7 picture books with quirky animal characters are a great choice for young readers

Here are seven fabulous picture books with quirky animals – have fun!

There is no such thing as too many picture books on the bookshelf. They are created to bring joy to young and old because often, adults or older readers are the ones sharing the picture books by reading them aloud. Wonderful authors and illustrators work to make books that will be enjoyed by everyone.

hoo hoo who“Hoo Hoo Who” by Mary Maier and Lauren Horton is not just an adorable picture book about an owl whose glasses are broken. He can’t see who is coming to Mouse’s birthday party, so he asks, “Hoo hoo are you?” The hints include yellow feathers, splashy feet and the phrase, “Quack quack with their smiling little beak.” This picture book has lovely illustrations and clever text that will encourage expressive language in young children. Speech pathologist and author Lauren Horton also provides materials on the publisher’s website and blog.  (Building Block Press)

Another animal-filled picture book about a birthday party is “Ten Rules of the Birthday 10 rulesWish” by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. The book is filled with clever text and illustrations from the tiny hands showing how many ten is (hint: This many) to the rules themselves. Rule No. 1: It must be your birthday. Rule No. 3 is a special favorite of this reviewer: “You must have cake or cannoli or cream puffs or churros.” Although it is also agreed that the dessert can start with other letters like P or B or I, other rules include candles and singing. The illustrations are bright and colorful with lots of white space so the animals and their wonderful expressions really pop out. This is a wonderful book to give as a birthday present, or get before a child’s birthday so that he or she knows just what to expect and just how to blow out those candles and make a wish. (Shhh, don’t tell what the wish is!) Seriously, you will ‘wish’ you had this book for your child! (Putnam)

goose egg“The Goose Egg” by Liz Wong is perfect for fans of “Mother Bruce.” In this softer version, Henrietta the elephant loves the peace and quiet of her home. She sips tea and reads the newspaper and swims in the lake. But during one swim, she ends up bumping into a post in the water. And when she leaves the water with a bump on her head, she assumes it’s a goose egg from her bump, not a real goose egg. But it’s a real goose egg, and by the time Henrietta realizes it, the egg has hatched, and the baby has imprinted on Henrietta as her mom. Life will never be the same again. This sweet and touching tale will become a favorite to read over and over. (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

In “Fear the Bunny,” Richard T. Morris takes William Blake’s “The Tyger” poem and turnsfear the bunny it on its head. A tiger wanders into a clearing and sees the forest animals reading a nighttime poem. But it begins, “Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright, in the forests of the night…” and he interrupts to exclaim that they have it all wrong. It’s supposed to be the tiger, the fiercest and scariest animal of the forest. The other animals try to warn him as he ridicules the idea that bunnies can be anything but cute and fluffy, but sometimes you need to see it with your own eyes. The illustrations by Priscilla Burris are perfect for this story. They are almost cartoon-like, with thick charcoal lines and simple drawings of the animals, and it all works together beautifully. This might just become a classic that your young ones want to hear each night! (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books for Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

book hogNo one combines humorous illustrations and a fabulous story like Greg Pizzoli, and “The Book Hog” is no exception. Even the cover, with its bright coral and sea green colors, seems to beckon readers to open the book. The Book Hog is a tough-looking motorcycle-riding book lover. He is also a book hoarder, and he loves everything about books from their smell to the way the pages feel. But he also has a deep, dark secret — he can’t read. Readers will  learn that Book Hog, sadly, has to go to sleep every night without a bedtime story. But Book Hog finds something that changes his life — a library! And this book has an incredibly lovely and happy ending that will please everyone from the youngest reader to the oldest (librarian). The illustrations are simple and continue the coral and green theme, with endpapers filled with dots in those colors, and a special surprise on the back endpaper. Check it out! (Disney-Hyperion)

A book that is the ideal read for future lovers of “Captain Underpants,” Jenn Harney underwearpresents “Underwear!” This is not great literature, folks. But little ones will giggle and laugh at the hysterical antics and underwear-filled pages of the bare baby bear and his frustrated father who wants his son in his underwear! From the first endpaper (what else, underwear!) to the last endpaper (what else, the back side of the underpants) the book is filled with joy and silliness and plays on words and everything that one might imagine that makes reading this a joy-filled experience. If it brings you joy to watch a young bear use a pair of underwear for everything but what it is intended for, you won’t be able to read this one just once! (Disney-Hyperion)

great indoors“The Great Indoors” by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Ruth Chan is a perfect-for-animal-lovers picture book about what happens when the forest animals decide to take a vacation together — in a house! Their idea of time away is to spend it at the “great indoors,” where teenage bear can finally put her curling iron and blow-dryer to good use. The beavers bring cartons and cartons of ice cream, and the deer love their karaoke machine. “Goodbye, peace and quiet!” they exclaim. Skunk enjoys being able to flip a switch and get light, and they watch TV, sip cold drinks, and eat the beavers’ wonderful cuisine. But too much togetherness for animals used to large forest spaces doesn’t turn out pretty, and pretty soon the animals miss their own home. The text and illustrations are clever and humorous; and make sure young readers don’t miss seeing the endpapers, which are definitely part of the whole, amusing story. (Disney-Hyperion)

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publishers for review purposes.


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