five for sunshine and friendship…and giveaway winners!

First up: our give-away winners from last week,
and may I say, I really enjoyed and benefited from all the comments
telling us about some of your sustainable solutions.
Thank you for such a great conversation!

Charity Peterson is the winner of the pop-ups!
Meghan Martinez is the winner of the lift-the-flaps!
Please e-mail me at
with a shipping address and I’ll get those off to you!

Now: Here’s a little hint for the blues:
picture book sunshine can beam its way into your gloomy heart or your kids’ cranky moods and put the day on a better track.
Snuggling together with books worked its magic on me and my young family many and many a time.

Today, I’ve got five books full of blues-busting delights:

olive & pekoe cover

Olive & Pekoe in Four Short Walks, written by Jacky Davis, illustrated by Giselle Potter
published in 2019 by Greenwillow Books, Harper Collins

You don’t have to be a dog-lover to fall in love with bouncy, young Pekoe and old, waddly Olive, two pals with vastly differing stores of energy, but shared opinions about Certain Subjects such as snacks and comfort.

olive & pekoe Davis and Potter

In four tiny accounts, Olive and Pekoe reveal their delightful doggy personalities and warm the cockles of our hearts. If you have ever owned an old dog, you will especially adore Olive!

olive & pekoe2 Davis and Potter

“Pekoe adores playing with sticks. He likes bugs and rocks, too. Olive prefers resting in the mud and grass.”


I always love Giselle Potter’s naive, affectionate, illustration work and she is brilliant here as well, capturing these two and their varying moods with sweet love. Ages 3 and up.

otto and pio cover

Otto and Pio, written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
first published in Canada in 2017; English edition 2019 by Princeton Architectural Press

Here are two more fast friends, and the names of these first two books are remarkably similar, aren’t they?!

otto and pio Marianne Dubuc

The stories are quite different however, with this one taking on a fantastical note. Otto is a squirrel who has a darling, snug home in an enormous old tree. One day he finds a peculiar, knobby, lime green ball on his doorstep.  Before long, a strange creature hatches out and claims Otto as its mommy!

otto and pio2 Marianne Dubuc

This creature, named Pio, has quite the alarming rate of growth and Otto is increasingly frantic in his search for its real mother, until — Pio turns into a Heroic Rescuer one fine day! Imaginative, fresh, engaging storytelling with Dubuc’s tender, cheery artwork. Ages 3 and up.

how to two cover

How to Two, written and illustrated by David Soman
published in 2019 by Dial Books for Young Readers

David Soman has transformed counting into a riot of welcoming friendship in this happy, playful book.

how to two David Soman

What can one child do for fun? Slide down the slide — wheee! How about two kids? A teeter-totter will do the trick. One by one, a diverse group of children join the group on the playground, each time finding the perfect game to play with their increasing number.

how to two2 David Soman

Bursting with fresh air, imaginative play, and friendliness, I love that each size of group — even just one — enjoys such hearty, non-electronic fun. There are other creatures to count on the pages as well. It’s a joy for ages 2 and up.

my island cover

My Island, written by Stéphanie Demasse-Pottier, illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh
first published in France in 2018; English edition 2019 by Princeton Architectural Press

I first ran across Seng Soun Ratanavanh’s ravishing illustration work in Time for Bed, Miyuki. Here she is again illustrating a deliciously fanciful tale in pristine line, fetching pattern, and such a gorgeous color palette.

my island2 by Demasse-Pottier and Ratanavanh

Sometimes my friends come to visit. We have lunch on plastic dishes.

One little girl narrates this account which is a leisurely description of her imaginative home on “an island that has no name,” complete with charming animal companions and whimsical picnic lunches.

my island Demasse-Pottier and Ratanavanh

I have a house too. Inside, there are flowers, colorful plates, a hanging coffeemaker, strange bric-a-brac.

Enter into the vision of this child, her absorption in this wondrous world of pretend, and feel your own dream-machine sparkle! Ages 3 and up.

the adventures of egg box dragon cover

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon, written by Richard Adams, illustrated by Alex T. Smith
published in Great Britain in 2017; U.S. edition 2019 by Hachette Children’s

Finally, a jolly tale published posthumously by the celebrated author of Watership Down, Richard Adams.

the adventures of egg box dragon Adams and Smith

His body was painted green, blue and grey and his eyes were made of shiny bicycle reflectors. His wings were black bin liners and his claws were made out of thick wire.

It’s the story of a small, mischievous green dragon fashioned out of a cardboard egg carton who happens to be an ace detective, positively brilliant at finding lost articles. So much so, that the Queen herself sends for the Egg Box Dragon to help recover her biggest and brightest diamond which has gone missing!

the adventures of egg box dragon2 by Adams and Smith

Illustrated with exuberant panache, it’s whale of a good time for ages 4 and up.