13 Picture Books to Fall in Love With This Spring

These gorgeous books will warm your heart, and whoever you're reading them to will like them just as much as you do. 

*****

Under the Umbrella, by Catherine Buquet, Marion Arbona, and Erin Woods 

About the book: The weather has never been worse. The man with the stormy heart is soaked and he's going to be late! His mood is as black as the sky. Outside a nearby patisserie, a little boy stands under the shelter of its awning, gazing at the beautiful treats on display. When the wind snatches the man's umbrella and drops it at the child's feet, can this hasty curmudgeon slow down long enough for an unlikely friendship to blossom?

Catherine Buquet's touching debut in lyrical rhyme, accompanied by Marion Arbona's bold and stylish illustrations, celebrates intergenerational friendship and the magic of sharing. It also reminds children and adults alike that bright moments can be found on even the gloomiest of days.

*

A Horse Named Steve, by Kelly Collier

About the book: “Steve is a fine horse,” begins Kelly Collier's clever picture book. “But he thinks he could be finer. He wants to be EXCEPTIONAL.” When Steve finds a beautiful gold horn lying on the ground in the forest, he realizes he has found his path to the exceptional! He immediately ties the horn to the top of his head and prances off to show his friends. Not everyone is impressed, but most of his friends agree—Steve and his horn are indeed exceptional. In fact, many of his friends are so inspired, they decide to tie items to the tops of their heads as well. So when Steve discovers his horn has suddenly gone missing, he's devastated and frantically searches everywhere to find it. He won't be exceptional without his horn! Or will he?

This is a laugh-out-loud tale of an endearingly self-absorbed horse, illustrated in lively black-and-white artwork. Throughout the story, Collier interweaves humorous commentary and some definitions (such as for "devastated": “That means really, really bummed.”). The tone of the book allows children to feel like they're in on the joke while the main character isn't, adding to the amusement. Besides its fun appeal as a read-aloud, this book would be a terrific choice to launch discussions on self-esteem, particularly about the difference between what people think will make them special and what actually does make them special. It also works for lessons on proper social skills and how to treat your friends.

*

My Beautiful Birds, by Suzanne del Rizzo

About the book: Behind Sami, the Syrian skyline is full of smoke. The boy follows his family and all his neighbours in a long line, as they trudge through the sands and hills to escape the bombs that have destroyed their homes. But all Sami can think of is his pet pigeons—will they escape too? When they reach a refugee camp and are safe at last, everyone settles into the tent city. But though the children start to play and go to school again, Sami can't join in. When he is given paper and paint, all he can do is smear his painting with black. He can't forget his birds and what his family has left behind.

One day a canary, a dove, and a rose finch fly into the camp. They flutter around Sami and settle on his outstretched arms. For Sami it is one step in a long healing process at last.

A gentle yet moving story of refugees of the Syrian civil war, My Beautiful Birds illuminates the ongoing crisis as it affects its children. It shows the reality of the refugee camps, where people attempt to pick up their lives and carry on. And it reveals the hope of generations of people as they struggle to redefine home.

*

The Little Blue Chair, by Cary Fagan

About the book: Boo's favorite chair is little and blue. He sits in it, reads in it and makes a tent around it...until the day he grows too big for it. His mother puts the little blue chair out on the lawn where a truck driver picks it up. The truck driver sells it to a lady in a junk store where it sits for many years until it's sold and put to use as a plant stand. In the years that follow, the little blue chair is used in many other ways—on an elephant ride, in a contest, on a Ferris wheel, in a tree...until the day it flies away, borne aloft by balloons, and lands in a garden of daffodils where a familiar face finds it. 

A charming, beautifully illustrated read-aloud that follows the adventures of a little chair, beginning as the seat of a small child who loves books and circling back to that child's child many years (and bottoms) later.

*

Polly MacCauley's Finest, Divinest, Wooliest Gift of All, by Sheree Fitch and Darka Erdelji

About the book: From one of Canada's most loved and lauded children's writers comes a new tale about the joy of making things, the strength of community, and the warm reach of generosity. This beautifully illustrated storybook blends poetry and prose, infused with Fitch's trademark wit and playfulness, to tell the story of Polly MacCauley, a bit of a mystery in her community of River John, who spends her time making wondrous things with wool. When Star, a very special lamb, is born on a nearby farm, Polly knows that with Star's wool she can make her 'finest, divinest, wooliest gift of all'. But the greedy Count and Countess of far-off Wooland have learned about the lamb's arrival, too, and are determined to add her to their flock.

Will the good folk of River John join together to see that Star gets to her rightful home? Will Polly be able to finish her masterpiece? Darka Erdelji's gorgeous illustrations have just the right amount of whimsy, perfectly capturing the spirit of Fitch's touching yarn.

*

Up, by Susan Hughes and Ashley Barron

About the book: Around the world, little ones are carried in many different ways: in slings, on shoulders, in backpacks, on hips, in baskets, and in loving arms. Up! depicts ten places around the world, from Afghanistan to northern Canada, Peru to West Africa. In each place, a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling lovingly carries a baby. 

With various family configurations and settings ranging from a busy outdoor market to a high-rise apartment kitchen, the book wholeheartedly celebrates diversity. Gorgeous cut-paper collage art adds warmth and brightness, and brings the lyrical text to life. Repetition of the phrase “Upsy-daisy” on each spread lends familiarity, and reminds readers that love for a little one is a universal feeling.

*

All Around the Circle, by Kara Kansala

About the book: From the creator of The Grumpy Goat Gallery. A visually stunning, often humorous book of verse, All Around the Circle celebrates the landscape and spirit of outport Newfoundland. How did Aunt Maud’s cat manage to sail across the tickle? Why is Heloise the chicken so worried? With a colourful cast of characters, tall tales, and vibrant artwork, Cara Kansala, artist of the wildly popular Grumpy Goat Gallery, offers a tongue-twisting playful read that will delight kids from five to ninety-five.

*

Let's Find Momo, by Andrew Knapp

About the book: He's back! Everyone's favorite hide-and-seek border collie returns in this colorful, kid-friendly photography board book.

Look for Momo hiding on a farm, in a bookstore, at a construction site, and in other unlikely locations (the photos are also loaded with other hidden objects for kids and parents to find together). Perfect for bedtime reading, car trips, playtime, or anytime, Let’s Find Momo is part art book, part puzzle book, and all fun!

*

You Are Three, by Sara O'Leary and Karen Klassen

About the book: Life’s third year is full of milestones: learning ABCs, making friends, playing make-believe, and having real conversations. The final book in this series, You Are Three, looks back on each of these memorable achievements and more, inviting little ones to celebrate how much they have grown and discovered. 

Supersaturated ink-and-wash illustrations in a striking palette lend a contemporary, whimsical feel to the book while the diverse children pictured add to the text’s warmth and broad appeal. You Are Three is a timely gift for toddlers and their parents, who will enjoy reflecting on the highlights of the third year and expressing how much their child is loved.

*

By the Time You Read This, by Jennifer Lanthier and Patricia Storms

About the book: Oscar is penning the ultimate break—up letter to his former Partner in Adventure and now Sworn Mortal Enemy. No more Time Travel Tower of Ultimate Power. Or Precarious Portal for Intrepid Explorers. Is their friendship doomed to destruction along with the world of imagination that the two have built together?

Set in an inner-city apartment complex and filled with humour, By the Time You Read This is a story that acknowledges the emotional rollercoaster that defines some childhood friendships and the importance of empathy and forgiveness in keeping those friendships strong.

*

The Alphabet Thief, by Bill Richardson and Roxanna Bikadoroff

About the book: The alphabet thief stole all of the B’s, and all of the bowls became owls…

When night falls, along comes a peculiar thief who steals each letter of the alphabet, creating a topsy-turvy world as she goes. It seems that no one can stop her, until the Z’s finally send her to sleep so that all the other letters can scamper back to where they belong.

Bill Richardson’s zany rhymes and Roxanna Bikadoroff’s hilarious illustrations will delight young readers with the silly fun they can have with language—and may even inspire budding young writers and artists to create their own word games.

*

Stop Feedin' Da Boids, by James Sage and Pierre Pratt

About the book: When Swanda first moves to Brooklyn from the country, she misses the wildlife she left behind. But not for long. “Oh, look! What dear little birds!” Swanda says to her dog when she notices all the pigeons outside her apartment. “Come, Waldo, we'll get them a bird feeder all their own.” It's fun to watch the pigeons flock to the feeder, at first. But then more arrive ... and more ... and more. And before she knows it, there are too many pigeons! Swanda seeks some “Sound Practical Advice” from a few experts—a pest control officer, the keeper of birds at the city zoo and an exotic bird fancier from Peru—but that gets her nowhere. So her neighbors step in with their own Brooklynese solution: “SWANDA, YOU GOTTA STOP FEEDIN' DA BOIDS!” 

Author James Sage's funny picture book explores what happens when a nature-loving girl meets city birds. The playful, vibrant artwork by award-winning illustrator Pierre Pratt offers its own comic narrative. Readers are in on the havoc below the bird feeder that Swanda doesn't see. This book makes a terrific choice for a humorous, entertaining read-aloud. It would also work as an introduction to social studies lessons on urban versus rural communities, and on accents and dialects. It would easily launch a life sciences discussion on how species adapt and survive in urban habitats as well.

Town is By the Sea, by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith

About the book: A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather’s grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner with his family, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith, the award-winning illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers, show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig.

With curriculum connections to communities and the history of mining, this beautifully understated and haunting story brings a piece of Canadian history to life. The ever-present ocean and inevitable pattern of life in a Cape Breton mining town will enthrall children and move adult readers.

May 4, 2017
Books mentioned in this post
Up!

Up!

How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones
by Susan Hughes
illustrated by Ashley Barron
edition:Hardcover
More Info
Let's Find Momo!

Let's Find Momo!

A Hide-and-Seek Board Book
edition:Hardcover
tagged : dogs, photography
More Info
comments powered by Disqus

X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...