Kids and creativity go together like peanut butter and jelly, and many children love reading picture books about fantasy creatures. In these books, children will learn about the different kinds of fantasy creatures, learn about manners, and learn about the “fact” that even fairy godmothers can make mistakes.
“I’m a Gnome” by Jessica Peill-Meininghaus and illustrated by Poly Bernatene is the perfect picture book to read first because in this clever creation, kids (and adult readers) learn all about the difference between gnomes, trolls, elves, fairies, and dwarves. It all starts when we meet a gnome who offers to accompany us to the Gnome Festival. He kindly spells gnome for us, explaining that the “G” in gnome is silent, and he doesn’t know why. When elves are seen on the way, our gnome friend explains the different between gnomes and elves: “Elves crack jokes and have pointy ears. And just look at his striped leggings. Do you see me wearing stripes?” (illustration of gnome in striped pajamas) “Okay, maybe sometimes. But long johns don’t really count.” And so on. Every time our gnome guide points out the differences between the magical creatures, there’s something that contradicts what he’s saying. Kids will love to point out those very contradictions. Over and over. The illustrations will give the readers something to examine, and each time readers see the book, they will find new things to look at. (Crown Books for Young Readers)
“Goldilocks for Dinner: A Funny Book about Manners” by Susan McElroy Montanari and Jake Parker stars Goblin and Troll (after reading the aforementioned book, kids will know the difference!) who are heading to town for tea, hoping they don’t meet any rude, smelly children along the way. While they commiserate about how horrible children are, Goblin has an idea. “Let’s find the rudest child of all and have it for dinner!” he exclaims. And Troll agrees. But finding which of many nursery rhyme and fairy tale children is the rudest is challenging — and teaches readers a bit about manners, too. Readers will love the twist at the end! (Schwartz & Wade)
“Once Upon a Goat” by Dan Richards and Eric Barclay is the charming story of a king and queen who are very proper. They live in a perfectly ordered, beautiful castle with not one thing out of place. When their fairy godmother visits and asks them what they desire, they respond that they want to start a family. “We’re not particular,” the queen tells the fairy godmother, “Glowing skin, bright eyes, and hair like ocean waves should do.” The king adds that he’d love a boy, but any kid would do. And on the night of the full moon, they find a baby goat outside their door. But when the goat wreaks havoc on their beautifully ordered castle, they banish him. On a rainy night. Readers will love the king and queen’s change of heart, and also the sweet twist at the end. Really sweet. Worth reading over and over. On sale August 27, 2019, so preorder now. (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Please note: These reviews are based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publishers for review purposes.