Here are the rest of my favorite picture books that should put smiles on kids and families as they read out loud these delightful books. The following books are best for ages three through eight unless otherwise indicated.
How to Draw a Happy Cat, by Ethan T. Berlin and delightfully illustrated digitally by Jimbo Matison, is reminiscent of the classic Harold’s Crayon books. It begins as an instructional drawing of how to draw a cat. But then it goes into how to make this cat happy. The cat is adorable with expressions that make you want to draw the possibilities the cat may desire. This book begs to be read aloud as the narrator involves the listener and this will surely bring chuckles throughout.
Becoming Blue, by Ellen Tarlow and brilliantly illustrated digitally by Julien Chung, is a self-discovery exploration. Blue likes everything Red does and tries to copy her. She becomes a red fire engine and then becomes the red fire. But when Red becomes annoyed and tells Blue to go away, he discovers something about himself. He finds himself in rivers and the sky and much more. What a wonderful lesson in valuing each of our own unique qualities. (Simon)
The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster!, by Mo Willems, is a continuation of Pigeon and all of the hilarious antics he finds himself in. This story is set around the grave anticipation of riding on a roller coaster. The suggestion of what is about to take place is hilarious! The emotions Pigeon goes through are funny and most likely true for most of us. What takes place at the end will surprise you. There’s some edifying vocabulary as well as a page that folds out. Also, be sure to check out the end-pages. Great fun!
Bad Drawer, by Seth Fishman, is a very clever and extraordinary story that centers on the author/illustrator. Seth complains that he is a very poor at drawing, but has a great story in his head. So, he recruits some of his talented illustrator friends to help him visually tell his story with page illustrations. He points out that each of his friends have different strengths that he utilizes in his story. One of his friends can draw buildings and scenery and another can draw amazing costumes. These friends actually draw a sample of their talent in the book. Then he combines it all to make his story come alive. If you have children with stories and illustrations inside of them, this book is a must!
Little Red and the Big Bad Editor, by Rebecca Kraft Rector and colorfully illustrated digitally by Shanda McCloskey, is the perfect book helping youngsters understand the importance of writing legibly and accurately. But this story is much more! The familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood has a different take that is rich with onomatopoeias and homophones throughout the story. Check out the end-pages too. This book is a delight and will be reread over and over.
Tiny Spoon VS. Little Fork, by Constance Lombardo and comically drawn digitally by Dan Abdo & Jason Patterson, is a cutlery argument concerning who is more important in baby’s meals. Spoon shovels its importance magnifying baby’s sipping and slurping. Fork points out how baby is able to poke at food and munch. The expressions are so fun and don’t forget to check out the baby’s stuffed bunny.
My Pet Feet, by Mosh Funk and humorously illustrated digitally with open-page spread by Billy Yong, is a very clever story revealing a missing letter. Suddenly a young girl notices her pet is missing part of its body, when she realizes the letter “R” has been stolen. She sets out to discover the thief and along the way she sees many things that have become something else without the letter “R”. She sees small “cabs” scurrying around on the beach by a large slice of “pie” jutting out from the shore. It’s great fun discovering what the objects become with the correct lettering. The “cabs” finally become crabs and the pie becomes a pier. And the little girl’s pet becomes once again a ferret.
Lizzy and the Cloud, by The Fan Brothers, is an exquisitely illustrated and told story about an unusual pet. Lizzy goes to the park with her parents and decides on purchasing a cloud on a string from a man that looks much like a balloon seller. Lizzy experiences some curious happenstances with her cloud throughout the story. The color palate is extraordinary as the color of Lizzy in her yellow stands out amongst the intricate pale gray, blue and green in the background. This is a story rich in imagination.
Catastrophe!, by Ann Marie Stephens and digitally drawn with comedic ambiance by Jenn Harney, is a most delightful book that teaches patterns in a very effective way! The boat crew of kittens along with their cat captain are out to catch some fish. But first they must work together to row their boat effectively. Stephens effectively incorporates patterns with colors, movement and even sound. Youngsters are sure to get a grip on patterns and their significance.