Feast for the eyes: A baker's dozen of new picture books for kids
Kids' books: A roundup of new picture books includes Carl, the baby-sitting Rottweiler; Chester, the hilariously egotistical cat; Captain Small Pig, who heads out in rowboat with his friends; and more.
Scripps Howard News Service
Young readers will enjoy this baker's dozen of new picture books:
• Author-artist Kevin Henkes has created an exquisitely illustrated new picture book titled "My Garden" (Greenwillow, $17.99). Henkes, winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal for "Kitten's First Full Moon," tells the story of a little girl who helps her mother in the family garden. As she works, the girl's imagination blooms with possibilities for her own special garden: chocolate rabbits, flowers that change color, a "great big jelly bean bush," tomatoes "as big as beach balls" and "invisible" carrots because "I don't like carrots." Henkes' bright pastel palette emphasizes the young narrator's creativity and enthusiasm. Kids will love the young narrator's well-imagined garden, which grows more beguiling with each turn of the page, and they'll giggle at the fanciful flourish that concludes the book. (Ages 3-6.)
• Canines caper through the pages of author-illustrator Emily Gravett's entertaining "Dogs" (Simon & Schuster, $15.99). Gravett's spare text makes an entertaining counterpoint to her illustrations, where dogs of all shapes and sizes leap, lope, growl, bark and just generally have a blast. Even readers who aren't dog devotees won't be able to resist this book, while canine lovers will be in heaven. (Ages 3-6.)
• Fans of Chester, the hilariously egotistical cat who stars in author-illustrator Melanie Watt's picture books, will be thrilled to know he's in top form in "Chester's Masterpiece" (Kids Can, $18.95). Once again, Chester's trying to write his own book, and he's hidden Watt's art supplies and computer mouse so she can't interfere. As usual, the story focuses on the comical bickering between Chester and Watt, whose contributions are printed on what look like yellow sticky notes placed on the book's pages. Like the other "Chester" books, the whimsical interplay between the author and her character makes "Chester's Masterpiece" a book that both adults and kids will enjoy. (Ages 4-7.)
• In his latest book, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka puts aside his paintbrushes, instead providing the rollicking text for "Hip Hop Dog" (Harper, $16.99), whose illustrations are done by Vladimir Radunsky. Raschka's story tells of a mutt who's the "saddest and the baddest"because no one seems to want him. When he discovers his ability to create hip-hop poetry, however, life brightens as dogs come from all over to hear him perform. Raschka's well-paced text is perfectly matched by Radunsky's colorful, offbeat artwork. (Ages 4-8.)
• Small Pig is up for adventure with his friends Old Goat and Turkey, so the trio heads out in a small rowboat one day. Small Pig is thrilled by the wonders of the lake and all goes well until Turkey ends up in the water when Old Goat mistakenly tips the boat. By that time, however, Small Pig is fast asleep, exhausted from his adventure. Author Martin Waddell, winner of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen prize for children's literature, tells an affectionate, reassuring story in "Captain Small Pig" (Peachtree $15.95). Susan Varley's watercolors highlight the cozy world created by Waddell. (Ages 3-6.)
• Author-illustrator G. Brian Karas offers a fresh take on Greek mythology in "Young Zeus" (Scholastic, $17.99). Karas focuses on Zeus' boyhood, showing what happens when Zeus frees his quarrelsome siblings from the belly of their father and banishes the Titans to the underworld. Karas' distinctive artistic style works well in "Young Zeus," especially as he contrasts the pint-sized Zeus with the Cyclops and other larger-than-life Greek characters. (Ages 4-8.)
• In "The Bicklebys' Birdbath" (Atheneum, $16.99), author Andrea Perry joins with illustrator Roberta Angaramo to tell a rowdy tale of how a girl with a "long leaky hose" sets off a chain reaction that ends with the mailman in a birdbath. Perry's text will have readers chanting as they turn the pages, while Angaramo's illustrations add to the hilarity. (Ages 3-6.)
• Fans of Carl, the baby-sitting Rottweiler, will delight in his newest adventure, "Carl's Snowy Afternoon" (Farrar Strauss Giroux, $12.99), written and illustrated by Alexandra Day of Seattle.
• For a totally different take on winter, try author-illustrator Kazuno Kohara's effervescent "Here Comes Jack Frost" (Roaring Brook, $12.99). (Both books ages 3-6.)
And check out these other fun picture books, all for ages 3-6:
• "Boom Bah!" (Kane Miller, $15.99), written by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Nina Rycroft;
• "Black Magic" (Henry Holt, $15.99), written by Dinah Johnson and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie;
• "Hot Rod Hamster" (Scholastic, $16.99), written by Cynthia Lord and illustrated by Derek Anderson;
• "A Very Big Bunny" (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99), written and illustrated by Marisabina Russo.
Karen MacPherson, the children's/teen librarian at the Takoma Park, Md., Library, can be reached at Kam.Macpherson@gmail.com.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.