We just received a number of excellent new picture books for March, and I'm so happy to tell you about them:
No, this isn't a "retelling" of the song; rather, it's a global look at the act of making a cookie. "One hand in the cookie jar takes a cookie out/How many hands put the cookie in is what the world's about." We meet the people (of all ages and ethnicities) involved in making the cookies available for our enjoyment, from the people that make the dough, to the farmers that churn the butter, the workers who harvest sugarcane, the truckers that load and drive trucks, to the store clerks that stock the shelves (and many more in between). Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar? would be a great addition to a baking/cooking storytime or a community workers story time. It also includes a recipe for sugar cookies!
I'm very happy that Angela Johnson is apparently creating a series around Lottie Paris, the star of her 2011 picture book, Lottie Paris Lives Here. Lottie and her Papa Pete (grandfather, I'm guessing) are once again on an adventure, and it's to Lottie Paris's favorite place--the library! Not only does Lottie Paris find some cool books on outer space, but she also meets a new friend. Through Lottie Paris and her new friend, we are reminded of a few library rules, but more importantly, we are reminded of the fun and new things that can be discovered at the library. This is adorable; the multicultural and opposite sex friendship is presented as a matter-of-fact without any preaching or eye-rolling "teachable moments." I love it!
Perhaps it's only because I'm reading easy reader books with an eye toward predicting the 2014 Geisel Medal, but I'm noticing some fine easy reader books this year. Children's literature fans are well-acquainted with Emily Arnold McCully's talents (did you know that she illustrated How to Eat Fried Worms?), so they will no doubt welcome this sweet new easy reader. Sam wants to join the older bears' fun so badly, but he's not exactly welcome because of his age. Little do they know that Sam will end up saving the day! Sam and the Big Kids is perfect for children ready to read 2-3 sentences per page.
I adored Backseat A-B-See, so I was quite impatient to get my hands on Flight 1-2-3. I was not disappointed; this is a very cool counting book set at an airport. We count the luggage carts, check-in desks, security officers (we see the family piling their belongings in the bins, and it looks like dad is being wanded by TSA!), travelers waiting in line for the restrooms, and much more. As you can tell, this is a contemporary look at air travel, and a great addition to our airport/air travel books.
It's always a good day when a new David Ezra Stein picture book is released; Because Amelia Smiled was one of the charmers of the 2012 publication year. Only the most ardent squirrel hater will fail to be amused by Ol' Mama Squirrel. Ol' Mama Squirrel has raised many squirrel babies, so her explosive "chook chook chook" warning to anyone who dares to encroach upon her family has only gotten better and more indignant with each passing year. It's usually enough to chase away any bothersome animal--until a grizzly bear appears. Looks like Ol' Mama Squirrel has met her match, but she's not one to cower easily. I'm sure many children's librarians and preschool/kindergarten teachers will add this to their fall/squirrels story time, but I'm not sure how many will be able to wait until the fall to share it! (I'm planning to use it for my Mother's Day story time.)
Pete the Cat and the Everything Goes picture books series are top favorites, so I'm super happy that their authors are expanding their series into easy reader series. The Everything Goes books by Brian Biggs are must reads for transportation-obsessed youngsters; the first Everything Goes easy reader features a young boy exploring his neighborhood on his bike. Suitable for children able to read 3 sentences per page, Everything Goes: Henry on Wheels is an appealing (and multicultural!) beginning reader book. Definitely one to keep an eye on for the Geisel. (Biggs is also coming out with two new Everything Goes books in the fall: one about sea travel, as I predicted, and another about Santa--it might be a board book, but I can't tell. Eric Litwin is coming out with a new Pete the Cat in the fall as well; something about magic sunglasses. Can't wait!)
The reviews for Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? are unsurprisingly stellar, given the duo responsible for its creation. Eve Bunting and Sergio Ruzzier's Tweak Tweak is a dream of a picture book; while Tweak Tweak is irresistible in its adorableness, Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? is a knockout for its fantastic rhyme scheme (stories-in-rhyme can often fail with their awkward rhymes) and its absent-minded Duck frantically searching for his new blue socks. Anyone who knows the frustration of forgetting where a wanted item was placed (I can relate all too well to this) will get a kick out of this, especially at the revelation of the socks' location.
I've added two books for my Geisel shortlist and three for my Caldecott shortlist (look for them on the right hand side of this blog); 2013 is already a great publishing year!