If you like comics, dogs, and the end of times, Apocalypse Bow Wow might be for you. It’s one I could imagine would appeal to the very reluctant reader, as there is very little to read on each page, yet the book is fairly thick so you can feel like you’ve really accomplished something by finishing it. The story is thin: the apocalypse has come and gone, leaving all pets, including the two clueless goofs on the cover, to fend for themselves and find their own dinner. But the relatively weak plot didn’t really bother me. The book’s appeal comes through its characters and its humor.
V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is wonderful–richly imagined and lushly written, with compelling world building and memorable characters. The perfect novel to sink into–made even better by the fact that it’s the first in a series!
A Piece of Home, written by Jeri Watts and illustrated by Hyewon Yum, is a sweet story of a family who moves from Korea to West Virginia, told through the eyes of a young boy who struggles to understand where he fits in now that he must learn a new culture, language, and place. This is a quiet story that seems best suited for more mature readers.
Deborah Hopkinson has another winner in Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig. Part fact and part fiction (the author’s note at the end makes it clear where she used her imagination), this story depicts a young Beatrix Potter as a rather hapless animal lover: she adores animals, but she doesn’t have the best luck keeping them alive, as her poor neighbor discovers after loaning Beatrix a guinea pig. Hopkinson borrows the format of a story letter from Potter herself; for me, the direct address to the reader only intensified this story’s charm. Charlotte Voake’s illustrations are delightful.
A Beetle Is Shy is another eye-poppingly gorgeous nonfiction picture book from author Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrator Sylvia Long. It’s hard to imagine the reader who wouldn’t fall for this series. Aston’s text is both poetic and informative, balancing beauty of language with clarity of information. And Long’s illustrations are stunning: you look at one spread thinking you’re looking at the best illustration in the book, then you turn the page and discover something even more dazzling.
My son would like you all to know that Pink Is for Blobfish is NOT a good book to read at breakfast. Not all the animals are gross, but at least a few of them do have an ick factor that might disturb the squeamish during mealtimes. This is a fun nonfiction picture book featuring photos and lots of interesting information about animals that happen to be pink.
Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s Every Day Birds is a simple and elegant poem highlighting common North American birds. Each page features a different bird with a very short poem capturing its essence or nature. The entire poem is printed in its entirety at the back, and there is also helpful back matter adding additional information about each bird. Dylan Metrano’s cut paper illustrations are lovely.
Flutter & Hum is a wonderful collection of animal poems written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. What makes this book extra special is that it’s a dual language title with poems in both English and Spanish. A new favorite poetry collection for me.