Picture books can be perfect for all ages to enjoy anytime of the day, but especially at bedtime. If your reading out-loud time at night is limited (and hopefully you are reading out-loud to your children every night), picture books are an excellent choice as most can be read quickly. Here are some of the best published so far this year. You’re going to truly enjoy these!
Lucky Ducklings, by Eva Moore, and illustrated with charcoal and digital media by Nancy Carpenter, is based on a true event that involved rescuing baby ducks. As Mama Duck leads her 5 babies across the street, they fall between the slats of a storm drain. A witness calls the fire department that proceeds to rescue each of them. But as a fireman is about to place them in a bucket to walk them to safety, Mama Duck is quite upset. So he stops traffic as she leads them across the street. The art hails back to the McClockey story of “Make Way for Ducklings”, making this a perfect salute to that classic tale.
Millie and the Big Rescue, by Alexander Steffensmeier, is a fun and funny story with illustrations showcasing the animals and the farmer’s unique personalities. This book continues a series about Millie the cow and the antics that take place. She decides to play hide-and-seek with the other animals on the farm but she ends up (not sure how) in a tree. But now, how will she get down? What happens from there will bring a smile as well as noting the behavior of all the animals as the story progresses.
Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite, by Nick Bromley, and cleverly illustrated with mixed media by Nicola O’Byrne, will have youngsters giggling and begging for this unique story to be read again and again! The story begins with the retelling of the “Ugly Duckling” but there appears to be a green tail in the book. As the story progresses, a mean looking crocodile is now inside the book and the reader becomes part of the story in an attempt to dislodge the animal and make him fall out. There’s even a die-cut hole near the back when the crocodile begins to eat the book. This is a terrific interactive story!
Sticky, Sticky, Stuck, by Michael Gutch, and brightly illustrated with much humor by Steve Bjorkman, tells the tale of young Annie who seems to be always sticky, even in the bathtub. When she decides to make her own peanut butter and honey snack, she not only gets sticky again, but as her family attempts to help out, they become stuck. This sticky story will stick to you!
Jangles: A Big Fish Story, by David Shannon, is one giant fish story full of exaggerated excitement and wonder as a young boy is told a story from his dad about his childhood fishing days. That’s when he came upon a huge trout, “the biggest fish any had ever seen-or heard!” This trout has many fish lures surrounding his jaw. He’d been able to avoid many lures in his lifetime. This fish was smart and could catch eagles on trees hanging over the water. The pictures are in Shannon’s tradition: gorgeous full painted pages. But reader beware, the ending might just lure you in for the big catch!
RoboMop, by Sean Taylor, and illustrated with oil-based woodblock ink printed on paper and combined with digital media by Edel Rodriguez, an inventive story about a robot who cleans a public restroom. But he yearns to go outside and see the sunshine. The highlight of his time down where he cleans is when the window washer cleans the windows and plays his “honky tonk” music on the radio. He loves dancing to the lively songs. But everything changes when the inspector throws him away. This creative robot demonstrates an important attribute that he has: how he never gives up. This attitude helps him begin anew.
The Beginner’s Guide to Running Away, by Jennifer Larue Huget, and ingeniously illustrated by Red Nose Studio (which is a company that shoots intricate hand-built 3-dimensional sets and characters out of clay) lists what to do in order to run away from your family when things aren’t going quite like you’d like. A boy is feeling left out now that he has a baby sister. And not only that, but his older brother got to stay up an extra hour later. The final straw that pushes him out the door is when his mother throws away his entire collection of candy wrappers. His list of what to do includes bringing gum (“That way you don’t need to pack a toothbrush”) and making a big exit (“Stomp your feet and make lots of noise.”). There are lots of interesting details to absorb on every page! This book is a delight. Oh, and he does come back after not going very far from home!
Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, by Lori Mortensen, and painted with acrylic and using color pencils by Michael Allen Austin, is about to round up ol’ Dawg for a’ cleanin. It’s the end of the day, and he’s plumb tuckered out. But before he can call it quits, he needs to warsh his Dawg. He ends up causin’ quite a stir among the clucking chickens, spilled soup and slippery hog. This rhyming tale is great fun and is meant to be read-out-loud – but please use your twang.
The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywait, and ingeniously painted with all the newly hired colors by Oliver Jeffers, showcases a young Duncan who just wants to color. But when he opens his box of colorful crayons, he discovers all of them desiring to be the favorite crayon. Black wants to be used more often than just for outlining and blue wants to be used for more than just bodies of water. Some of the colors aren’t even speaking to each other like orange and yellow due to their argument of which is the true color of the sun! This delightful book cleverly teaches color while entertaining the reader.