We recently got a big order for two of our children's libraries so I'm going to share a few titles with you. There were so many to choose from I had a hard time narrowing the selections. I still haven't had time to read all the new picture books yet - oh, what a problem to have!
The Rabbit Listened - Cori Doerrfeld
This tender title will be just the right book to reach for when a little person in your life has something unpleasant happen to them. Taylor, our main character, worked hard to build something amazing but it got knocked down. Various animals come along trying to help Taylor deal with his feelings - the chicken wants to talk and cluck about it, the bear wants Taylor to growl and get angry, the elephant wants to remember and the kangaroo just wants to clean it all up, but Taylor just wants to be left alone. Finally the rabbit gently and quietly hops to Taylor's side to sit and wait. Taylor finally begins to open up and talk, and then he growls, and remembers and instead of cleaning up he decides to build something even more amazing.
The sparse text and sharp illustrations really help keep the book moving right along. The back cover states, "Sometimes hugs say more than words."
I'm a Duck - Eve Bunting and Will Hillenbrand
If you've been around the kid lit world awhile, you've likely read one of Eve Bunting's books. This prolific author (250 titles) has come out with a brand new book about a little duck and it's a keeper. As an egg, Baby Duck rolled into the pond and nearly didn't make it to the pages of his story. After hatching, Baby Duck was completely afraid to swim because something terrible might happen. Baby Duck's pond friends are encouraging so Baby Duck practices swimming in a puddle. Finally he confesses to Frog that he's really, really, really, really scared to swim. But with help and love, he overcomes his fear.
This is a great book for helping children work on conquering their own fears - like swimming. The rhyming text is smooth and the illustrations by Will Hillenbrand have us rooting for Baby Duck from the first page.
Vincent, a fluffy orange cat, lives on a cargo ship. His paws have never touched land. He overhears the crew talking about a magical place called "home," so when the ship docks in its home port, Vincent sets off to find it. After seeking and searching, Vincent finally realizes home isn't a place, "It's where the people who love you are." Vincent suddenly feels he doesn't have one of these magical places. But soon he realizes he's mistaken and he definitely does have a home.
There's just enough text to keep the reader engaged, and the illustrations are lovely with lots of nice details. This book could spark a discussion that home means different things to different people and not all homes look the same. A useful book for building empathy and beginning to understand diversity.
Bird Builds a Nest - Martin Jenkins and Richard Jones
This title is part of Candlewick's A First Science Storybook series. There is a little blurb in the front about how you can use the science concepts in this book, as well as some science related questions in the back.
The book follows Mother Bird as she builds her nest. The size and weight of the sticks is important because some sticks are so big and heavy Mother Bird can't carry them. But smaller sticks are just right and she can even carry more than one very small stick. Mother Bird carefully pushes and pulls the sticks to form the nest itself and then she gathers very light and fluffy items to line it.
The illustrations are colorful, but in subdued earthy tones to match the theme of the book. They are done in a collage-like manner so it would be easy to talk about the distinct parts of the illustrations such as the tree leaves or the bird's feathers. The science concepts include light/heavy, push/pull and even gravity.
Warbler Wave - April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre
I always save my favorite book for last and this is it. Being a 'bird nerd' I fell in love with this book. Warbler Wave is written in verse and teaches readers about bird migration. The text is lyrical and the photographs luscious. I love how the text draws the readers in makes them feel like a bird, using words like flit, preen, flap and drop. "They call in the night. Keep in touch while in flight. Surfing rivers of wind way up high . . . Calling zeep, zeep, zeep in the sky."
Even if your child doesn't particularly love birds, they will love this book. The photographs bring these tiny flying flowers up close and little ones will be drawn to their beauty. Warbler Wave would make a great introduction to the living world for all ages.
The other distinction Warbler Wave has is four full pages (two spreads) of very detailed backmatter. The backmatter is much, much longer than the text itself which adds so much to this book. The text pulls us in to the lives of these tiny migrants, but the backmatter answers many questions about the birds themselves and migration as a concept. This book would make a wonderful gift for a science teacher or anyone interested in birds.