It’s full-on May. Green swathes the earth, tulips paint gardens, socks and shoes lie discarded. Time for some fresh, glad picture books for hammock and lemonade time. Every one of these is guaranteed to be a juicy pleasure for thirsty, curious minds.
Everybunny Dance!, written and illustrated by Ellie Sandall originally published in Great Britain; published in the U.S. in 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, and imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
How merrily they dance, play, and sing! UNTIL!! Egads! It’s a fox! Everybunny run!
When these worried-yet-sensitive bunnies see a tear trickle down that fox’s long nose, however, they respond with the sweetest bunnywarmth of all. There is so much gladness and good will in this book, you’ll feel your heart expand a couple of sizes. A gem for ages 18 months and up.
Under the Umbrella, written by Catherine Buquet, illustrated by Marion Arbona, translated by Erin Woods originally published in French; English edition published in 2017 by Pajama Press
A sodden day brings out the grumpies for one curmudgeonly fellow, striding down the avenue under his black umbrella, scowling, dashing, spluttering…
Meanwhile, a lemon-yellow bakery window shining out upon the grey day attracts a little boy like a moth to lamplight, those mouthwatering mousses and razzledazzzle tarts beaming sunshine into his soul.
What happens when a gust of wind whooshes these two people together? A smile. A kind gesture. A spilling over of sweetness. This dynamic book will gladden you, not to mention precipitating a trip to the local patisserie! Striking illustration work emotes the changing moods of this story with tremendous pizzazz. A joy for ages 2 and up.
Round, by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo published in 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Roundness. Such a simple concept, carried out brilliantly by Minnesota poet Joyce Sidman, illustrated with tender warmth by the talented Taeeun Yoo.
This ambling exploration of round things gently unfolds in Sidman’s pristine text. Words reflecting the incisive wonder of a child are pared down to those quiet, perfect few that resonate within the reader, stimulate more wonder.
Yoo’s print-like illustrations are impeccable, gracing every page with physical and emotional beauty that stops us in our tracks.
I adore this book — timeless, thoughtful, curious, warmhearted. Perfect for sharing with ages 18 months and up.
Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip, written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc originally published in French, 2016; English language edition 2017 by Kids Can Press
Mr. Postmouse stole my heart with his first round of deliveries, reviewed here.
Now he’s off for a whirlwind, ’round-the-world vacation with his family. Ever responsible, Mr. Postmouse brings along a cartful of parcels to deliver along the way.
Whether on a volcanic isle or at a desert oasis, the Postmouse family enjoys meeting new friends. What a jolly treat to visit these places with them! Best of all are the peeks into many, tiny, clever homes and shops along the way. Home in a cactus or a tiny yellow submarine. Home on a cloud or in a dragon’s lair. Darling wee furnishings and details make this a treasure to pour over with ages 2 and up.
Arthur and the Golden Rope, written and illustrated by Joe Todd Stanton published in 2016 by Flying Eye Books
Welcome to a fabulous Norse tale about young Arthur of Iceland, a lad destined for epic quests from his earliest days.
When the brutish wolf, Fenrir, blots out the town’s great cauldron of fire, plunging them into icy darkness forever, it’s Arthur who’s chosen to venture off to Valhalla, track down Thor, and urge him to use his thunderbolt to rekindle their flame.
But oh! this is much easier said than done! Incredibly appealing panels of illustrations carry us into a legendary Nordic world as Stanton spins this wildly adventurous tale. This appears to be the only title available in the Brownstone’s Mythical Collection. I’m definitely hoping for more. Fantastic storytelling for ages 5 and up.
This House, Once, written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman published in 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
The door in this house once was part of “a colossal oak tree about three hugs around and as high as the blue.”
Now there’s an intriguing thought. What about the foundation stones? The red bricks in the walls? Or these glass window panes?
What were all the things that make up this house, before they turned into our house?
Quietly thought-provoking, this dreamy book will spark ideas and questions and wonder about not only houses, but all manner of objects we take for granted. What were they once? How are they made? Who made them?
An immensely clever, ethereal prod towards wondering, for ages 4 and up.
Bob the Railway Dog: The True Story of an Adventurous Dog, written by Corinne Fenton, illustrated by Andrew McLean published in 2015 in Australia; first U.S. edition 2016 by Candlewick Press
If you’re a dog lover, you’ll warm to this engaging story about a homeless dog adopted by a railway guard back in 1884 Australia.
It took no time at all for this shaggy dog named Bob to attach himself to Mr. Ferry, to learn how to hop aboard the caboose and ride the rails, to switch trains at will in order to see a sizable stretch of the Australian countryside.
Bob was welcomed everywhere, and you’ll welcome him into your hearts, too, as you steam along from Adelaide to Kalangadoo! Sweet story, handsomely illustrated with gentle watercolor illustrations that bring the era and the land to life. Ages 4 and up.
Tony, written by Ed Galing, illustrated by Erin Stead published in 2017; a Neal Porter Book from Roaring Brook Press
If I handed you this book and you didn’t know it was new, you would likely guess it was a vintage picture book from, say, the 1940s. A velvet soft, yesteryear quietness breathes out from every ounce of it.
The poem which comprises the text was written by Ed Galing just prior to his death in 2013. It’s a reminiscing poem about a sweet-tempered white horse, Tony, who pulls the milk wagon for driver Tom on their early morning rounds. Straightforward, free of soppiness, rich with adoration for this beloved horse, Galing’s poem narrates the routine, cherished interactions between Tony, Tom, and a customer.
Erin Stead’s dove-soft pencil drawings sweep us into a sweet relationship with these three. Her palette of grey-green whispers, while patches of lamplight cast a welcoming glow in the cool dawn shadows. Every element is just so quiet.
I love quiet books, in a world too often dominated by loud, frenetic offerings for children. Soak in the beauty, the stillness, the human pace of Tony. A treat for ages 2 to 100.