ten to tickle your fancy

Looking for a glimmer of gladness? A morsel of merriment?

For lighthearted story times, a sunny flutter, a giggle to turn a bad day around, reach for one of these gems:

stick cover image

Stick, written and illustrated by Irene Dickson
published in 2018 by Nosy Crow

The sunshine beams right off that cover, doesn’t it?

stick interior Irene Dickson

And the title says it all.  There are so many grand uses for a humble stick.  Traipse along with this boy and his dog in the grand out-of-doors as they explore and play on a free-and-easy, delightful, day.  Simply bursting with the juicy, playful lifestyle I love, for ages 2 and up.

boats on the bay cover image

Boats on the Bay, written by Jeanne Walker Harvey, illustrated by Grady McFerrin
published in 2018 by Cameron Kids

This vivid catalogue of boats is sure to capture the fancy of skippers and landlubbers alike with its brief, enticing text and robust illustrations.

boats on the bay interior by Harvey and McFerrin

Each page turn reveals a new sort of boat, a lyrical, one-line description, and a punchy, handsome mixed media illustration.  Brilliant and absorbing for ages 2 and up.

look cover image

Look, written and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock
published in 2018 by Greenwillow Books, Harper Collins

Here we have a thoroughly original, jolly choice that entertains as it teaches new young readers the double-o dipthong!

look interior by Fiona Woodcock

Dozens of colorful, clever pictures and snazzy typography showcase words containing the oo sound. Almost all of them use the long oo, with just a couple of examples that rhyme with “look.” Graphic design genius and loads of fun for ages 5 and up.

the bunny band cover image

Bunny Band, written by Bill Richardson, illustrated by Roxanna Bikadoroff
published in 2018 by Groundwood Books

Pure, magical charm shimmies through the pages of this endearing tale, set in the forest where sturdy Miss Lavinia, a badger, has patiently, lovingly planted her vegetable garden…only to have it laid waste by a bunny thief.  Grrrr.

bunny band interior2 Richardson and Bikadoroff

Saving that little fella from the stew pot is the enchanting bunny band, who come with their parade-ful of instruments to make music under the silvery moon, bewitching those vegetables into a most pleasingly, giant size!

bunny band interior Richardson and Bikadoroff

Friendly, fanciful delight for ages 3 and up.

my dog laughs cover image

My Dog Laughs, written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora
published in 2018 by Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin

Small balls of fluff and big droolers, cuddlers and tail waggers — come meet the dogs belonging to a gaggle of kids. There are good and not so good dogs, stinky and sweet, obedient and still-in-training, but all of them are loved and offer love in return.

my dog laughs interior Rachel Isadora

Isadora’s charming, sunny spot art portrays dozens of tiny episodes in the lives of children and their dogs.

my dog laughs interior2 Rachel Isadora

Candy for any dog-lover, ages 2 and up.

douglas you're a genius cover image

Douglas, You’re a Genius!, written and illustrated by Ged Adamson
published in 2018 by Schwartz & Wade Books

Nancy and her best pal, Douglas — the dog —  are jolted from their game of back yard cricket one day when the ball, which they accidentally whacked through a hole in the fence, is returned! By an unknown, mysterious someone! Who can it be?

douglas you're a genius illustration Ged Adamson

Efforts at communicating through the hole deepen the mystery. These folks apparently speak an unknown language! Nancy’s sequence of plans to soar above the fence and catch a glimpse of The Other Side are hilarious, requiring feats of bravery by Douglas.

douglas you're a genius illustration detail Ged Adamson

I won’t spoil the happy ending. Imaginative, funny, neighborly, with a sprinkling of Spanish, for ages 4 and up.

the mystery of the missing cake cover image

The Mystery of the Missing Cake, written and illustrated by Claudia Boldt
published in 2017 by Tate Publishing

Harold is not your average fox.  He loves solving mysteries and eating cheese. Today however, he’s got to move a bit outside his comfort zone and go to a fancy-dress birthday party.

mystery of the missing cake interior Claudia Boldt

Things are going swimmingly at the party when suddenly, in the pitch blackness of a game of monster tag — AAHHHHHH!!!!! — the cake has gone missing!

mystery of the missing cake interior2 Claudia Boldt

Good thing Harold is there to get to the bottom of things! Riotous fun for ages 4 and up.

the dragon and the nibblesome knight cover image


The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight, written by Elli Woollard, illustrated by Benji Davies
first published in 2016 in the UK; first American edition 2018 by Godwin Books, Henry Holt

The Dragons of Dread love nothing more for elevensies than a smackeral of  knobble-kneed knights! Thus, little dragon Dram, age four and old enough now to fend for himself, is bid by his parents to “go bite a nibblesome knight” of his own.

dragon and the nibblesome knight interior Woolard and Davies

When Dram crash lands in the duck pond he is discovered by young James, a knight in training, who has shed his armor for a lounge in the sun.  After a long period of recuperation for Dram with plenty of tender loving care by James, the two of them are flabbergasted to discover that they’re meant to be mortal enemies!

dragon and the nibblesome knight interior2 by Woolard and Davies

A flamboyant, jovial tale of friendship, flame-breathing dragons, and loads of frosted cupcakes, for ages 4 and up.

the little barbarian cover image

The Little Barbarian, a wordless book by Renato Moriconi
originally published in Brazil; first U.S. edition in 2018 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

From it’s tall, skinny trim size, to its imaginative, curious story and bombastic monsters, this clever, award-winning story coming out of Brazil surprises its readers.

the little barbarian illustration2 by Renato Moriconi

An athletic Visigoth-esque fellow, dressed in olive drab and wielding sword and shield, leaps upon his steed and surges into a series of encounters with fell beasts of all sorts! Set against copious white space, we see him emerge unscathed from tangles of seething pastel snakes, toothy man-eating plants, a swarm of harpies, and one shuddersome monster after another.

the little barbarian illustration by Renato Moriconi

So why, once the foes are vanquished, is our hero so dejected? An incredibly clever twist at the book’s end will have you turning back to the beginning and reliving the adventure with fresh eyes. Sparkling, imaginative, storytelling for ages 4 and up.

time for bed miyuki cover image

Time for Bed, Miyuki, written by Roxane Marie Galliez, illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh
first published in France, 2017; English edition in 2018 by Princeton Architectural Press

Finally, a gorgeous fantasy for bedtime, suffused with lovely Japanese patterns and flavors. Every image in the book is precise, elegant, captivating.

time for bed miyuki interior by Galliez and Ratanavanh

Miyuki and her grandfather are Thumbelina-sized persons, at home in a ravishing garden. It’s time for bed, and as do children of average size, Miyuki has a list of urgent matters that need attention before she’s ready to cooperate.

time for bed miyuki illustration by Seng Soun Ratanavanh

Some items on her to-do list are ever so extraordinary — constructing a canopy for the visit of the Dragonfly Queen, herding up the Snail family — while some are universal — a gentle bath and bedtime story.  All are richly fanciful in this hushed, wonder-filled realm. Nourish sweet dreams with this one, for ages 5 and up.