warm and witty stories…a list of five

what a cold needs cover image

What a Cold Needs, written by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Chris Sheban
published in 2019, Neal Porter Books, Holiday House

Whether or not a round of late winter/early spring colds have hit your household, you’ll feel better in a minute after a dose of this comforting book.

what a cold needs Bottner and Sheban

Caring for a cold properly requires a lot of Tender Loving Care. Bottner walks us through a number of restorative options, from a bird chirping outside your window to Dad’s goofy jokes, and a sympathetic someone to say, “Poor you!”

what a cold needs2 Bottner and Sheban

Sheban’s soft graphite line and warm-as-toast palette drench every page in homey, snuggly, affection while we wait for that miserable little red nose to find relief. A sweet and relatable story for ages 3 and up.

harold snipperpot's best disaster ever cover

Harold Snipperpot’s Best Disaster Ever, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna
published in 2019 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

When I see Beatrice Alemagna’s name on a book, I scoop it up, no questions asked. Brilliantly, quirky storytelling and gobsmacking illustration work, every time.

harold snipperpot Alemagna

Here’s another winner, and you can guess that just by the tantalizing title and careening artwork on the cover, right?! Harold Snipperpot is about to turn 7 and his greatest wish is for his first real birthday party. Because, unfortunately for poor Harold, he’s got a set of grumpy parents who dislike basically everything joyful in life — parties, laughter, goodnight kisses.


Enter Mr. Ponzio, a neighborhood problem solver with buckets of razzle-dazzle up his sleeve. The party he plans for Harold is beyond your wildest imagination. It’s a spectacle, a disaster, and an unbelievable success, all rolled into one. An uproarious story, flamboyantly illustrated, with an immensely happy ending, for ages 4 and up!

fear the bunny cover image

Fear the Bunny, written by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by Priscilla Burris
published in 2019, A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Not many books make me laugh out loud, but here’s one that did!

fear the bunny Morris and Burris

Tiger overhears a story circle where Hedgehog is reading a poem: Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright, in the forest of the night… Tiger cannot help but interrupt. Uh, excuse me. That is NOT how it goes. The poem is about a tiger, not — teehee — a bunny! Obviously! There is nothing scary about a bunny.

fear the bunny2 Morris and Burris

But no, the gathered animals all reiterate, it is bunnies that they fear. This greatly amuses the tiger, and he proceeds to drip scorn all over their worries…until he suddenly figures out what these forest friends are talking about! Hilarious! Priscilla Burris’s interpretation, her cocky tiger and darling, nervous animals shine merriment on every page. Added bonus: William Blake’s famous poem is included on the back endpapers. Ages 3 and up.

bearnard's book cover image

Bearnard’s Book, written by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Misa Saburi
published in 2019 by Henry Holt and Company

Bearnard the Bear has received an astonishing invitation  — to be in a book! It’s his dream come true! Bearnard decides to study up to prepare for his role, so he looks over  other bear books to find out what kinds of things he might need to do, in his story.

Bearnard's Book3 Underwood and Saburi.jpg

This vaults Bearnard into anxiety. Because these famous book-bears did some perilous things!

bearnard's book2 Underwood and Saburi

Nods to our favorite bears — Winnie-the-Pooh, Paddington, and Baby Bear — add immensely to the charm of Bearnard’s conundrum which works out just dandy in the end. Oodles of pluck and fun for ages 4 and up.

the secret cat cover image

The Secret Cat, written and illustrated by Katarina Strömgård
originally published in Sweden, English translation 2019 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Finally, this magical story of one little gal who wishes with all her might for her own pet. Mom, however, has a hundred reasons why the only option is…a fish.

the secret cat Stromgard

But one night, a magical cat named Silvring purrs its way through the wallpaper. The girl and her new filmy, dreamy pet have an enchanting nighttime adventure where they come across many other pet-walkers, some ordinary, others secretive as Silvring.

the secret cat2 Stromgard

Strömgård’s fabulous illustration work combines mythical, bluish scenes with a realistic, everyday, diverse populace. A story sparkling with imagination for ages 4 and up.