Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Staff Picks of the Week

This week I've had a difficult time trying to narrow down just one title to share. The following titles are among my favorite new discoveries in children's picture books:

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press, 2008)

Bear's efforts to keep out visitors to his house are undermined by a very persistent mouse. Wonderful watercolor illustrations depict playful interactions between these unlikely friends. A great storytime book!

Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by David Walker (Putnam, 2008)

A young boy imagines what his rescued dog's life might have been like before he adopted him. Warning: This one is so sweet that it's likely to prompt begging for a trip to the shelter to adopt a new pet!

Let's Go On a Mommy Date by Karen Kingsbury, illustrated by Dan Andreasen (ZonderKidz, 2008)

A mother describes several possibilities for sharing special time with her child, but finally realizes that just snuggling together and reading a book is fun and will be remembered warmly. The pressure mothers feel to turn any time with their children into exciting, educational "quality" time can be overwhelming. This is a reassuring book that begs moms to stop and remember that it's not the trip to the zoo, circus, or a movie, but the time spent just snuggling and being together that matters the most.

Princess Me by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Christa Unzner (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007)

A little girl imagines being a princess, with her stuffed animals serving as royal subjects. Make way! Make way! Here comes the princess of the land. She's sweet and kind. She's oh-so-grand. And just who is she, this lovely Princess Me? Come inside this book to see! A child's bedroom is transformed into a magical kingdom in this bright, lively offering from Karma Wilson. And what preschooler can resist another beautifully illustrated princess book?

Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by John Butler (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2008)

When the other barnyard animals comment on how tiny the littlest chick is, the proud little one peeps louder, stands taller, and runs faster than any of them. This one is a perfect springtime read-aloud, especially for toddlers and young preschoolers.

Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth (Scholastic Press, 2008)

When Stillwater the panda encourages Koo, Addy, Michael, and Karl to help a grouchy neighbor, their efforts are rewarded in unexpected ways. A mindful, attractive addition by the Caldecott Honor author/illustrator Jon J. Muth. A treat for lovers of haiku as well. Likely to be appreciated by the older picture book audience and parents alike. Stillwater the panda is a gentle-natured character to remember.

*Summaries courtesy of Syndetics.

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