What to get that young child in your life who already has a library full of classic picture books? These titles from 2016 make it to the top of my list:
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown would be a great gift for a child flying for the first time. Brown leads us through each part of the airport with simple text, and detailed descriptions that lead to lingering– a sort of picture book version of the great people watching an airport provides, mixed with comforting text about the process of getting on the plane. Recommended for ages 3-7.
Bloom by Doreen Cronin (illustrated by David Small) is the tale of a glass kingdom in disrepair and the messy mud fairy who enlists the help of an “ordinary” girl to save it. Elegantly illustrated with a flourish of creative typography, this is the best kind of grit and girl-power-fueled empowerment story. It’s fun, it’s messy, it’s fabulous. Recommended for ages 4-8.
A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers celebrates the wonder of getting lost in a great book. Filled with beautiful collages– oceans and mountains are formed from the typed lines of classic literary works– we join a young reader as she shares the adventure of story with her traveling companion. This has the potential to start great conversations about stories and art. Recommended for ages 5-8.
Parachute by Danny Parker is about a boy named Toby who never does anything without wearing his bright orange parachute. The strength of this story is in the illustrations, which give a striking sense of how big the world seems to a little person– how impossibly far up a tree house seems, how far down it looks from the bathroom stool, and how as Toby learns to feel safe, his perspective changes. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Penguin Problems by Jory John (illustrated by Lane Smith) presents us with Penguin, who has a bone to pick about, well, everything– “My beak is cold… The ocean smells too salty today.” Though a wise walrus tries to help him focus on the good things in his life, his triumph over griping appears to be short-lived. This book is hilarious in its snark, and genius in its ability to make readers identify with a cranky penguin. Recommended for ages 3-7.
Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo by Helaine Becker (illustrated by Kathy Boake) will disgust and delight young readers as they learn how animals are really fed at the zoo. From mealworm mush to predator popsicles, recipe cards detail what goes into the animals meals, while superimposed images of creatures up to crazy antics like raiding refrigerators and drinking from milkshake glasses keep it lively. Recommended for ages 7-10.