let the sun shine in…five to gladden your hearts

now cover image

Now, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis
published in 2017, a Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

One young girl lists her favorite things: Her favorite breeze. Favorite bird. Favorite tree. Favorite tooth.

now interior by Antoinette Portis

There’s one common denominator for all these favorites — they’re the ones she’s feeling, hearing, climbing, losing…NOW.

Brilliant in its concept, simplicity, graphic elegance, and warmth. Excellent choice for ages 18 months and up.

windows cover image

Windows, written by Julia Denos, illustrated by E. B. Goodale
published in 2017 by Candlewick Press

You know when a great idea exists, it flutters around in several minds at once? I’m astonished at the remarkable similarity between two wonderful 2017 picture books. One I’ve posted about earlier. In fact, it won an Orange Marmalade Juicy for Quiet Books. That’s Akiko Miyakoshi’s The Way Home in the Night.

Here is another lovely rendition of the same idea: One child taking an evening stroll through his neighborhood, noting the patches of light from his neighbors’ windows, the community of people living their splendidly-ordinary lives all around him, and then returning…home.

windows interior by Denos and Goodale

Exquisite in its reflective, unhurried, simplicity, and aglow with the warmth of community. Goodale’s illustrations are immensely appealing, quaint and contemporary simultaneously, peaceful, neighborly, and secure. A delight for ages 2 and up.

three little monkeys cover image

Three Little Monkeys, written by Quentin Blake, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
published in 2016 by Harper

Hilda Snibbs seems like such a nice lady. With her exotic hats, lovely knitting, and homemade tomato soup. If only she had a nice cat to keep her company.

three little monkeys illustration by Emma Chichester Clark

But Hilda has monkeys. Three of them. Tim, Sam, and Lulu. And you know all about monkeys. They are so exceedingly naughty! Wall to wall shenanigans here with these three wreaking havoc top to bottom and dear Hilda nearly coming to her wits end. What will become of them all? A riotous story for all little mischief-makers, ages 2 and up.

buster and the baby cover image

Buster and the Baby, written by Amy Hest, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
published in 2017 by Candlewick

Buster is a little white dog whose home has been invaded by…The Baby!!

These two play hide and seek all day long. Buster hides, his heart beating thump thump thump. Perhaps that squealing, chasing imp won’t find him this time? But CHAAA!!!

buster and the baby interior by Hest and Dunbar

She comes! Wildness and joy erupt! Until the end of the day, when the two of them snuggle up in one soft bed and their hearts quietly thump thump thump together. Delightfully playful and dear for ages 18 months and up.

alfie and dad cover image

Alfie and Dad, written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
published in 2017 by The Bodley Head

Alfie’s dad has been a steady but often background character all these years. Of course he did go camping with Alfie, and does manage the leaking pipes when it begins to rain indoors. Such a good guy. But often Mum has been a bit more central.

alfie and dad illustration by Shirley Hughes

In this lovely new collection of stories Dad gets a much more prominent role, checking for Flying Loobies under the bed, searching for Flumbo in the Lost Property Office, and dealing with a stray cat. His steady, unflappable manner is just the ticket for the minor bumps and crises that roil Alfie’s small world. If you’ve never met Alfie, you’re missing some of the most endearing stories, filled with lovely, ordinary days in the life of a 5-year-old. Ages 3 and up.