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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Delightful December Books

There was NO way I could highlight all the wonderful authors and illustrators and their amazing books which have released this month. So I decided to do a quick shout out for a few of the books I wish I had space for. Each of these books is absolutely worth a read.

Chinese Kite Festival by Richard Lo (Holiday House 12/7/2021) - As beautiful digitally watercolored kites weave across the pages, the billingual text (English and Chinese) introduces the animal's name.

The kites appear so intricately layered, almost three dimensional. The book also explores the Chinese kite festival and then takes the familiar animals (kites) and explains their significance in Chinese culture. For instance, "Bats represent happiness and wealth." It is a fun introduction to this festival and Chinese (or English).

Synopsis: "Animal names and their significance in Chinese culture is beautifully explored for young readers in this stunning book. Simple bilingual text helps teach children animal names in both English and Chinese, and little ones will learn that butterflies are a sign of love, bees signify hard work, and more through the very simple and accessible backmatter. Paired with Rich Lo's vibrant digital watercolors, this simple and practical introduction to Chinese animal names and symbolism is irresistible."

If You Miss Me by Jocelyn Li Langrand (Orchard Books/Scholastic 12/7/2021) - This heartfelt story of a special bond between Charlie and her grandmother, centers around Charlie's love of dance and her Grandmother's delight in watching her. Using a beautiful refrain - "If you miss me, look at the moon. I will do the same," and the repeated image of a train, the book explores Charlie's move to the city, Grandma's declining health, and her death. Although raw and heart-wrenching, it is a touchingly honest look at a child coming to terms with death and re-discovering a love for dance. The ending image is stunning!

Synopsis: "A healing story of loss and love, this beautiful picture book reminds us that the people who mean the most to us are always with us.

Charlie loves to dance her way through life with her grandma. They may not always be together, but each time they part Grandma says, "If you miss me, look at the moon." Then winter brings unexpected change, and not even dancing feels the same. What will Charlie do? Will Grandma come to see her dance again? In the biggest show of the year, Charlie finds her answer. This tender exploration of loss from debut author-illustrator Jocelyn Li Langrand illuminates the boundless power of love to help and heal."

Little Forest Keepers by Mary Lundquist (Balzer + Bray 12/7/2021) - Two little gnome brothers take care of everything in the forest, knitting scarves and hats for all the animals. One snowy day, after wrapping trees in scarves, they spot and unusually big, round shape. Curious they climb it. But the discovery of a face sends them scurrying for safety. This sweet story of new friendships is a perfect winter break read with its reminder not to judge by first impressions. And a delightful book for kids who like making snowmen and winter bird treats.

Synopsis: "Ash and Pudd take care of everyone in the woods, from their furry and feathered friends to the shivering trees. But then one day, a strange new creature appears in the forest. Could it be a new friend?

This story about kindness and generosity is as cozy and sweet as a mug of hot chocolate on a chilly day."

The Goldilocks Zone: Real Facts About Outer Space by Drew Sheneman (Harper Collins 12/14/21) - When a scientist interrupts Goldilocks and Baby Bear's porridge tasting, he offers to show them why Earth is so special in our solar system. With a mix of cartoon characters, speech bubbles, nonfiction narrative, occasional sidebars, and funny images, this book is an entertaining way to learn about the characteristics of the other planets in the solar system and why Earth is so rare and needs to be protected.

Synopsis: "For as long as people have stared up to the stars, we’ve wondered if there could be life on other planets. But the truth is that life can’t survive anywhere else in our solar system. Venus is way too hot. Neptune is w-a-a-a-ay too cold. And don’t even get us started on Uranus.

But there’s more to Earth than just having the perfect temperature that makes it the best place in the known universe to live. What makes Earth so special? Join Goldilocks and her best friend, Baby Bear, on an interstellar adventure to learn all about our solar system in this informative, hilarious, and 100 percent factual nonfiction picture book by award-winning author, illustrator, and cartoonist Drew Sheneman."


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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