five for mid-winter cheer

Does your story hour need a little mid-winter boost? A good story doth warm the heart, you know! These five oughta perk up everyone’s spirits:


Sometimes Rain, written by Meg Fleming, illustrated by Diana Sudyka
published in 2018 by Beach Lane Books

Wow, this book is so gorgeous. I adore its celebration of year-round outdoor play.


Circle through the seasons with Sudyka’s captivating artwork.  Icy winter purples give way to the muddy grays of thawing-out weather. Spreading spring greens morph into hazy summer blues, then the toasty persimmons and crimsons of autumn, and around the corner again to frosty winter.


No matter the weather, these kids are out playing in it, thrilling to nature’s offerings. Meg Fleming’s poetic, spare text romances us with all the wonders of outdoor discovery. This is a gem, folks, for ages 4 and up.


Is That You, Eleanor Sue? written and illustrated by Tricia Tusa
published in 2018, A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

Eleanor Sue loves to play dress-up on Saturdays. And oh me oh my, this child knows how to get into character!


After every costume change, she clambers out her bedroom window, runs around to ring the front door bell, and launches into a chatty improv with her ever-patient mother. Finally, though, clever mama beats her at her own game!


Warmhearted, imaginative, showcasing such a dear relationship between a good-natured mama and her inventive little gal, this is a gem from a master storyteller for ages 4 and up.


Found., a wordless book by Jeff Newman and Larry Day
published in 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The scene opens on a rainy night. One small girl stares out of her upstairs window; down below, one forlorn pup slogs through miserable puddles. The next thing we know, that girl has dashed out, scooped pup up, and hustled him into her house.


A great deal is revealed as we enter this little girl’s room. There’s a poster on her wall advertising a missing border collie, and a photo on her night stand of that same dog. Clearly the pup she’s found is not the beloved dog she’s lost.


Image by image we watch the relationship between these two develop, watch found and lost tango together in an emotive story streaked with plenty of bittersweet, yet finding a hopeful resolution. Do be sure to read all the way through to the end pages to catch the final scene!  I love the pure line drawings and washes of these illustrations. Endearing and real, for ages 5 and up.


I Do Not Like Books Anymore! written and illustrated by Daisy Hirst
published in 2018 by Candlewick Press

Big sister Natalie and little bro Alphonse love-love-love their stories. Thus, Natalie is super jazzed to learn how to read so she can “have all the stories in the world, whenever I want them,” and Alphonse is psyched to have a sister who can read to him.


However. This reading thing does not come so smoothly to Natalie. The letters wobble. The stories are stupendously dull. I mean, does a cat on a mat even count as a story?! Natalie decides to skip the whole reading business and just invent wild tales with Alphonse.


And what a deliciously odd story they tell! Which they decide to illustrate, and dictate to dear scribe Dad, and which Natalie can proudly read quite nicely, thank you very much.


Bravo to Daisy Hirst for keeping it real in her story bursting with careening emotion, creativity, love, color, and joy, in addition to showcasing a superb way to help reluctant readers come into their own. Love this, for ages 4 and up.

moon river cover image

Moon River, words by Johnny Mercer, pictures by Tim Hopgood
published in 2018 by Henry Holt and Company

Here’s the latest entry in Tim Hopgood’s delightful series of illustrated songs, and ahhhhh! who can resist Moon River?! Nostalgic, heartbreaking, loveliness, just right for singing your little drifters off to bed.

moon river2 tim hopgood

In Hopgood’s tender, dreamy interpretation, we’re in a skiff, floating on a river of moonlight through fantastical cloudscapes, dropping in on iconic landmarks around the world, fishing for stars in a rainbow pool.

moon river tim hopgood

Words and pictures alike are flooded with possibility and a glad anticipation of all good things. Plus you’ll have the tune running in your head for hours afterwards! Ages 2 and up.