Somewhere amidst the stack is some middle grade books which wake me up at night, crying quietly. Poor Just Desserts and Nathaniel Fludd. I loved you very much and I promise to present you to the world in January.
But for now...
- I can be anything by Jerry Spinelli. I'm not a Spinelli fan anyways, and this picturebook just derailed into the ridiculous in my opinion. I didn't care for the relentless rhymes either. Illustrations were pleasant but unremarkable. Borrowed from library.
- I don't want a cool cat! by Emma Dodd. Now THIS is what a rhyming picturebook should be. Lots of fun, snazzy words, infectious rhythm and strong beat, and delightfully silly illustrations. In my opinion, rhyming picturebooks are meant to be read out loud - so they should sound great, and this one definitely fits my criteria. Recommended. Borrowed from library.
- I dream of an elephant by Ami Rubinger. A simply rhyme on each page introduces an elephant of a different color. I was a little confused at first, because the ellipsis made it seem as though the color name, which completes the rhyme, would be found on the next page. But the next page had the next color. Once I figured out how the book was arranged, it was a cute read. The illustrations range from bright colors to pastels, showing elephants, flowers, birds, and strange creatures in a psychedelic style. Recommended for toddler storytimes and concept collections for kids to practice their colors. Review copy received from Abbeville Press.
- If I could be anything by Kevin McNamee. Poorly written and badly illustrated. Not recommended. Reviewed from pdf supplied by publisher.
- If Wishes were Fishes by N. A. Sharpe. Poorly written and badly illustrated. Not recommended. Reviewed from pdf supplied by publisher.
- In my bath by Beth Reinke. A fun concept and idea, but poorly executed. Not recommended. Reviewed from pdf supplied by publisher.
- Instructions by Neil Gaiman. Adult and teen fans will be most appreciative of this picturebook version of Gaiman's poem, illustrated by Charles Vess. Younger children will be baffled and possibly frightened by the fairy tale references, elaborate creatures, and oblique references. I suggest adding it to your graphic novel collection or juvenile or teen section instead of picturebooks. Borrowed from library.
- Is your buffalo ready for kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick. This is a delightful and unique addition to the "first day at school" canon. First-time kindergarteners, apprehensive or not, will giggle over the ways a buffalo's fears are calmed and how he and his new classmates adjust to each other. The straight-faced humor will appeal to older children as well, who will enjoy remembering their first days at kindergarten. Preschoolers should also enjoy the cartoon-style illustrations of a massive, and clearly nervous buffalo, learning to navigate the confusing rules of school. Recommended. Borrowed from library.
- It's a book by Lane Smith. Smith's picturebooks are increasingly targeted towards adults, this one more so than others. Few kids care about the print vs. electronic argument and although some older kids might giggle a little over the donkey's attempts to turn on and manipulate a book like various online programs and electronic devices, the appeal is limited. Buy it as a gift for your local librarian or publisher who's stressed out over ebooks, but don't bother adding it to your picturebook collection. Borrowed from library.
- It's Christmas, David! by David Shannon. The popular toddler is back, this time acting up around Christmas time. After a series of increasingly naughty deeds - and an ever-lengthening list of no's, there's no Christmas for naughty David....phew, it was all a dream, Christmas is here, and David has a wonderful time! I'm not a fan of the David series myself, but plenty of parents and children adore the little stinker, so add this to your holiday book section. Borrowed from library.
- Jellybeans and the big book bonanza by Laura Numeroff. The Jellybeans, a group of furry friends, are very different but they still go well together - just like jellybeans. When they're assigned a book report, Anna, the Jellybean who loves to read, is excited to introduce her friends to the library, where the librarian finds each one a special book. When it's time for their report, Anna is too scared to get up and talk, but her friends help her out. A sweet story, with Lynn Munsinger's furry and comforting illustrations. Nothing outstanding about this one, but it will be a pleasant favorite with many parents and children. Review copy provided by Abrams.
- Just Because by Rebecca Elliott. Toby loves his sister Clemmie and thinks she's the best ever, although she can't move, talk, or respond much. He lists all the things they do and feel together. This simple story of two loving siblings is a warm and pleasant read with enjoyable illustrations. It's nice to see a story with a disabled child whose disability is not the focus of the text. Review copy received from publisher.
- Just like mama by Leslea Newman. A little girl lists all the things her mother does - that nobody can do "just like Mama." From tea parties to brushing hair, Mama is unique. I don't care for Julia Gorton's illustrations - I think the staring eyes in the faces are kind of creepy - but many parents will want to check this one out, especially around Mother's Day. Review copy provided by Abrams.
- Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems. The beloved Knuffle Bunny stories come full circle in this story. Parents, be prepared for sniffles as we see Trixie grow up and move on into the exciting world awaiting her. Children will fall in love with Trixie and Knuffle Bunny all over again as they get ready to try new things and put aside some of their childhood toys. I'm not even going to bother to recommend it, because duh, every library in the country has already bought it. Borrowed from library.