I Don’t Want to Be a Frog is the book the Wall Street Journal calls, “…a paean to self-acceptance wrapped in snappy dialogue and illustrated with richly colored comic paintings by Mike Boldt.” This book is a perfect read aloud for classrooms and libraries. In case you missed it in our picture book brochure, here’s an adorable storytime craft to go along with it.
If that wasn’t enough for goofy animals, Julia Sarcone-Roach has a gorgeous new picture book that will satisfy your craving. For books that is, because as you’ll find out, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich. Take a peek inside to find out what happened to your sandwich and the bear!
Most children know that Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. He engineered the Louisiana Purchase. Now, thanks to Jon Meacham’s children’s adaptation of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, they will learn about America’s third president as a charming politician and a sentimental Renaissance man with many interests—in agriculture and cuisine, the fine arts, architecture, painting, sculpture, literature, music, natural history, and science. And also as a man of contradictions—a slave-owner and an eloquent statesman who wrote so passionately about equality and the pursuit of happiness. Meacham’s biography offers a fascinating portrait of Jefferson as a political strategist navigating the birth of a nation and the tumultuous political times in which he lived.
Today we’re thrilled to share a glimpse inside of Brush of the Gods, a new picture book by Lenore Look, illustrated by Meilo So. If both of those names sound familiar to you, it’s because they’re both celebrated talents. Lenore is the author of the beloved Alvin Ho series, as well as several acclaimed picture books, including Henry’s First-Moon Birthday, Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding (both of which received three starred reviews and were named ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Books!) and, recently, Polka Dot Penguin Pottery. Meilo previously illustrated such gorgeous, evocative titles as Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs, Janet Schulman’s Pale Male, and Antoine ÓFlatharta’s Hurry and the Monarch.
Brush of the Gods tells the life story of Wu Daozi (689-758), widely considered to be China’s greatest painter, who lived during the T’ang Dynasty—with an imaginative spin. When an old monk attempts to teach young Daozi about the ancient art of calligraphy, his brush rebels. Instead of characters, it drips dancing peonies and flying Buddhas. Soon, others are admiring his unbelievable creations on the walls around the city… and one day his art actually comes to life.
What makes this book so special is that it can be introduced to children on many different levels: as a introduction to Chinese culture, as a look at an incredible artist, and a meditation on the importance of creativity and occasionally straying outside of the lines. Though the story takes a fantastical turn, Lenore consulted translations of T’ang poetry and essays in order to piece together Daozi’s life. The combination of her careful research and Meilo’s eye-catching, fluid art is nothing short of spectacular:
This month we’re ecstatic to be sharing an inside look at Mini Grey’s new picture book, Toys in Space. We’ve been huge fans of Mini’s quirky work from the start–so much so that when her editor, Allison Wortche, presented this title for the first time we had to restrain ourselves from cheering and interrupting the meeting (true story!). From her Traction Man series to Three By the Sea, Mini’s wildly imaginative tales are overflowing laugh-out-loud humor, but all are underscored by real, heartfelt emotion that resonates with kids and adults alike. No surprise, then, that this author-illustrator double threat has racked up over a dozen starred reviews and has been named to countless best-of and state award master lists.
Toys in Space takes place one summer night when a group of toys are left outside for the first time by mistake. The Wonderdoll, the wind-up robot, the thoughtful green dinosaur, and the rest of their rag-tag group can only gaze up at the stars, watching as one seems to grow bigger and brighter than the rest. Pretty soon, the toys discover it’s no star at all, but the spaceship of a lonely alien (who looks suspiciously like a garden glove!) who’s in need of some help, and a few friends. At it’s heart, the story is a silly (not-too-scary!) story about losing–and reuniting with–a beloved toy. Really, it’s the perfect book for any child that loved the Toy Story movies.
Here are a few of our favorite spreads (click to expand each image for a closer look):