Spring Book Preview: Picturebooks!
Even though fall books are just hitting the bookstores, we sales reps are busy selling Spring 2012 books to our bookstore clients. We wanted to share a sneak peek at some of our favorite spring books with all of you, so you have something to look forward to! Today, we’re focusing on picturebooks.
The twins have been asking me to read from my spring sample kit each night before bed because they know I will read more than two books (which is usually the limit) and they can “stay up all night”, which is what they call staying up late. Here are a few of their favorites so far.
As has been evidenced by other posts about my kids, robots are a favorite (Lots of Bots, Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot). This season does not disappoint. The first title I pulled out of my kit was Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, with illustrations by Dan Yaccarino. The theme is classic but the presentation good fun: understanding and appreciating the differences between us as seen from the perspective of a human child and a robot. We have fun when I ask them “Does a Bot need applesauce?” or “Does a Boy need oil and an instruction manual?”. This is the age where kids love to tell you what they know, so they happily correct my misperceptions.
Good Night, Laila Tov is another one that has been requested every night. Laurel Snyder is a star on our list in both the picture book and middle grade categories. One of her talents is writing books about Jewish characters that transcend the Jewish Issue genre. In this picture book, a family travels to plant trees which illustrates a Jewish concept called tikkun olam, or healing the world. But environmentalism and giving back are universal themes that most people can relate to. The overnight camping at the beach, the rhythm of the car trip and the fun of a family trip will resonate with everyone. The line “We stopped for dinner stopped to see…Stopped again so I could pee” never fails to elicit a giggle, especially from my newly potty trained little girl.
How to Babysit a Grandpa takes the idea of grandpa as a babysitter and turns it on its head. Told from the little boy’s perspective, he’s not shy about his advice on how best to go about this arduous task. He reassures grandpa when his parents leave, “Don’t worry. They always come back.” He has great snack ideas and he’s excellent at teaching grandpa to jump in puddles. Your heart will melt when, while saying goodbye, he gives his grandpa a picture he drew of the two of them puddle jumping. Fun for kids but with just the right amount of “awwww” factor for adults, this is a charming read.
Since I also have preschool-aged kids at home, I give my picturebook samples a test run before taking them into bookstores. Sometimes, it surprises me to see which books my children gravitate toward. Like Deanna mentioned, Boy + Bot was a hit, I think mostly due to the cover and bright art since my son is only two and can’t yet follow the story.
Another favorite: The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer and Chris Sheban, which will appeal equally to 4-6 year olds and their parents. If you’ve ever rediscovered a beloved book from your childhood, or seen a children’s book at a used bookstore or rummage sale and wondered how it ended up there, this book will warm your heart. A little girl loves a library book, which over time is checked out less and less, and is eventually lost to basement storage. The book remains in her heart and memory, though, and she finds it to read once again. This charming book celebrates the love of books in a sweet, sentimental way that is reminiscent of The Giving Tree.
Sure to be a hit with slightly older readers is Falcon by Tim Jessell. The book’s creator is a talented illustrator who did the art for The Secrets of Droon series, and he is qualified to write this book since he trains falcons for the sport of falconry. In the book, a young boy imagines a day in the life of a peregrine falcon, as it soars through the natural world, and down through the New York City skyline. I loved the realistic art and the touches of humor Jessell sprinkles throughout the almost wordless book.
Mrs. Harkness and the Panda– Meet Mrs. Harkness, a real life female adventurer, someone your daughters can look up to. Mrs. Harkness, who has never even seen a panda, is given the chance to go on an expedition to bring one back to the United States. Although she is told that it will be almost impossible to capture and transport a panda, she decides to attempt it anyway. Against the advice of her friends and fighting the social boundaries of the time in which she lived (women didn’t even wear pants!), she sets out for China in 1934. Take the adventure and meet Mrs. Harkness and Su Lin the panda. This book is a very strong, positive portrait of a woman who accomplished what she set out to do.