ten tremendous treats…new and amazing books for small-fry

The 2016 books are making their way into our libraries and bookshops. 

Here are ten new titles I found irresistible! I’ve blogged a lot of titles recently for slightly older picture-book readers. Today’s batch is perfect for the smallest of allest.

tree cover image teckentrup

Tree, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, text by Patricia Hegarty
published in 2015 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Vivid, arresting artwork by Britta Teckentrup walks us through the seasons surrounding one tree standing in the forest. Just. So. Beautiful!

tree illustration detail britta teckentrup

The juiciest part of this book, though, are the clever die-cuts revealing just who lives in that tree. First an owl peers out from his nest in the trunk. As the seasons roll on, more and more forest folk can be spotted through the little peep holes. An immensely-satisfying offering for children ages One and up.

emma and julia love ballet cover image

Emma and Julia Love Ballet, written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock
published in 2016 by Scholastic Press

Emma is a small girl who loves to get up early, eat her breakfast, and head to the dance studio for ballet class.

Julia is a grown-up girl with the same routine. She is a ballerina. 

emma and julia love ballet interior barbara mcclintock

In Barbara McClintock’s graceful, winsome artwork, we follow Emma and Julia through their parallel days, culminating in a performance by Julia which Emma attends. McClintock’s dozens and dozens of figures are astounding. It’s a lovely, insightful look into the world of ballet, sure to warm hearts and charm dancers, ages Two and up.

little one cover image

Little One, written and illustrated by Jo Weaver
published in 2016 by Peachtree Publishers

Shaggy, galumptious bears and darling prickly hedgehogs. Chill autumnal skies and dazzling, leaping salmon. This stunningly handsome book walks us through one year in the life of a mama bear and her cub.

little one interior jo weaver

I could go on and on about the beauty of every charcoal drawing on every oversized, luxurious page in this book. Quiet text narrates the changes of the seasons, but mostly we’re left in awe of the richness and vastness and glory of the wilderness lives of these bears. A sumptuous treat for ages 2 and up.

i hear a pickle cover image

I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!), written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
published in 2016 by Nancy Paulsen Books

Rachel Isadora’s supreme understanding of the child is on full display in this delightful catalogue of the senses. 

i hear a pickle interior rachel isadora

What kinds of things do you hear? A seagull. The ocean in a shell. Not a worm. And what can you smell? Stinky things. Sweet things. Comforting things. Cheery vignettes polka-dot the pages of this highly-engaging book where a beautiful array of multiracial children explore their world. This is a read it over-and-over-and-over again title, for ages One and up.

cat nap cover image

Cat Nap, written and illustrated by Toni Yuly
published in 2016 by Feiwel and Friends

Cat is….yawn……sleepy, and thinks a nap is a dandy idea.

Kitten has far too much pep and wants to play. With Cat.

cat nap illustration toni yuly

Such a funny, tender, and familiar quandary amongst littles and their elders. Giggle along as kitten confounds cat’s attempts to snooze until she herself is plum tuckered out. Toni Yuly’s bold, stylish graphics will grab the attention of even those Under One.

henry wants more cover image

Henry Wants More!, by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
published in 2016 by Random House

When Henry’s papa swings him high above his head, Papa tires out. But Henry wants more!

When Lucy plays pat-a-cake with Henry, she wearies of it after a time. But Henry wants more!

henry wants more interior ashman and hughes

The “do-it-again!” syndrome hits every member of Henry’s family as they creatively care for him. Henry’s delight always outlasts everyone else’s interest, until the very last moment of the day. Then it’s someone else who wants more. Who could it be? And what might she want? A loving, multiracial family shines in this immensely-relatable book. Hughes’ illustrations are charming and welcoming. Ages 2 and up. 

the night gardener cover image

The Night Gardener, written and illustrated by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Ooh la la! This magical, stunning book comes to us from two extraordinarily talented brothers. From the handsome end papers, right on through every page of this enchanting story, we are engulfed in their highly-imaginative, exquisite drawings.

The story takes place on Grimloch Lane, a lane which at the outset comprises a drab, nondescript set of shabby, seedy houses, and equally drab, plodding, unapproachable people.

the night gardener interior terry and eric fan

But! Then the night gardener arrives. He with his smart bowler hat and suit, his selection of pruning shears, his sturdy ladder. And the night gardener works his magic, shaping the Grimloch trees into exotic topiaries, one by one.

When the folks on the lane are touched by this piece of beauty, it becomes a bit contagious. Watch the community’s transformation in this spectacular book. Don’t miss this one, for ages 4 and up. I predict it will land on my Juicies Award list this year!

big friends cover image

Big Friends, by Linda Sarah, illustrated by Benji Davies
originally published 2014 in Great Britain; first U.S. edition 2016 by Henry Holt and Company

Birt and Etho are two friends. And you know what they say:  Two’s company…three’s a crowd. Well. These two Big Friends are great company for one another, playing brave, imaginative games out in the wild fresh air, and building keen forts from cast off boxes.

big friends illustration benji davies

But then a little fellow called Shu arrives on the scene.  Suddenly, it’s a crowd. And it’s Birt who’s left feeling a bit crowded out. How can things be right in the world again? Read this book — so squeezed full of heart. I adore Benji Davies’ striking, eminently-human, illustration work. A gem of kindness for ages 3 and up.

the brownstone cover image

The Brownstone, by Paula Scher, illustrations by Stan Mack
originally published in 1973; reprinted by Princeton Architectural Press in 2015

One brownstone. Three floors.  Six apartments. Six households with very different living patterns. Sleepy bears. Rackety kangaroos. Yowling cat. Snoozy owl. Timid mice. And a family of pigs who are very busy in the kitchen.

the brownstone interior scher and mack

How on earth can all these folks be arranged so they don’t drive one another crazy?! They try many options, bumbling their belongings up and down the tall, narrow stairwell time after time. I bet your kids will come up with the prime configuration long before this clan gets their act together. Ridiculousness and lots of forehead-slapping in this vintage charmer for ages 4 and up.

fabulous frogs cover image

Fabulous Frogs, by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Tim Hopgood
published in 2016 by Candlewick Press

Frogs can be ginormous or itsy-bitsy. They can leap or burrow. They can be tomato red or splotchy blue. They can lounge in the water or withstand drought. They can poison predators or leap huge distances to escape predators.


All around, they’re just a fabulous group of creatures. Martin Jenkins and Tim Hopgood introduce us to a few amazing frogs in a book packed with intriguing information, yet accessible to children ages 2 or 3 and up. Hopgood’s boingy-bright colors and creative page lay-outs eliminate the tiniest possibility of yawning! 

The best part of the whole book, though, is that they choose the plain old, garden variety, greeny-brown frog poised in a backyard pond for their favorite. Yay for keeping it real! Brilliant nonfiction, and just in time for those springtime nature walks.