When you read a great picture book it makes you appreciate the beautiful pictures – and the messages that go right along with them.  Here are some of the best picture books that have been published recently and are good for all ages unless otherwise indicated.

The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander, and gorgeously painted with oil reflecting amazing authenticity by Kadir Nelson, is a most unique book.  I don’t remember a picture book winning both the coveted Caldecott award, as well as the Newbery Honor award.  Both of these awards were recently announced for 2020.  The celebration of the strength, resilience and creativeness of black history and life abounds throughout this most magnificent book!  Be sure to check out the afterward found at the back of the book discussing the book’s inception.

The Perfect Seat, by Minh Le, and wonderfully illustrated using watercolors, pencils, crayons and collage by Gus Cordova, is a lovely celebration of reading time with child and parent.  The simple and lively text makes for a quick and humorous read when a young moose asks his father to read a book to him.  But father moose needs to first find just the right spot.  Some places are “too tall, too short, too new, too old.” The special place was there the entire time.

Pokko and the Drum, by Matthew Forsythe, begins with “The worst mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum.”   Pokko is a brightly painted frog who is told to play outside but not too loudly – “we don’t like drawing attention to ourselves.”   But what happens in the forest, and then coming back home, will be an enjoyable surprise.  This smartly told story, vividly rendered in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil, showcases a frog with intelligence, persistence and talent.  Notice the end pages which have significance.

Nibbles: The Monster Hunt, by Emma Yarlett, is all about the love of books.  When a young boy proclaims his enjoyment of books, trouble begins. The monster, Nibbles, eats right through books.  As the youngster is trying to read his different books, Nibbles is biting holes into pages of fact books within this book which includes books about planets and pets.  This is the third book in this clever brightly illustrated Nibbles series which also includes flaps and peepholes.

The Book Without a Story, by Carolina Rabei, is a vividly illustrated story about what happens to libraries when they close.  Books come alive and begin telling stories of their excitement and adventures when they were borrowed.  However, there is one sad little book that has never been borrowed.  What happens to that book is the thrust of this story.  Be sure to check out the clever end pages.

What’s Next?, by Timothy Knapman, and gorgeously illustrated by completely covering the double page image with mixed media by Jane McGuinness, takes Baby Badger throughout the night as his father shows him nature’s wonders that await.  But after his father takes him back to bed as the sun comes up, his curiosity takes him up again to see the beauty of daylight.  This celebration of earth’s beauty has simple text that also shows the loving relationship of child and father.  Be sure to check out the end pages.

Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots, by Michael Rex, is a terrific introduction to the understanding of what makes up a fact and what becomes an opinion.  By using robots in this simple book examples become easy to comprehend for youngsters.  The brightly colored robots are wide-eyed and cute along with subject matter easy to relate to.  Questions are asked:  Which robot would make a good friend? Fact or Opinion? Which robot has a round head? Fact or Opinion? The delightful artwork was created digitally using Photoshop.

The Upper Case: Trouble in Capital City, by Tara Lazar, and illustrated by Ross MacDonald, is the second book in this clever series (book one: 7 Ate 9). The calamity begins quickly when Question Mark rushes in to spell out All the uppercase letters are M-I-S-S-I-N-G.  But how could this be?  This is Capital City!  The only letter left is Private I and he is on the case.  The whirl of humor and play on letters and words makes for great fun.  Throw in the understanding of punctuation into this delightful story and you’ve got another winner from this duo.  This book is colorful and fun!

Straw, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and illustrated using digital tools by Scott Magoon, is a hilarious story about a long forlorn straw who does everything way too fast.  He soon learns that life is passing him by and he begins to slow down to enjoy life’s little pleasures.  The text is filled with clever play on words and the antics and expressions of Straw are not to be missed.