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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Notable November 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.

Oops! I missed an amazing one from October - so, I'm going to sneak it in before the November books.

The Children's Moon by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Jim LaMarche (Scholastic Press 10/19/2021) - A stunningly illustrated original pourquoi tale of the moon's intense longing to see the world as the sun sees it. While she loves the aurora borealis, night time creatures, and the stars, her biggest desire is to see the children awake and playful. Learning there are other stars - only seen at night - sun strikes a deal. It is such a fun way to explain eclipses and I love the idea that the moon we see at times during the day, is called - The Children's Moon. A definite must-read.

Synopsis: "There once was a time when the sun alone ruled the day, the moon graced the night, and little children were sent to bed before sunset. Then early one dawn, the moon heard sounds of children laughing, and she yearned to see them by daylight.

"Certainly not!" snapped the sun. "The day is mine. The night is yours!"

But the moon had a clever plan...

Carmen Agra Deedy and Jim LaMarche have brilliantly crafted an original pourquoi tale about finding one's place in the universe."

Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Macmillan 11/2/2021) - When this dynamic duo creates a book, it's usually a marvel. But when they revisit a beloved set of characters! Oh my gosh this is an amazing book. Erin's soft, detailed signature illustrations, so full of nuances and nuggets, beautifully enhance Philip's touching tale of friendship, surprises, and the continuing reminder that friends help each other. A stupendous sequel and a great book in its own right. Don't miss this one!

Synopsis: "Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, is very considerate and always on time. But after a late night planning a surprise for all his friends, Amos is tired. So tired, in fact, that he falls asleep during breakfast and misses his bus to the zoo!

Now he knows he won't have time for the surprise he planned for his friends. Unless... perhaps his friends can step in and help him out.

Ten years after the phenomenally successful, Caldecott Medal-winning classic, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, we are reunited with the gang in a brand new, heartwarming story from acclaimed author Philip C. Stead and award-winning illustrator, Erin E. Stead."

Room For Everyone by Naaz Khan, illustrated by Mercè López (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books 11/9/2021) - This is a gorgeously illustrated, rhyming romp of a counting book set in Zanzibar. Two fun refrains and great word choices make this such a joy to read aloud. As each new passenger and their paraphernalia "wiggle...giggle...and wriggle" onto the bus, kids will enjoy trying to figure how there's always "room for everyone" meet until they finally reach the beach.

Synopsis: "The dala dala rumbles and roars as Musa and Dada drive off to the shore—but the bus stops for multiple detours: “Do you need a ride? It’s hotter than peppers out there in the sun! Come in, there’s room for everyone!”

One stop becomes two stops which soon becomes ten, and Musa wonders when it will end: “How can any more people get in? We’re already smushed like sardines in a tin!” But there's always room for one more, if you make the room, which is the heartwarming take-away from this bouncy, joyous tale in rhyme."

I Am Odd, I Am New by Benjamin Giroux, illustrated by Roz MacLean (Schiffer Kids 11/16/2021) - Roz MacLean did a great job of bringing to life a very poignant poem written as a school project when Benjamin was 10-years-old. It is a wonderful plea for everyone to acknowledge that each person's individual uniqueness should be celebrated and nurtured. Not teased and ostracized. Since, after all, we are all different and "new" to this earth. It's a touching story everyone should read. Both for reassurance and for some serious soul searching.

Synopsis: "Through the eyes of 10-year-old Benjamin Giroux, being odd is different, and different is a good thing. This is what the then fifth-grader hoped to convey in his poem, beginning every few sentences with "I am,” about what it is like to live with autism. Inspired by a school assignment, Benjamin’s raw and emotional words poured out onto the page, but when he feared they were not any good, his parents shared the poem with friends and family. Little did they know that it would go viral and end up inspiring thousands of strangers who identified with him to share their support. Now for the first time, Benjamin’s iconic poem "I Am Odd, I Am New," comes to life in this lovingly illustrated picture book with a foreword written by the National Autism Association. So whether you know the poem, or it is new to you, discover how Benjamin's honesty will reassure children of all ages that it's okay to be different."

Jan Brett's The Nutcracker by Jan Brett (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 11/16/2021) - One of my favorite author/illustrators, I have adored all of her books. I was so excited to see her illustrate this tale. True to her signature style, threads of the story occur along the sides, including stings of music notes and lively animal musicians. Additionally, the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy is quintessentially Jan Brett. I adore the dancing Russian Bears. This is a great addition to holiday collections - and fun to look at all year round.

Synopsis: "Jan Brett’s striking illustrations and the Christmas classic The Nutcracker are a match made in picture book heaven.

When Marie and her brother Fritz receive a special Christmas nutcracker from their uncle, Marie immediately feels something magical. “He looks like a real boy,” she mused. “A real boy with a secret, who came from far away.”

This feeling is only the beginning of the epic adventure she goes on with the Nutcracker—into the cabinet, through the battle with the mice, and finally to the magical land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Jan Brett makes this classic her own by setting it in snowy Russia and adding whimsical touches to the favorite elements of the traditional ballet. Enjoying this book will be an instant Christmas tradition for families who love the ballet and those new to the story.

Solitary Animals: Introverts of the Wild by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Dominque Ramsey (Penguin Random House 2/22/2021) - Intermixed with a familiar and perhaps unfamiliar - such as a "fever of stingrays - collective nouns of animal groups, Joshua and Dominque highlight and honor the animals who prefer to be alone. With a humorous voice - "But what do you call a group of octopuses? A tangle of octopuses? A chandelier of octopuses? A multipus of octopuses?" - and bold, vivid illustrations, this is a fun nonfiction book on animals, with an underlying message that it's okay to like being alone.

Synopsis: "Celebrate the beauty and strength of solitude with this poetic observation of the animal kingdom and those who move through it on their very own.

This lyrical, nonfiction text honors animals who live in solitude, in contrast to others who live in groups. Against a backdrop of the specific names of various animal tribes (a parade of elephants, a tower of giraffes, a dazzle of zebras), Stein shines a spotlight on those animals who go through life on their own. With nature at his back, Stein invites readers to draw strength and comfort from the behaviors of fellow animals. Perfect for children who are introverted or tend to be alone, and their parents…as well as all children, who will be encouraged to respect the “natural” choices of their peers."


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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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