Ten Top Books of the Week

It’s full-on summer. Time once again for me to change-up my blogging for a few months so I can soak up all this green-ness and daylight…and enjoy time with a couple of my children home from college.

Summertime by Mary Cassatt

Summertime by Mary Cassatt

This summer I’m planning to share my absolute top, favorite, cream of the crop picks from the stacks of books I look at each week.  No themed lists. Just whatever I find astonishingly good.

I could write an entire post on every one of this week’s picture books. I loved them all. I think you will, too!

Especially for big and little sisters:

tell me what to dream about cover image2

Tell Me What to Dream About, written and illustrated by Giselle Potter
published in 2015 by Schwartz & Wade Books

An exceptionally-imaginative older sister tries to come up with ideas for her little sister to dream about so she can go to sleep.

tell me what to dream about illustration giselle potter

This big sister has Seriously Awesome Ideas for dreamland, such as the “furry world” pictured above, yet has a dickens of a time coming up with something that suits her younger sibling. Gloriously imaginative and colorful! Ages 3 and up.

Humor for dog-lovers:

the bear ate your sandwich cover image

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
published in 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf

A clever dog offers an extraordinarily convoluted tale to explain the disappearance of his little girl’s sandwich.

the bear ate your sandwich illustration julia sarconne-roach

It’s all down to a bear, you see, who was lured from his den by the smell of some ripe strawberries…and off we go. Funny, with a most charming bear and dog. Ages 3 and up. 

Exquisite and Wordless for Children and Their Grown-ups:

sidewalk flowers cover image

Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by JonArno Lawson and illustrated by Sydney Smith
published in 2015 by Groundwood Books

This gorgeous, wordless book follows a little girl and her father as they walk through the city to their home.sidewalk flowers interior jonarno lawson and sydney smith

As she trots along, she sees snippets of beauty scattered through the concrete landscape which all the adults around her overlook, and she sweetly, generously shares that beauty with a variety of others. Incredible book. Hopefully it will garner some awards. Ages 6 and up.

Stylish Diversity to Ponder:

the world in a second cover image

The World in a Second, by Isabel Minhós Martins, illustrated by Bernardo P. Carvalho, translated by Lyn Miller-Lachman
originally published in Portugal in 2008; first American edition published in 2015 by Enchanted Lion Books

Jaw-dropping gorgeous design/illustration in this fascinating book about all the things that might be happening at the same second all over the world.

the world in a second illustration bernardo p carvalhoIncludes a world map showing all the places referenced. Fantastic and thought-provoking. Ages 5 and up.

Sweet Scandinavian Delight for Wee Ones:

where is pim cover image

Where is Pim? by Lena and Olof Landström, translated by Julia Marshall
originally published in Sweden in 2013; first American edition published in 2015 by Gecko Press

This is the darling sequel to Pim and Pom which I reviewed here. Pim is the little pink bunny. He is Pom’s special lovey. And egads! He goes missing!

where is pim interior lena and olof landstrom

Simple and dear for the very youngest — 18 months and older.

Poignant, Thought-Provoking, with Family Love at the Core:

yard sale cover image

Yard Sale, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
published in 2015 by Candlewick Press

If you’ve held a yard sale, you know how tough it can be for kids to part with their stuff, no matter how much dust has gathered on it since they last realized it existed.

For the child in this story, Callie, it’s a different matter. Her family has to drastically downsize due to money troubles, and nearly everything familiar is being sold.

yard sale interior eve bunting and lauren castillo

That’s a heavy premise for a picture book, and this one’s got some raw emotions in it. Still, there’s a warm recognition of family sticking together come what may. Plus, Lauren Castillo’s illustrations are as heartwarming and lovely as always, providing the needed embrace of comfort.

If I were reading this with a child, I would definitely help them distinguish between the average yard sale which is sheerly a decluttering of excess stuff, and a situation as heart-heavy as this one. Ages 5 and up.

A Dream of a Tale for Introverts:

pool cover image

Pool, a wordless book by JiHyeon Lee
originally published in South Korea in 2013; first published in the U.S. in 2015 by Chronicle Books

This soft-as-a whisper story tenderly and imaginatively leads us through a chance meeting of two quiet children.

Pool illustration JiHyeon LeeThey’re at a public swimming pool, nearly overwhelmed by the brash, noisy, rambunctious crowds of kids, when with a dive and a swish, these two strangers meet and explore an imaginative, watery world together. Elegant and meaningful, especially for the quieter ones in this raucous world. Ages 5 and up.

Eccentric and Delightful:

crabtree cover image

Crabtree, by Jon & Tucker Nichols
published in 2013 by McSweeney’s McMullens

Alfred Crabtree has lost his false teeth.  Uh-oh. He’s searching through all his belongings to find them, and it’s quite a task.

crabtree illustration jon and tucker nicholsMarvelously absurd. Drily humorous. It’s a total lark to comb through these groupings of Crabtree’s possessions, from his Hat & Helmet collection to his Small Yapping Dogs collection. It’s all here, laid out and labeled. Ages 7 and up.

Subversive Humor Guaranteed to Make Kids Smile:

meet the dullards cover image

Meet the Dullards, by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
published in 2015 by Balzer & Bray

Mr. & Mrs Dullard run an exceedingly gray, bland ship, which is just how they think things should be. Books, outdoor play, even chunky applesauce, are all verboten.

the dullards illustration daniel salmieriLaugh together at the boring-est parents ever, and watch the Dullard children conspire to grab some excitement. Over-the-top silliness for ages 5 and up.

Do Try This At Home:

the secret life of squirrels cover image

The Secret Life of Squirrels, written and photographed by Nancy Rose
published in 2014 by Megan Tingley Books/Little, Brown and Company

The photographs in this book are not photoshopped!

the secret life of squirrels photo by nancy roseThey’re taken by Canadian photographer Nancy Rose, who builds tiny sets for these fuzzy fellows, adds some peanuts to lure them in, and then stands at the ready to snap the charming, unbelievable photos. These will tickle the fancy of you and your kids and maybe beckon you into some wildlife photography. Q&A with Nancy is included. Ages 4 and up.