I thought it might be interesting to investigate the new picture books at my library. This is a public library and our children's librarian keeps books labeled as new and on the "new" shelf for about six months. These books circulate a lot - I know because I used to shelve them!
Here's a roundup of a few fiction picture books that caught my eye:
First Snow, Peter McCarty (new at the library in January 2015)
I gravitate to any book with animals on the front and Peter McCarty's illustrations are so cute I just want to take all of the critters on the cover home with me. I love all his books - endearing illustrations and sparse but engaging text. In First Snow, cousin Pedro (from some far off southland) comes to visit. When it starts to snow Pedro isn't very happy because he doesn't think he likes cold. Pedro changes his mind though with the help of the neighborhood children.
Peter McCarty's lively text is magic. The 433 words are mostly dialogue and much of that word count is actually a listing of the some of the animal children's names. Out of that 433 words over 60 words are either a name or "said". Now the action is spelled out in less than 400 words making it quick and to the point.
The Skunk, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell (new April 2015)
Again, another animal on the front - this one a very determined but stealthy-looking skunk. I had to read this one to see what the skunk and the man would do. I loved the illustrations - the skunk's bright red nose is wonderful. This book has a much higher word count - 596 so take heart those of you who can't get their story under the magic 500. This is a great book to spark some discussion between parent and child about what the skunk's intentions might be, and why the man made the decision he did at the ending. Lots of fun with simple but very effective illustrations and use of color. The pictures reminds me of the old Danny and the Dinosaur books. Too fun!
Sidewalk Flowers, written by Jon Arno Lawson and illustrated by Sydney Smith (new March 2015)
This wordless book was a great read. A little girl gathers flowers as she walks along with her distracted father and she gives the flowers as gifts to various recipients. This book could also create dialog between adult and child about friendship, giving, the meaning of gifts and the discovery of unexpected beauty around us. The illustrations are full of detail with only splashes of color. A beautiful and quiet book to be appreciated on a slow and thoughtful type of day.
Small Bunny's Blue Blanket - Tatyana Feeney (new March 2015)
This is the classic story of a child and their, ultimately necessary for life, blanket. I read this to my young adult daughter who totally appreciated the relationship between Small Bunny and Blue Blanket. Tatyana Feeney's illustrations are very simple - bordering on exagerated line drawings - but the expressions she gives Small Bunny are priceless. I loved this book. It was a simple and fresh look at a age-old relationship.
This is Sadie, written by Sara O'Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstead (new May 2015)
Sadie has a big imagination and she spends her days living out whatever she thinks about. This book will appeal to children who also are small but have big imaginations like Sadie. In her they will find a kindred spirit. The illustrations are a perfect pairing with the text, which is only 354 words. My favorite page was second to the last, "Sadie likes to make boats of boxes and castles out of cushions. But more than anything she likes stories, because you can make them from nothing at all."
Isn't that what we as authors do?
What books are new at your library?