ten plum picks for this week

Again today, I’ve got ten marvelous books, my favorites from what I read this week. Loads of goodness here…

A treasure of a treasury from my all-time favorite:

a year of stories and things to do cover image

A Year of Stories and Things to Do, written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
published in Great Britain in 2014 by The Bodley Head

Shirley Hughes is a treasure, pure and simple. Her books are golden favorites in our family.

This collection exudes all that we love about Shirley in one hefty, beautiful volume.

from Alfie Wins a Prize

from Alfie Wins a Prize

A selection of her stories correlate with the seasons. Alfie’s Feet, with all his sploshing about, comes in April; Alfie Goes Camping lands in August. There are a few stories I’ve not seen before starring Jonadab and Bobbo, which were a special treat. Several poems are also included.

a year of stories and things to do by shirley hughes inteior

Each month begins with a little chat from Shirley, and ends with two pages of her creative suggestions for seasonal outdoor activities, games, crafts, recipes — old-fashioned, non-electronic, juicy stuff for children ages 3 and up.

Almost 300 gorgeous pages. A lovely gift for a lucky someone!

Jazzy toddler fare from Byron Barton:

my bike cover image

My Bike, written and illustrated by Byron Barton
published in 2015 by Greenwillow Books

Byron Barton is a genius author/illustrator for the animal-cracker crowd, and here is his newest title.

my bike illustration byron barton

Stoplight-bright colors, bold designs, and a clever journey on a bike with a jolly surprise ending.

Perfection for little squirts, 18 months and up.

Just in time for Father’s Day:

audrey's tree house cover image

Audrey’s Tree House, by Jenny Hughes, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
published in Australia in 2014; first published in the U.S. in 2015 by Scholastic Press

Plucky young Audrey thinks she’s outgrown the family home so she’s on the look-out for a new place to accommodate her very grown-up self. A tree house should do the trick.

audrey's tree house jenny hughes and jonathan bentley

Good-natured Dad builds quite the elaborate place, all according to Audrey’s specifications, curling banisters, suspended bathtub and all. But after everything is in place, doubts begin to niggle their way in.

A warmhearted, tender tale for daughters and dads, ages 4 and up.

Generations of family love:

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Mama Seeton’s Whistle, by Jerry Spinelli, art by LeUyen Pham
published in 2015 by Little, Brown and Company

I had an uncle whose come-to-dinner whistle could be heard all across the neighborhoods of their small Minnesota mining town, summoning my cousins from games of baseball and kick-the-can.

mama seeton's whistle illustration leuyen pham

Jerry Spinelli had a neighbor with the same talent, the basis for this delightful story. Watch Mama Seeton’s children grow up, venture into the world, have children of their own, but never forget their mama’s keen whistle.

LeUyen Pham’s charming illustrations blanket this story in warmth. Outstanding collaboration, for ages 5 and up.

A book about…Underwear?!?!

vegetables in underwear cover image

Vegetables in Underwear, written and illustrated by Jared Chapman
published in 2015 by Abrams Appleseed

If there’s one thing guaranteed to be scandalously funny to preschoolers…it’s underwear.

For those graduating to undies, it’s also quite a source of pride and excitement! That’s the crowd who will giggle and grin over this small catalog of underwear. Modeled by…vegetables.

vegetables in underwear illustration jared chapman

Because if underwear is not funny enough on its own…just let a potato or a turnip try some on and see how hysterical that is!

Crazy, Kool-aid bright, ridiculousness. But not for babies. Because babies don’t wear underwear! (Sorry, Babies.) Snicker over this one with your newly-out-of-diapers child.

Vintage charm for doll-lovers:

a doll for marie cover image

A Doll for Marie, by Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
originally published in 1957; republished by Alfred A. Knopf in 2015

This vintage charmer for little girls and their dolls has been reprinted this year.

In an antique shop in Paris, a beautiful doll languishes. She longs to be owned by a little girl who will take her to tea parties and read to her. And Marie longs to be that little girl, but she is too poor to buy her.

a doll for marie illustration roger duvoisin

These two are eventually united, but the pathway is full of alarming twists! Duvoisin’s beloved illustrations bring 1950s Paris to life. And — there’s a miniature edition of this book tucked inside, just right for reading to your doll! Pure sugar and spice for little girls ages 4 and older.

Toddler cheeriness from the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt guy!:

the bus is for us cover image

The Bus is For Us!, by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Gillian Tyler
first U.S. edition 2015 by Candlewick Press

 Here is another blast of catchy cheer from UK writer/poet Michael Rosen.

These children have lots of ideas about ways to get from here to there. Some are ordinary; some extraordinary.

the bus is for us michael rosen and gillian tyler

But the best? The best is the bus, because the bus is for us! Sing out together about the delights of riding a double-decker bus crammed with friends. Gillian Tyler’s lovely artwork shines here. Brilliant for ages 18 months and up.

So clever and tricksy!

wild about shapes cover image

Wild About Shapes, created by Jérémie Fischer
published in 2014 by Flying Eye Books

Watch this…

wild about shapes interior2 jeremie fischer

…transform to this,

wild about shapes interior jeremie fischer

with the flip of a colored, acetate page. It’s like magic! Can you guess what animal will emerge before you flip the page? The riddles will give you a clue.

Mesmerizing fun for ages 3 and up.

Sugary and delicious American history:

gingerbread for liberty cover image

Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution, by Mara Rockliff, pictures by Vincent X. Kirsch
published in 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

I’ve read a fair bit about the American Revolution, but I’ve never heard this story about Christopher Ludwick.

And his bountiful bakery.

And his tantalizing gingerbread.

gingerbread for liberty illustration vincent x. kirsch

And how he helped the Yankees win the war.

Read this exceptional, upbeat account to get ready for Independence Day. Comes with a recipe for gingerbread so you can make some mouthwatering confections of your own! Ideal for ages 5 and older.