A picture book is often the perfect gift for almost any age reader. Some picture books make us laugh, others touch our hearts. Some are entertaining while others inform us. Here are some recent picture books that are perfect to consider as gifts for this holiday season.
First, and definitely most important, is a book about teaching children to love reading. (It brought a tear to my eye.) “Mousie, I Will Read to You” may sound like a lightweight book, but it’s really, really not. Authors Rachael Cole and Melissa Crowton manage to make this story of a mother mouse reading to her baby a primer on how to raise a child who loves to read. A child who, someday, might just become a parent who teaches another generation to love to read. It’s indescribably beautiful and the illustrations are just as sweet and lovely. Don’t miss giving this book to a new parent or your favorite reader. (Schwartz & Wade Books)
“I Am Not a Fox” by Karina Wolf is the sweet story of a dog who doesn’t quite know where he fits in. The other dogs don’t think he looks like a dog, but the foxes don’t think he’s one of them, either. It’s about not fitting in and then finding a place that is home. It’s about not having to look like others and being secure in just how you look. And finally, it’s about unconditional love — and receiving love no matter what your pedigree or look. And that all makes for a sweet picture book. Chuck Groenink’s illustrations keep the burnt-orange fox-like dog at the heart of each page with wonderfully expressive emotions on the faces of the people and animals in the story. ((Putnam Books for Young Readers)
“Harold Loves his Wooly Hat” by Vern Kousky is a perfect picture book for imparting the importance of giving. Harold loves his striped wooly hat and wears it everywhere, even during bath time. His hat sets him apart from the other bears, so when it’s stolen by a crow, he’s angry and determined to get it back. Otherwise, how will the others know he is a special bear? But sometimes, even a beloved hat might become more important — and necessary — to someone else and Harold learns that he’s special with or without his hat. More importantly, he learns that giving to others makes him even more special. It’s a beautiful lesson, indeed. (Schwartz & Wade Books)
“Hansel & Gretel” by Bethan Woollvin is a charming retake on the classic tale. The witch is a good witch who only used good magic. When she finds that there are bread crumbs on the path near her home, she is worried that birds and mice will follow them to her gingerbread home. But although she asks Hansel and Gretel to help her clean up their mess, they refuse — because Hansel and Gretel and not very nice children. Woollvin only uses three colors to illustrate this clever picture book, but the effect is wonderful. The story is clever and will have readers wondering just what makes someone good or evil. Hmmm. (Peachtree Publishers)
“Once Upon a Slime” by Andy Maxwell is a very funny, very clever picture book that is certainly filled with fractured fairy tales from Rapunzel to Goldilocks. Someone is drenching the fairy tale figures with slime, and they all embark on a mission to discover who is to blame. It’s a fairy tale mystery that ends with a very funny twist. Don’t look for deeper meaning here — it’s all about the laughs. (Little, Brown and Company)
“Vampirina in the Snow” by Anne Marie Pace is a new addition to the popular Vampirina series. In this wintery tale, snow has fallen and Vampirina and her family and friends go out one night to enjoy playing in the snow. From sledding to a snowball fight, there are pages filled with snow-filled activities including Vampirina on skates. And just like most of us, after a night filled with outdoor activities, Vampirina enjoys hot cocoa and treats. (Disney-Hyperion Books)
Please note: This is based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publishers for review purposes.