The Picture Books I’ve Been Reading

You guys all know I’m a Youth Services Librarian, right? I mostly read YA and MG, but I also read a ton of picture books (through story time or just my own time) because I spend a lot of time recommending books to patrons. I adore picture books. Before I started working in the library, I never read them, but there’s something about the sweet messages, adorable illustrations, and short page length that is wonderfully satisfying and calming to read. SO here are a few picture books I’ve read recently:

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield MartinThe Wonderful Things You Will Be – Written and illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin (Find it on Goodreads)
Published August 25th, 2015 by Random House Books for Young Readers

I checked this one out because I adore the cover. The illustrations inside are just as gorgeous and fanciful. I’m not a mom (yet) but I can just imagine reading this one with my future child – what wonderful things will they be when they grow up? A book about all the amazing possibilities a child has. The Wonderful Things You Will Be is sweet, gentle, and lovely. And seriously, I could frame some of the illustrations. They’re gorgeous.

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea BeatyRosie Revere, Engineer – Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Published September 3rd, 2013 by Harry N. Abrams

Inspiring and fun. “The only true failure can come if you quit.” This book is about the importance of failing but continuing to go on, continuing to try, and I really love that message. It’s all about having confidence in yourself and what you want even in the face of ridicule and failure. It’s a quick, fun read, but definitely powerful. Plus, it’s got some GREAT illustrations.

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea BeatyIggy Peck, Architect – Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Published October 1st, 2007 by Harry N. Abrams

This one is written by the same team who wrote Rosie Revere, Engineer. After I read that one, I HAD to read this one too. Iggy Peck, Architect is a really cute story with some seriously cool illustrations. It’s not exactly one I would read in story time at the library as there are some parts where the text is rather long, but this one would be perfect for some one-on-one reading with the little builder in your life. A great story about not giving up and doing the things you love.

(Thanks so much to Emma at Miss Print for recommending the last two books to me!)

Waiting on Wednesday: The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver JeffersPublisher: Philomel Books
Author: Drew Daywalt / Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Release date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The companion to the #1 blockbuster bestseller, The Day the Crayons Quit!

I’m not sure what it is about this kid Duncan, but his crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters! Having soothed the hurt feelings of one group who threatened to quit, Duncan now faces a whole new group of crayons asking to be rescued. From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away—each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.

Why I’m excited: I LOVED THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT AND THIS IS THE SEQUEL!!  Like, how do I even put into words how much I want to read this one? More Crayons, more Jeffers’ illustrations, more CRAYONS. New colors and new letters! The Day the Crayons Quit was my favorite picture book from last year. I’m ready to read my favorite for this year.

Children’s Book Review: The Squickerwonkers by Evangeline Lilly, illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen

When I saw that Evangeline Lilly was writing a book, I got pretty excited. I loved her in Lost (my favorite TV show) and The Hobbit movies. The summary of The Squickerwonkers was full of delicious made up words, mischief, and marionettes. What’s not to like? I ordered it for my library, and then checked it out before anyone else could. Whoops.

The Squickerwonkers, Volume 1Selma of the Rin-Run Royals is a clever, but very spoiled little girl who finds herself at a marionette show – The Squickerwonker show – full of interesting characters, including Greer the Greedy (a kleptomaniac who hides her treasure in her hair), Andy the Arrogant (a gorgeous man who’s dumb as a brick), and Gillis the Gluttonous (with “a body of doughnuts and pie.” Haha!). Selma throws a tantrum when one of the Squickerwonkers pops her balloon, and what follows is definitely not what Selma bargained for.

This is not a book for a very young child, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. I’d recommend this to somewhat older children (maybe 6 and up or so), who’ll be able to understand what a horrible little girl Selma is. Younger children might get scared at the illustrations. It’s a book perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman. Personally, I love that the story is creepy and dark and I think kids will appreciate it too.

I enjoyed the story, but the illustrations were what sold me. They are imaginative, colorful (but colored in dark hues, like browns, reds, greens, and purples), detailed, and strange painted illustrations. Fraser-Allen has worked on Stephen Spielberg’s Tintin and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit Trilogy, which goes to show how talented he is. The book is imaginative and wonderfully illustrated; it is certainly different from a lot of picture books these days, but in the best way. I’ll be looking forward to the sequel.

Publication info:

The Squickerwonkers
Written by Evangeline Lilly; illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen
Published by Titan Books; November 18, 2014
32 pages (hardcover)