ten to while away the dog days

be fascinated by a bee

bee dance cover image

Bee Dance, written and illustrated by Rick Chrustowski
published in 2015 by Henry Holt and Company

Minnesota author/illustrator alert!

Rick Chrustowski’s bold, colorful cut paper collage will magnetize young children to these pages, while his energetic text draws them into the world of the hive.

bee dance interior rick chrustowski

Discover how bees dance messages to one another, telling them just where to find a honey jackpot. Flabbergasting stuff, for ages 2 and up.

in honor of the Great Minnesota Get-Together — the State Fair!

billy and goat at the state fair cover image

Billy and Goat at the State Fair, written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
published in 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf

There’s nothing like the State Fair! Billy and his rambunctious best friend Goat are certainly keen to go.

billy and goat at the state fair interior dan yaccarino

Billy plans to enter his goat in the Best Goat Contest, while Goat is siren-drawn to wild adventures. Ride the roller coaster, munch corn dogs, and find out if this pair ever makes it to the livestock arena. Jolly antics for ages 2 and up.

a cute collection of stories for independent readers

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Sprout Street Neighbors: Five Stories, written and illustrated by Anna Alter
published in 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf

Henry Mouse, Wilbur Cat, Violet Hen, Emma Squirrel, and Fernando Rabbit are friendly neighbors, living in an apartment building on Sprout Street.

sprout street neighbors illustration anna alter

Join them in five sweet tales that take us through a year of acorn dilemmas, birthday parties, Daffodil Parades, secret gardens, and tenderhearted solutions to pesky problems. 100 illustrated pages, for sturdy readers ready for a chapter book or to read aloud to ages 4 and up.

a good old-fashioned road trip

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Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites by Kellen Hatanaka
published in 2015 by Groundwood Books

Coming to us from Canada — take a stylish road trip in this loaded-down station wagon and spy high and low things, above and below things, by gazing out your window.

drive a look at roadside opposites interior kellen hatanaka

Hatanaka’s stunning graphic design will please young and old. Simply gorgeous, for ages 18 months and up.

a charming year of poetry

changes a child's first poetry collection cover image

Changes: A Child’s First Poetry Collection, poems by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke
published in 2015 by Sourcebooks

Charlotte Zolotow is one of the grand dames of children’s literature who died at age 98, in 2013. Here is a dear collection of 28 of her poems, arranged by season.

Changes by Charlotte Zolotow and Tiphanie Beeke

Almost entirely devoted to the experiences of young children in the natural world, these short, sparkling gems are accompanied by Beeke’s lovely, sunny illustrations. Beautiful, timeless, captivating, for ages 2 and up.

hold on to your doughnuts!

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Jampires, written and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre and David O’Connell
published in the UK in 2014; first U.S. edition 2015 by Scholastic, Inc.

Sam has encountered an abysmally shocking situation: the jam filling in his doughnut has been sucked out by…Something!

Turns out it’s a case of Jampires!

jampires interior sarah mcintyre and david o'connell

Jampires, if you don’t know, are relentlessly in search of jammy goodness! Sam voyages to The Land of the Jampires — a confectionary fairyland — and forges a delectable alliance! Unwrap a pack of Jammie Dodgers and dig into this toothsome delight with ages 3 and up.

a cautionary tale about pets

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Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets, written and illustrated by Charlotte Voake
published in the UK in 2014; first U.S. edition 2015 by Candlewick Press

Melissa has an Octopus…who makes quite a sloshy mess in the bathtub.

And Arthur’s warthog is quite boorish about pushing his weight around.

melissa's octopus and other unsuitable pets interior charlotte voake

But one pet is clearly the most unsuitable of them all! What can it be?!

Charming and funny…with a gulping shock at the end! Beware: children are consumed in this story! If your child, age 4 and older, is up for that sort of humor, this morsel will tickle her fancy. By the wonderful Charlotte Voake.

trouble with a night owl duck

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Goodnight Already! by Jory John, illustrated by Benji Davies
published in 2015 by Harper

Bear is exhausted. He can hardly wait to snuggle down in his bed and sleep.

Duck is bright eyed and caffeinated. He’s ready to hang out with his good buddy, Bear.

goodnight already interior jory john and benji davies

These two are on a collision course. How will it end? For any bedraggled parent of everready-energy-bunny children, this humorous tale will ring true. Benji Davies’ brilliant illustrations pack in oodles of personality. A big winner for ages 3 and up.

how to win friends and influence people

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One Word from Sophia, by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
published in 2015 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

I picked this up because of my adoration for Yasmeen Ismail’s illustration work. Love, love, love her!

one word from sophia interior jim averbeck and yasmeen ismail

It’s the clever and unusual account of young Sophia whose One True Desire is a pet giraffe. Her mom, dad, uncle and grand-mama need serious convincing, however, giving Sophia quite a task — navigating each person’s unique sense of logic and discovering the best approach ever. A splendid and original book for ages 4 or 5 and up.

introducing a pioneering painter of birds — and it’s not Audubon

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The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist, by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Aliona Bereghici
published in 2015 by Two Lions

Louis Agassiz Fuertes was born in New York in 1874 and went on to pioneer the painting of living birds in natural habitats rather than kill, taxidermy, and stylize them for their portraits.

sky painter interior margarita engle and aliona bereghici

This lyrical, brief biography of him sings with beauty, while the watercolor illustrations saturate the pages with vivid color. An enormously appealing window on birds, art, and a wonderful man. Share this with children ages 3 and up. An informative Historical Note will fill in some blanks for older readers.