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The Picture Book Buzz

Upcoming Picture Books to Watch For

What a summer full of amazing picture book debuts and releases! Just check out all the great reviews on Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday blog (

Here's a few released from May to June reviewed on this blog: May I Have a Word by Carol Levis; The Crane Girl and Shawn Loves Sharks by Curtis Manley; Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus; Renato and the Lion by Barbara DiLorenzo; Pandora by Victoria Turnbull; and of course, 7 ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar.

Tara's book was also featured by Vivian Kirkfield [], as was Long May She Wave by Kristen Fulton; 5 Little Ducks by Denise Fleming; and Lizzie and Lou Seal by Patricia Keeler. The summer releases also included: She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton; Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney; How to Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan; Under the Silver Moon by Pamela Dalton; and Imagine That by Yasmeen Ismail.

August and September promise to have just as many great picture book releases. Including three from Susanna Hill - When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles (7/11), When Your Lion Needs a Bath (7/11), and The Road That Trucks Built (7/18). And two amazing books by Miranda Paul - The Great Pasta Escape (8/29) and Are We Pears Yet (9/19).

Here's just a hint at Miranda's books:

What happens when pastas discover their ultimate destination?

This is another one of those books that is so clever that you marvel no one has done it before.

The pasta believed that if they behaved and remained strictly separated and properly packaged, they would be rewarded by being sent to a magnificent place. Until, they overhear the plant workers talking about pasta lunches.

An investigation of their packaging proves that they are "toast."

Javier Joaquin's sense of humor is evident in the personalities he gives to the pasta. For instance, a formal, professorial bowtie pasta just screams to be read in with an English accent. In addition, Javier's images of each pasta's dreams of a special place are hysterical and sure to entertain the kids and adults. Who knew we had so much in common with pasta?

Filled with cooking and noodle puns, a heavenly helper, and ingenuity, Miranda and Javier have created a wonderful adventure with an enchanting ending.

Who hasn't heard - "Are We There YET?" Such a common childhood complaint both Nina Laden and Dan Santat created books around this theme.

But what happens when two pear seeds act out their life cycle on stage? Science becomes fun. Kids will enjoy the pear puns, and the banter of the two seeds as they grow into fruit bearing trees. With one seed incessantly asking - "Are we pears, Yet?"

Carin Berger's charming cut paper collages of the cast and props brings the stage and these charming little seeds to life. It feels like an elementary school play, complete with the seasons on sticks.

It's amazing how Miranda Paul can condense plant science into succinct, snappy dialogue and create a play that will appeal to both children and their often-beleaguered parents. Once again, she has created an entertaining book from a complex science concept. Her encore and "5 peary-smart acts" show how pears are like people, wrap it all up, and challenge the kids to go learn more about pears and nature.

I hope you look for the amazing books by Susanna Hill and Miranda Paul due to be released in the next couple of months. They are truly treasures.

*(I received advance reader copies of these books, for purposes of this review. These thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.) *

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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