2018 Picture Book Reviews

The Weather Girls by Aki

This book reminded me a little of Madeline with its rhyming text and the girls walking out in a line (but then having adventures!). A lovely introduction to the seasons, as well.

A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker

Aaron Becker returns with another stunning wordless picture book.  A young girl picks up a stone as a memorial for her dog and readers see its history.  Becker’s beautiful, dreamy illustrations make the book something special.

The Book About Nothing by Mike Bender

This is a book that seems written for adult. I would personally call the illustrations ugly and even disturbing.  The concept of writing a book about nothing is intriguing.  However, friendlier illustrations and a narrative voice that doesn’t seem to be screaming at readers would make the book more suitable for a younger audience.

Brianna Bright, Ballerina Night by Pam Calvert and Lianna Hee

Brianna Bright dreams of becoming a ballerina, and later a fencer, but fails at both until a robbery tests her skills.  The story is unoriginal and the illustrations cloyingly pink, but young readers will probably love a book about a ballerina knight regardless.

Friends Stick Together by Hannah E. Harrison

Rupert the rhino loves Shakespeare, opera, and other refined entertainment.  Levi the tickbird plays air guitar and burps the alphabet.  In this standard story of friendship, Rupert  learns that different is not bad.  There’s nothing new here, but adults will like the message.

Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert by Stacy McAnulty

This book seems more appropriate for adults as I am not sure that children will see the irony. The humor relies on adults seeing typical grocery store child behavior (wanting to buy sugary cereal, sneaking a candy bar onto the belt) and laughing. Will children laugh at themselves? Probably not.

Night Out by Daniel Miyares

In this dreamlike story, a lonely boy receives a invitation to a nighttime party.  His experience will be the catalyst to finding new friends.  The beautiful, evocative illustrations are sure to pull readers in, even more than the story.

A Chip Off the Old Block by Jody Jensen Shaffer and Daniel Miyares

Rocky’s family contains famous names like Uncle Gibraltar and Aunt Etna.  But what can a mere pebble do to earn his own claim to fame?  This pun-filled adventure will appeal to rock lovers, but also to individuals who enjoy sweet stories about finding one’s place in the world.

The Boy and the Blue Moon by Sara O’Leary and Ashley Crowley

You might wonder whether we needed another picture book about a child going off on dream-like adventures.  The stunning blue and white illustrations, however, make this book stand out.

Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima

When Harriet goes to the store for party hats, she gets carried away–by penguins!  Now she has to find a way home.  Hattie, with her self-confidence and love of fashion, is reminiscent of Oliva the Pig, though her book is, I would argue, not nearly as funny. But the illustrations, soft pastels, are charming.

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn

This sweet story follows a young girl as she tries on her mother’s headscarves and goes about her day.  The bold, colorful illustrations will delight readers young and old.

Teddy’s Favorite Toy by Christian Trimmer and Madeline Valentine

In this cute story, a mother reveals unexpected skills as she races across town to rescue her son’s favorite doll.  It’s a heartwarming look at the love between a mother and her son.  The author note says the story was inspired by Trimmer’s Wonder Woman doll, making the story even more awesome.


4 thoughts on “2018 Picture Book Reviews

  1. Elspeth says:

    I could envision my 10-year-old laughing at the grocery store story, but you’re right, a very young child would probably not see the irony.

    It sounds like this is similar to kids’ movies with lots of color and action, but many jokes that are too nuanced and mature for a little kid to relate to. However, since it’s colorful and pretty, it holds their attention log enough and they enjoy it anyway.


    • Krysta says:

      The book does bring up the question of what ages picture books are for. We often associate picture books with children learning to read, but they can be marketed to children who are older or even adults! I sometimes wonder how parents find appropriate titles. Do they just pull a political satire picture book off the shelf at the library and then get confused when they arrive home? Because I’ve only ever seen one picture book section in any library or store. You don’t really see a separate section for older readers or adults.


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