I love to keep on top of the new children’s books that are published every year. My library hold list is usually filled with books that are still “on order”. For the past few years I’ve shared our favorite picture books of the year in a series of lists every few months. I’m a little behind this year, but, hey, anytime is a good time to share the best kid books of the year, right?
As I’ve said before, my favorites lists are not always the books the critics liked best (although there is always cross-over). They are the books my kids enjoy and ask for repeatedly. That’s a success in my book (cheesy pun).
Click here to see our MASTER INDEX OF BOOK LISTS, with lists of books for all ages and interests.
I hope you get a chance to check some of these titles out next time you go to the library! (Note: as always, title and book covers are affiliate links.)
Froodle is the absolute winner of the year (so far). The first time we read this story my 5 year old could not stop laughing! He wanted the book again and again. I think he liked it so much because he can identify with the desire to be silly and different from everyone else. All the birds in the neighborhood have their own sounds, they are well regulated and everyone knows his role. Then one day the Little Brown Bird decides not to make his regular peeping sound. One by one the birds discover the glory of trying something new, even — at last — the stubborn crow.
The Most Magnificent Thing. Ashley Spires’s charming story would fit right in on my list of books to inspire little inventors. I’m hoping it gives New Kid a few ideas about tinkering, because other than our simple pulley I haven’t been all that successful in inspiring his inventive curiosity lately. With the help of her assistant dog, a “regular girl” decides she is going to invent a most MAGNIFICENT thing. She has a lot of false starts. Nothing seems to be turning out the way she wants and it’s so frustrating for her! However, she takes a walk, comes back and looks at her inventions afresh, and finally figures things out. I adore the “lesson” in the book, that success comes only after “failure” (something we learned recently in science camp). You know: trial and error. The book is not at all preachy and Spires’s illustrations are a delight.
Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons. With our new found love of poetry, the boys and I have been enjoying this book of haiku about the seasons. There is a bit of whimsy in both the pictures and poems that is quite appealing. Murth’s signature illustrative style is just as dreamy and wonderful as in his other books.
The Mermaid and the Shoe is another tale I could add to our list of mermaid books. Little Minnow is one of King Neptune’s 50 daughters, but she is the only one who has yet to learn her talent. One day she finds a shoe and sets out to discover its purpose. Her journey introduces her to things she has never seen, and when she returns home to tell her story her father explains that her talent and purpose is to ask questions, explore and tell her stories. My 5 year old loved this book and I like the idea that while her sisters excel at activities the mermaid’s talent is using her mind to answer questions!
Have You Seen My Dragon? What could be more glorious to a NYC kid than the idea that a dragon is on the loose? But unlike some books set in NYC, kids outside will love this one. Intensely detailed drawings take readers on a journey all over the metropolis with a boy looking for his dragon. Kids will love spotting the dragon experiencing the delights of the city as they count from one to twenty. Finally, in Chinatown, the boy locates his friend.
Matilda’s Cat. Anytime Emily Gravett publishes a new book, it’s a good bet you will see it on one of our book lists. She is one of my “must read” children’s book author/illustrators. A girl dressed up in a cat costume tries to find the perfect activity to do with her cat. The text is sparse and kids will enjoy the playfulness of the irony between text and illustration. Each illustration begins “Matilda’s Cat likes…” and then we see Matilda enjoying the activity while her cat looks on, skeptical. Then at the end we discover what the cat actually likes. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling.
The Bear’s Sea Escape is the sequel to the French picture book, The Bear’s Song. Chronicle Books sent us a copy of this gorgeous, oversized book and my youngest son immediately took to it. Seek and find books are always a bit hit. Papa Bear and Little Bear are off in search of a place to sleep during the winter. They travel over rooftops and into a department story but when Little Bear heads off with a boy Papa Bear’s hunt to find him takes him through the city, train stations, ships, the sea and to a tropical island where it might just be warm enough to finally get to sleep. My son loved searching through the elaborate illustrations to find the bears.
What about you, do you search out the newest children’s picture books?