Staff Favorites: Picture Books

Benny's BrigadeBenny’s Brigade
By Arthur Bradford
Ages 5-105

When Sisters Theo and Elsie find a wiggly nut outside, the pry it open and are met with the gratitude of a miniature walrus who is quite pleased they had saved him. Wacky and wonderful, this McSweeny’s children’s book is sure to please quirky children and adults alike. ERYCA

 

 

A Beginner's Guide to Bear SpottingA Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting
By Michelle Robinson
Ages 3-7

This hilarious outdoor adventure follows a young hiker on his perilous journey through bear country! Check out this bear-y silly title today! CHELSIE

 

 

Cat NapCat Nap
By Toni Yuly
Ages 0-4

Cat wants to sleep but kitten wants to play. With cat. How can cat cope?! ALLISON

 

 

How to Dress a DragonHow to Dress a Dragon
By Thelma Lynne Godin
Ages 3-5

How exactly does one dress a dragon? Take a hilarious journey with caps, capes, undies and dragons! ALLISON

 

 

Robo-SauceRobo-sauce
By Adam Rubin
Ages 4-8

A fascinating book about what happens when you drink robo-sauce. Also, the book is a robot! KEVIN

 

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea PigBeatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig
By Deborah Hopkinson
Ages 5-10

This story of Beatrix Potter’s (of Peter Rabbit fame) childhood is a delightful cautionary tale about the tragic fate of a beloved, borrowed pet. CHELSIE

 

 

Last Stop on Market StreetLast Stop on Market Street
By Matt De La Pena
Ages 5-8

A young boy spending the day with his grandmother questions what and why he doesn’t have what others enjoy. His nana with her positive spirit shows him the brighter side of his reality. A joyous book! BREIN

 

 

The Princess and the Pony
The Princess and the Pony
By Kate Beaton
Ages 3-8

The Princess and the Pony is the most hilarious picture book ever! A warrior princess wants a horse to ride into battle, her parents oblige, but the pony she gets is not exactly warrior material. What ensues is a delightful tale! ERYCA

 

 

Rufus the Writer
Rufus the Writer
By Chuck Groenick
Ages 4-7

Wonderfully creative, Rufus sets up a story stand the way another child might set up a lemonade stand, creating personal stories for the stand’s visitors! Rufus will delight all those who join him! ALLISON

 

 

The Skunk
The Skunk
By Mac Barnett
Ages 4-7

Who is this skunk and why is it following me? Nonsensical, surreal and delightfully illustrated! MARCELA

 

 

Ketzel the Cat Who Composed
Ketzel the Cat Who Composed
By Lesléa Newman
Ages 4-8

Ketzel the Cat Who Composed is a lovely story about two composers–Moshe Cotel and a cat named Ketzel. When Moshe is unable to compose a piece for a contest Ketzel offers her help and the two compose a piece which is met with great critical acclaim! LINDA

 

 

Grandma in Blue With Red Hat
Grandma in Blue with Red Hat
By Scott Menchin
Ages 5-8

For the aspiring artist, writer or musician. Every artist needs a muse, a focus of inspiration and for one young boy it’s his beautiful, unique and interesting grandmother! BREIN

 

 

Thank You and Good NightThank You and Good Night
By Patrick McDonnell
Ages 2-5

Thank You and Good Night is a tale of a celebratory pajama party and a terrific new going to bed book. Friendship and first sleepovers were never so much fun and this book begs for multiple readings. BREIN

 

 

Imaginary Fred
Imaginary Fred
By Eoin Colfer
Ages 3-7

Imaginary Fred is an imaginative and beautiful ode to childhood friends, both real and imaginary. Eoin Colfer’s story and Oliver Jeffers’s artwork merge to create a new classic. BREIN

 

 

Marvelous CorneliusMarvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans
By Phil Bildner
Ages 5-8

The spirit of a city and an amazing sanitation worker are captured in this lyrically told, strikingly illustrated, picture book. Cornelius spread joy as he sashayed and danced while doing his job collecting garbage on the streets of New Orleans. Then devastating Hurricane Katrina stuck, and as despondent as he was, he rallied and started with the massive clean-up, for “his spirit and will were waterproof”. SHARON

 

Houndsley & Catina and the Quiet TimeHoundsley and Catina and The Quiet Time
Written by James Howe, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Ages 5 & up

We may not get much snow in Los Angeles, but The Quiet Time captures the peaceful feeling that comes with the silence of winter. On the morning of the big concert, Houndsley and Catina find themselves snowed in, the house an island adrift in a sea of white. Easygoing Houndsley is delighted, finicky Catina less so. James Howe’s sparse, yet delightful prose works wonderfully with Marie-Louise Gay’s dreamlike illustrations to create a charming story about the beauty and serenity of a winter’s day. CHELSIE

 

 

Big BugBig Bug
By Henry Cole
Ages 2-5

Henry Cole has written a vibrantly illustrated picture book that does a terrific job depicting the concept of scale. That “big” bug on the first page becomes a “little” bug on a “big” leaf on the next. Lovely scenes of country life continue the lesson as Cole zooms out to the “big big sky” and back to life in a farm house. Children ages two and up will want to read Big Bug again and again. JAMIE

 

 

EddaEdda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day of School
By Adam Auerbach
Ages 3 & up

Edda is a book that is so cool and so cute that I almost don’t know what to do with myself! The titular main character, a pint sized Valkyrie, lives in Asgard with a colorful assortment of friends and family members, including some very adorable monsters and beasties. But the poor girl misses having friends her own age, and her father suggests elementary school might be the answer. I can’t say enough good things about this book, but what especially entertains me is Edda’s rough and tumble nature (while still clearly being a very sweet young lady), and the various nods to Norse mythology throughout the story.

 

 

My Teacher is a MonsterMy Teacher is a Monster
By Peter Brown
Ages 4-8

Bobby has a problem. You see, his teacher is a monster. But when Bobby runs into his teacher outside of school, in the park, he learns there is more to her than meets the eye. Caldecott Honor winner Peter Brown’s humorous illustrations and text combine for a story about a teacher and a mischievous student that will delight both!

 

 

Ella Sarah Gets DressedElla Sarah Gets Dressed
By Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Ages 2-4

Ella Sarah wakes up one morning and knows exactly what she wants to wear. The outfit is perfect, but her family has other ideas. They say her outfit is too dressy, too silly, she should wear something else. But Ella Sarah stands her ground and this bright, vibrant picture book is sure to delight readers who also have their own style and are not afraid to show it! CHELSIE

 

 

Battle BunnyBattle Bunny
By Mac Barnett and Jon Sciezka
Ages 6 & up

Don’t let the cover and the messy scribbles fool you, Battle Bunny is a very sophisticated book! By presenting a layered text Sciezka and Barnett offer a commentary on the multiple levels of meaning in a work, as well as making an evocative statement about the role of the reader in authoring the story. Heady stuff indeed, reminiscent of the words of Nabakov of Barth, though arguably funnier. KEVIN

 

 

WaveWave
By Suzy Lee
Ages 2-5

This imaginative, wordless picture book captures the joy and wonder of a child’s first experience with the ocean. Suzy Lee’s elegant, yet understated illustrations bring the story of a young girl’s trip to the beach alive in the best way. Dive into Wave with your little one this summer! CHELSIE

 

The Amazing HamweenieThe Amazing Hamweenie
By Patty Bowman
Ages 4-99

Based on her real live cat, Patty Bowman crafts the perfect story of Hamweenie, the poor tortured cat who could be famous and adored by all if only his dreadful owner, a sweet little girl, would stop pampering him! In this story you will hear the plight of Hamweenie as he endures cruelties such as being groomed and forced to eat vitamins! It’s so rare to find a book that is not only well illustrated, but whose wording is hilarious and spot on! Children and cat lovers alike will love The Amazing Hamweenie! ERYCA

 

Anna Hibiscus' SongAnna Hibiscus’ Song
By Atinuke; illustrated by Lauren Tobia
Ages 4-8

Anna Hibiscus is so incredibly happy! And you shall be too when reading this delightful and vibrantly illustrated picture book by Atinuke. Centered around the same lively characters and close-knit family of the Anna Hibiscus chapter book series, this book tells the story of young Anna who, when asking each member of her family how to express the happiness she feels, grows increasingly happier and happier until she can hardly contain herself! Her mother, the last member of the Hibiscus family to be consulted, finally helps Anna to channel her enthusiasm into song. The joy and familial love so expertly conveyed through story and illustration is contagious. Sit and read this with your loved ones and you might find yourself wishing you could join Anna at the center of this bustling African city. A few lines from the book sum it up: “Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. Anna Hibiscus is amazing too.” Yes, indeed! ASHLEY

 

Dark NightDark Night
By Dorothee de Monfried
Ages 4-8

 

Dark Night is my favorite kind of picture book: strange, silly and just a little bit spooky (not to mention, very, very French). Dorothee de Monfried’s watercolor illustration is loose, colorful, and they bring a sense of life and movement to the story, so that you can practically imagine the characters jumping off the page. Dark Night is a story about using wits, courage, and friendship to overcome life’s scary problems, be they wolf, tiger, or even crocodile-related. KEVIN

 

Darth VaderDarth Vader & Son and Vader’s Little Princess
By Jeffrey Brown
Ages 4 & up

Darth Vader and Son, and Vader’s Little Princess are the perfect father’s day books for that Star Wars fan in your life! Both written and illustrated by artist Jeffrey Brown, each book takes normal, everyday things that fathers experience such as dropping your kids off at school, or going toy shopping, and putting them in the context of Star Wars! As if Darth Vader was your father, or Luke and Leia were your kids! With a mix of Star Wars and parenting jokes, these books are sure to please kids an grown-ups alike! ERYCA

 

Even Aliens Need SnacksEven Aliens Need Snacks
By Matthew McElligott
Ages 4-7

In the second book by Matthew McElligott, we meet an aspiring chef whose creations don’t always hit the mark with his fellow humans. However, his roadside stand becomes a smash hit after a hungry extraterrestrial traveler lands in his front yard. Soon aliens from all across the galaxy are lining up for Swiss cheese donutholes and eggplant, lemon and mustard smoothies! This hilarious story about differing tastes will delight amateur cooks and stargazers alike. CHELSIE

 

Every FridayEvery Friday
By Dan Yaccarino
Ages 3-7

Yaccarino’s “Dad” is a businessman in a suit, but every Friday he takes time off from work to walk the city streets with his son. The illustrations and detail are specific to the city and this particular pair, but the emphasis on a quiet ritual time together extends to all fathers and their children. Lovely. MARCELA

 

Lilly's Purple Plastic PurseLilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
By Kevin Henkes
Ages 4 & up

Everyone should have a wise teacher like Mr. Slinger…and some of us do have a daughter/classmate/friend like Lilly – bubbly, maginative creative and utterly confident that the world will like her as much as she likes the world. All is well in her elementary school universe until her enthusiasm about her new purple plastic purse threatens to overrun the classroom. Lilly is crushed when her adored teacher Mr. Slinger temporarily confiscates her new possession and expresses her anger in a vividly illustrated story featuring Mr Slinger as villain. Happiness is restored through a combination of Lilly’s expressive resilience and Mr. Singer’s understanding! MARCELA

 

Listening WalkThe Listening Walk
By Paul Showers
Ages 4-8

Father-and-daughter stories are in short supply; the 1961 The Listening Walk is a delightful picture book. Aliki’s drawings complement Paul Showers’ story of a little girl, her father, and her dog walking around the neighborhood. They quietly listen to the sounds of nature and their community. There is not one electronic device in evidence! DIANE

 

Love You DadLove You, Dad: A Book of Thanks
By Melina Gerosa Bellows
Ages 4 & up

Looking for a fun way to show appreciation to your dad? Published by the National Geographic Society, this book is brimming with beautiful (and humorous) pictures of wildlife that will induce laughter, while expressing all the ways you appreciate him in your life. Using animals as metaphorical displays of courage, compassion, and comedic relief – we are reminded of how our fathers have enriched our lives in similar ways. One of my favorite pages shows how “everyone says I’m the spitting image of you” (pg.46), which makes me laugh. Check it out! She does a marvelous job of pairing the words with each picture. It’s as if the animals are expressing those exact sentiments themselves! There are also trivia tidbits footnoted on every page that will enlighten every animal lover. This book may be small- but it is larger than life with its hilarious and heartwarming depictions of the father-child bond and will be sure to delight all those who read it! GRACE

 

Miss Nelson is MissingMrs. Nelson is Missing
By Harry Allard and James Marshall
Ages 4-8

A hilarious tongue-in-cheek cautionary tale. The misbehaving kids in room 207 arrive at school one morning to find that their sweet teacher, Miss Nelson, has been replaced by the strict and menacing looking Miss Violet Swamp, who piles on the work and allows no one to crack a smile. When days go by and Miss Nelson does not return, the forlorn kids go searching for her, but to no avail. Some kids even go to her house, where no one answers the door and the only person they see is the witch-like Miss Viola Swamp walking up the street. But then one day, as the class cringes in dismay anticipating Miss Viola Swamp, in walks Miss Nelson! From then on, room 207 is a very happy, well-behave class (and Miss Viola Swamp goes missing). SHARON

 

Not a BoxNot a Box
By Antoinette Portis
Ages Newborn to 6

The book’s cover is made of cardboard and the very creative story shows a line drawn bunny using a box as a great plaything. Not a Box by Antoinette Portis depicts an ordinary carton as a car, a boat, a hot-air balloon, a robot, and other imaginative toys. Looking for a great summer activity? Unplug the electronics, read the book, and find a box. (We usually pile them by the store’s back door.) DIANE

 

Pete and PicklesPete and Pickles
By Berkeley Breathed
Ages 4 & up

I love this book because it covers a lot of ground (dealing with loss, trying new things, making friends, accepting others? differences, overcoming fears, the power of the imagination, and on and on?) in such a seamless way that you barely notice the life lessons until your third read-through. Even better, the illustrations are so good that you?ll want to crawl inside them. KEITH

 

Rufus Goes to SchoolRufus Goes to School
By Kim Griswell and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
Ages 3-7

Utterly charming text and illustrations combine for a winning back-to-school story, as Rufus the pig decides he wants to go to school so he can learn to read his favorite book. Each time Rufus trundles off to school, with what he deems the necessary supplies, first a backpack, then a lunchbox, etc., he gets turned away by Principal Lipid who declares “NO PIGS IN SCHOOL”. It’s not until Rufus shares his passion for learning to read with the principal that he gets his wish of going to school. SHARON

 

Say HelloSay Hello
By Rachel Isadora
Ages 2-5

Rachel Isadora impresses us again with her story about a little girl named Carmelita who walks around her neighborhood with her mom and her dog to “Say Hello” to all the different people of different cultures in different languages! A wonderful introduction to multiculturalism! Beautifully illustrated with a mixture of painting and collage, this is a must have for every young library! ERYCA

 

Silly Doggy!Silly Doggy
By Adam Stower
Ages 2-5

Lily is absolutely delighted when she sees a bear rummaging in her backyard, but she accidentally mistakes it for a dog! What ensues is a glorious tale of Lily and her silly doggy! Besides the wonderful illustrations, the story is so smile inducing you’ll want to read it again and again! ERYCA

 

Sitting DucksSitting Ducks
By Michael Bedard
Ages 3-8

When an egg rolls off the conveyor belt at the Colossal Duck Factory and cracks open, the baby duck that emerges is discovered by one of the worker alligators who then sneaks the little duck out of the factory to his home. The alligator intends to keep the duck locked up in his home until the duck grows fat enough to become a tasty meal, but much to his surprise, the alligator finds that he greatly enjoys the duck’s company, and soon they are best friends. Their friendship inspires the duo to undertake a brave and risky mission to save a town full of captive ducks. This is a wonderful story of the transcending power of friendship. Kids and adults alike will adore the lively illustrations, and adults in particular will appreciate Bedard’s humorous homage to Edward Hopper. CHERYL

 

Stand Straight Ella KateStand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant
By Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise
Ages 4-8

This charming book is based on the life of Ella Kate Ewing who was born in 1872 to average-sized parents, but who was destined to grow and grow and grow to the astonishing height of 8 feet, 4 inches! Instead of feeling sorry for herself and hiding from the world when called a freak, Ella Kate used her unusual height to earn a good living and travel around the globe. Ella Kate narrates this inspiring story of a woman who stood straight and proud in spite of looking “different.” The book also includes a note from the author at the end discussing Ella’s condition of gigantism, and adding a post script about her fascinating life. CHERYL

 

Tillie the Terrible SwedeTillie the Terrible Swede
By Sue Stauffacher and Sarah McMenemy
Ages 5-8

This beautiful picture book tells the remarkable story of Tillie Anderson, an incredible athlete who broke several records for women?s bicycling in the 1890s. After emigrating from Sweden and working for 2 years as a seamstress, Tillie shocked traditional sensibilities by designing her own (scandalous) racing outfit and allowing her bare leg to be photographed for the newspaper! Despite all the outrage, Tillie?s dedication to the sport of competitive cycling made her an inspiration to women across America who were tired of women being considered ?fragile? and ?weak?. Perfect for avid cyclists or anyone looking for a great story about a truly ?strong? woman! CHELSIE

 

Zin Zin Zin A ViolinZin! Zin! Zin! a Violin
By Lloyd Moss
Ages 3-7

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin is a picture book that introduces the instruments of the orchestra. Author Lloyd Moss creates music with his poetic text, and illustrator Marjorie Priceman’s whimsical art completes a delightful story that is also educational. DIANE