This is a really strong batch of books.
Heroes of the Surf
When I am asked for picture books for kindergarten and lower elementary school children, Heroes of the Surf will be at the top of my recommendations. Narrated by a young survivor of a shipwreck, this combines high drama and expert storytelling with memorable illustrations. Not only that--it's based on a true story and tells the early history of what eventually became the United States Coast Guard.
Dini Dinosaur is so stinking cute. Dini Dinosaur is all set for his bath...well, not really. He doesn't seem to understand that you need to take your shoes, etc off when you get in the bathtub. Stories in rhyme can turn awkward in inexperienced hands, but this is Karen Beaumont who we're talking about. Sure to produce tons of giggles and requests for repeat read alouds.
Step Gently Out
After I read the second page, I flipped to the author and illustrator biographies in the back. Helen Frost lives in Indiana and Rick Lieder lives in Michigan. WOOO HOOO. Ladies and gents, this means that this is Caldecott eligible. (Only open to US residents.) The photography is breathtaking. Oh, my goodness. The entire graphic design is exemplary, as can be expected by a Candlewick publication. Helen Frost's paen to the smaller aspects of nature is divine. Plus--backmatter includes information on the insects and spiders featured in the poem. Awesome. This is beautiful!
Boy + Bot
From time to time, I grab a stack of picture books from the new shelf for my lunch time reading. If I'm not chatting with a colleague, I can go through about 10 picture books and select a handful for review. I've been waiting for this one to return to the new books shelf, but I really haven't seen it since we received it several months ago. The cover is undeniably a selling point for both children and parents. The story of a friendship between a boy and his robot is a funny and sweet read aloud. You'll get a big kick out of this one.
Whoa, Baby, Whoa!
Love, love, love, love, love. This is a big charmer. Baby is obviously getting the hang of being mobile, which means that he tends to get into things (or try to get into things) that he shouldn't. Naturally, baby is exasperated by all this, "Whoa, baby, whoa" nonsense. One day, he decides to try something new, which ends with the family cheering, "Go, baby, go!" Baby is a member of a biracial family (dad is white, mom is black, and grandparents from each family are featured), but that's not the focus of the story (it's only apparent in the illustrations). It's just the story of a baby exploring his new-found independence.
All right! I've checked off the picture books I wanted to read that were published Jan-April. Now to work on May-June, and I will be ready for the Fall 2012 picture books. (Wish I could say the same for children's/YA novels!)