Looking for something sheerly sunny? A book to shine some happiness right smack into your little circle of readers? Try these on for size:
Honk! Splat! Vroom!, written and illustrated by Barry Gott
published in 2018 by Carolrhoda Books
Five little mice let ‘er tear in their zippy, crayon-bright roadsters. Vroom!! The race has begun!
A plethora of obstacles turn vrooming into splatting, but in one surprise twist after another those same obstacles propel one or another into the lead. When Mortal Danger (in the form of a cat!) threatens to sabotage the drivers, teamwork hits its best stride.
Dynamic, funny, with thrills-a-minute for ages 18 months and up.
Floaty, written and illustrated by John Himmelman
published in 2018 by Henry Holt and Company
One fine day, curmudgeonly Mr. Raisin — who likes only to sit in his house, all alone, and sew — receives a surprise package. And what a surprising package it turns out to be! It’s a dog…that floats.
Yup, this pooch just cannot seem to get that gravity thing going. Woofles up to the ceiling, hovers above the lawn on his leash. It takes some tricky maneuvering to feed and water him, let me tell you. But gradually, Floaty worms his way into Mr. Raisin’s heart.
When Floaty’s leash snaps one day and he drifts up, up, and away, Mr. Raisin has to use some serious ingenuity to recapture him. A bit like a Pixar short, this bonkers story will win your hearts! Ages 2 and up.
Petra, written and illustrated by Marianna Coppo
originally published in Italy, 2016; English edition published in 2018 by Tundra Books
Petra is — as you can probably tell by her lovely portrait on the book’s cover — a rock.
This does not keep her, however, from having Grand Thoughts about herself. She does not identify as a mere rock. No, Petra conceives of herself as a magnificent mountain. Immovable. Enduring. Mighty.
Petra’s perspective on herself is all we readers can see at the outset in Coppo’s genius illustrations. There is nothing in the picture save Petra herself, nothing to compare her to. Until a stick comes sailing into view. And a dog’s great head, dwarfing Petra, helping us see her actual size as said dog trots off with Petra in his mouth! Oh, the degradation!
You just can’t keep Petra down, though. Find out how she reassesses her situation and continues to define herself with aplomb, no matter her circumstances, in this brilliant, imaginative, masterpiece. Ages 3 and up.
Sleep Tight, Charlie, written by Michaël Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
first published in France; English edition by Princeton Architectural Press in 2017
Charlie is a race-around rabbit, bustling with importance all the live-long day. No wonder, then, that he employs a strict, winding-down routine to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
However, Charlie’s noisy neighbors, one after the next, keep disturbing his peace and quiet. With ever-increasing annoyance, Charlie awakens and stomps out to give those neighbors a piece of his mind!
After several peevish confrontations, Charlie is so frazzled, his bedtime ritual goes all out of whack! Such a funny story, with Di Giacomo’s hilarious expressions on Charlie’s vexed face and an extra silly twist at the end. Kids and their grownups will both love this. Ages 3 and up.
Nanny Paws, written and illustrated by Wendy Wahman
published in 2018 by Two Lions
You’ve heard of Nana, the doting St Bernard who watches over the Darling children in Peter Pan? Nanny Paws is her diminutive descendent, valiantly taking charge of a household where two twins live, Ally and Mae.
Watch Nanny Paws’ busy morning routine of waking, face-washing, and table-clearing. This busy poodle rises to her best, though, when the twins come down with tummy aches. This demands extra care and nursing, and Nanny Paws is quite up to the job!
Kids who love their own devoted dogs will especially relish, giggle over, and praise Nanny Paws for her cheering-up, feel-better-soon efforts! Ages 3 and up.