Reading is a lovely way to escape reality, and reading picture books to children of almost any age will surely amuse them. Here are some new and not-quite-so-new choices to cheer up the housebound group.
The picture book “Snack Attack!” by Terry Border disappeared from my house shortly after its arrival. My almost-four-year-old grandson stole it because he couldn’t bear for it to leave his hands. He says he loves this story about three snacks, a cheese puff, a pretzel stick, and a pink sugar wafer, because they are yummy. These three snack friends escape from their packaging and go on an adventure in the kitchen, even “boating” on a pond, which clever readers will recognize as a sudsy sink, with tea cups, and popsicle stick oars. Each character has arms, legs, and glasses made from paper clips. When the snacks see a note from Mom to her son, advising him that she’s left some snacks for him, they realize that they are in danger! What to do? They come up with a clever plan. Will it work? Do the snacks evade their ultimate trip down someone’s gullet? Read the story and find out! Terry Border also has written many other popular children’s picture books including “Big Brother Peanut Butter” featured in Nine Fabulous Books for Children’s Gifts. (Philomel Books)
“Love, Sophia on the Moon” by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Mika Song is a sweet and humorous book about a girl named Sophia, who feels unjustly punished and has run away to the moon. From her faraway place, Sophia writes notes to her mom about a place where there are no time-outs and no bedtime. Her mom writes her back, notes which seem almost matter-of-fact, but which are actually brilliant. She wishes Sophia the best, and tells her that someone who ran away from the moon is now staying in Sophia’s bed. Mom is making Sophia’s favorite dinner for their guest and they plan to read Sophia’s favorite book at bedtime. Mom hopes that Sophia is having a great time on the moon. Through their notes, the mutual love that Mom and Sophia share comes through, and Sophia does, indeed, decide to return from her journey. The illustrations are filled with light and are quite simple, with black outlines and expressive faces and even cows (the ones who jump over the moon). Arguing, making mistakes, and making up are all discussion topics that will come naturally after reading this book. (Disney-Hyperion)
It’s teacher appreciation week as I write this, and a lovely paean to teachers is the picture book “I Love My Teacher” by Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd. The bright red cover shows the teacher and student reading a book together. The simple rhyming text is all about awesome teachers and having fun at school. Right now, students will think nostalgically about the days when they actually saw the teacher face-to-face instead of on a computer screen. The time when a teacher could give incoming students a gentle hug and when they could play on the playground at recess. The illustrations are filled with bright colors and lots of things that kids will love to identify, from the ropes on the playground to the guitar the teacher uses during music and the rocket ship that the student created. This sweet picture book will have students excited about returning to school as normal at some point in the future, and happy to see their teachers during the few weeks of zoom meetings that remain in this school year. (Disney-Hyperion Books)
And a picture book that also functions as a beginning-to-read book is “What About Worms!?” by the fabulous Ryan T. Higgins, author and illustrator of the Bruce books (“Mother Bruce,” “Hotel Bruce,” “Be Quiet!” “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates!” and “Bruce’s Big Move.” In “What About Worms!?” Higgins joins with Mo Willems to create this new addition to Willems’ much-enjoyed “Elephant & Piggie Like Reading” series. Here we meet Tiger, who is terribly afraid of worms. So afraid, in fact, that he tosses away the pot filled with the flowers he loves because he realizes that there might be — horrors! — worms in the dirt. Similarly, he tosses a delicious apple, and even a book he thinks is about worms! Kids will love that, in fact, things are not what they appear to be in this clever tale of turning tables. They will also learn that worms can be adorable! (Hyperion Books for Children)
Be sure to read all the “Pandemic-perfect picture book” roundups for more spot-on suggestions. “Pandemic-perfect picture books Part Two: We’ve Gone to the Dogs,” and “Pandemic-perfect picture books Part Three: Four “beary” adorable books,” “Pandemic-perfect picture books Part Four: Books about feelings and self-care,” and “Pandemic-perfect picture books Part Five: Nonfiction picture books.”
Please note: This review is based on books provided by the publishers for review purposes.