Cakes in Space, by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntrye published in 2014 by Random House
A Poglite named Ploodle and ferocious frosted cupcakes! One slickery Nameless Horror and our champion of bravery, a little girl named Astra.
Take a ride on a spaceship headed 199 years out into the universe, that accidentally becomes infested with marauding cakes and overrun with Poglites intent on salvaging spoons, spoons, spoons! Philip Reeve writes smashing, zany sci-fi for kids, some of which I’ve reviewed before (see Larklight’s review here.) This one’s pitched for even younger readers. Its pages explode with energetic comic-style illustrations. A thoroughly engaging read-aloud for ages 6 or 7 and up; sturdy, independent readers ages 8-10.
Summery, ice-cream confection
Ice Cream Summer, written and illustrated by Peter Sís published in 2015 by Scholastic Press
Just to warn you: prepare to buy your kids ice cream cones after reading this book!
Every page is saturated with ice cream cone fantasies. Enjoy reading this clever letter to Grandpa, while learning fascinating tidbits of ice cream history. Dripping with deliciousness for ages 4 and up.
A creative wail of jazz
Bird & Diz, by Gary Golio, art by Ed Young published in 2015 by Candlewick Press
Four artists at work here: Charlie “Bird” Parker on his sax and Dizzy “Diz” Gillespie on his trumpet toss rhythmic notes “back and forth like jugglers.”
Gary Golio paints a picture of their collaboration with zesty words. Ed Young portrays sound through color and line. The whole fantastic story spills onto one, long, accordion-pleated, jazz-saturated page. A burst of creativity for ages 4 and up.
Encouragement for new brothers and sisters
The New Small Person, written and illustrated by Lauren Child published in the UK in 2014; first U.S. edition in 2015 by Candlewick Press
Elmore Green is about to discover the downside of having a new, small, person enter his household. Like, this little person actually licking his jelly-beans, including the orange ones, and not getting in trouble because he is “only small.”
Soon enough, though, Elmore finds the flip side of the coin. Turns out, that little person’s pretty great. Lauren Child’s contagious warm humor shines, for ages 3 and up.
Of NYC Subways and the Empire State Building
Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure, by Nadja Spiegelman, illustrated by Sergio Garcia Sánchez published in 2015 by TOON Graphics
Come along on a field-trip to the Empire State Building. The teacher promises we’ll learn about the NYC subway system along the way. Pablo and Alicia learn more than they bargain for when they take the wrong train. Will they ever catch up with their classmates?
An intriguing mix of information is presented in this stylish, graphic format. I was blown away with the approach to illustration Sánchez took. Brilliant. Extra pages of information are crammed with info. Ages 8 and up.
Just look into my eyes….
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France, by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno published in 2015 by Candlewick Press
Read this little gem and you will discover the origins of the word “mesmerized.” Fascinating!
The colorful, charged-up pages will sweep you into this glimpse of 1700s France, Ben Franklin’s scientific world, a tricky fellow named Dr. Mesmer, and a little something we call the placebo effect. The friendliest dose of science you’ll get all summer. Ages 7 and up.
Because what the world needs now is love, sweet love…
One Family, by George Shannon, illustrated by Blanca Gómez published in 2015 by Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux
Who makes up your family? Ours includes two parents, four children, and an uncle. Some households include grandparents. Some are a mixture of races and ethnicities.
All the diverse families in this book love one another. That’s the best kind of family. A cheery catalogue of families and a bit of counting to boot flood the pages of this sunny, warmhearted book for ages 2 and up.
Tour a bayou, but prepare for rain…
Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story, by Caroline Starr Rose, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey published in 2015 by Schwartz & Wade Books
Feel the beads of moisture cling to your face. Smell the salty tang of seawater. Watch mossy curtains silently sway in the breeze.
Then hunker down in a gale-force wind. Hear the thunderous surf. Spy egrets sheltering among cattails. This gorgeous, sensory visit to a Louisiana bayou in a hurricane grips us with strange beauty, powerful storms, and fascinating wildlife. Great for ages 3 and up. Appears on shelves July 14th.
History as seen by a tree…
As an Oak Tree Grows, written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas published in 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers
Watch a Native child plant an acorn on a hill overlooking an Atlantic bay. What world surrounds that tiny sprout? How does the world change around it as it grows?
Witness the passing of time, the immense changes in the countryside, and the growth of the mighty oak. What purposes does it fill over the course of its long life? Beautiful, meaningful, intriguing, for ages 4 and up.
What makes someone a true winner?
Number One Sam, written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli published in 2014 by Disney Hyperion
Sam the dog is number one. He’s a spunky, zippy driver that always comes in first place…until the unthinkable happens: his friend Maggie wins.
Sam is determined to beat Maggie in the next race, but something momentous happens, forcing Sam to choose between being one sort of winner, and another. Greg Pizzoli’s bold, winning illustrations rocket this simple story to a truly winning spot! Ages 2 and up.