Tag Archives: children’s picture books

Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm

By Alice and Martin Provensen. Aladdin Books, 2001

Who lives at Maple HIll Farm? People live here. Two dogs and five horses live here. A pig lives here. Then there are — some geese, lots of chickens, a few cows, a few goats, several sheep, and four special cats…

I can’t imagine a better picture book for any animal-loving kid. On each page are illustrations of the dogs, horses, pigs, cats, chickens and goats who live (or used to live) on the author’s real Straatsburg, NY farm, followed by verbal snapshots of their unique personalities. For instance, the big rooster, aptly named Big Shot, doesn’t like children. Willow the cat “is very beautiful, but not very interesting.” And Whiney the sheep is always lost and never knows where the gate is. My kids can look at these gorgeous, simple drawings forever. We’ve decided we all want to live at Maple Hill Farm.

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Iggy Peck, Architect

By Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts

Abrams Books, 2007

Young Iggy Peck is an architect and has been since he was two, when he built a great tower — in only an hour — with nothing but diapers and glue. “Good gracious, Ignacious!” his mother exclaimed. “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” But her smile faded fast as a light wind blew past and she realized those diapers weren’t clean! Continue reading

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Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival

By Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery; Illustrated by Jean Cassels

Walker & Company, 2008

The city of New Orleans, on the mighty Mississippi, is a place many people and pets call home. Jamming with jazz and dressing up fancy for Mardi Gras, it  bustled with life day and night. But on April 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina bore down on the city and everyone who lived there, including a wisp of a cat and one puppy.

Much to the concern of my children, I’m a total sucker for (read: I cry a lot while reading) books about dogs and cats in peril. Two Bobbies fits the bill. Continue reading

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Billy Twitters and his Big Whale Problem

By Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Adam Rex

Disney/Hyperion Books, 2009

Mom says…”Billy Twitters, clean up your room, or we’re buying you a blue whale…” But I’m not worried. See, I know a thing or two about blue whales. I mean, they’re the biggest animals in the world, ever. It’s not like you can just have one delivered to your house overnight.

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McFig & McFly: A Tale of Jealousy, Revenge, and Death (with a Happy Ending)

mcfig

By Henrik Drescher

Candlewick Press, 2008

Far away from anywhere big and important, in a little cozy cottage surrounded by fruit trees and berry bushes, lived McFig and his little daughter, Rosie. One day, a stranger named McFly and his son, Anton, bought the land next door. This was OK with McFig, as long as they weren’t noisy or smelly.

In fact, they’re just the opposite. McFig and McFly have quite a bit in common and get along marvelously. So marvelously in fact, that McFig helps McFly build a cottage exactly like his own. But when McFig also builds a tall tower with his leftover lumber — making his house just a teensy bit bigger and better — so starts a competition that will consume, and eventually end, their lives. Continue reading

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Adele & Simon in America

adele

Written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008

Adele and Simon had traveled all the way from Paris to New York City to visit their Aunt Cecile. But that was just the beginning of their journey. Aunt Cecile was taking them on a train trip around America. The night before their departure, Adele, Simon, and Aunt Cecile were busy packing. Adele spread Simon’s things out on his bed. There was a journal, a pencil box, a cowboy hat, a tin drinking cup, a canteen, a bandanna, a pair of binoculars, a map, a pocketknife, a jacket, a vest, and a pair of bright red suspenders.

…All of which will eventually get lost on their travels, but that’s half of the fun of this book — spotting each item after Adele, Simon, Aunt Ceclie (and the occasional cowpoke) have given up their search. Continue reading

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That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown

emily

Written by Cressida Cowell, Illustrated by Neal Layton

Hyperion Books for Children, 2006

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Emily Brown and an old gray rabbit called Stanley. One day, Emily Brown and Stanley were launching themselves into outer space to look for alien life-forms when there was a rat-a-tat-tat! at the kitchen door. It was the Chief Footman to the Queen. He said, “The Queen has very kindly noticed your rabbit. She would like to have that Bunnywunny.”

Smart girl that Emily Brown is, she says no thank you. (And pointedly reminds the imposing Footman that her rabbit’s name is Stanley, not “Bunnywunny.”) Continue reading

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Leaf

leaf

Ideas, sound effects and pictures by Stephen Michael King

Roaring Book Press, 2008

No running text in this small book, just the occasional sound effect — the snip, snip of a mother’s eager scissors, the pitter, patter, splot of ¬†a trickling shower. But the gorgeously simple drawings do a fine job of telling the story. Continue reading

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Arthur and Guen

arthur

By Jon Koons, Illustrated by Igor Oleynikov

Dutton Children’s Books, 2008

In the days of old, long, long ago, there were kings and knights and castles. There were princesses and dragons. There was heraldry and magic. And there was a boy named Arthur…

Here’s proof (yet again) that you can so judge a book by its cover. The phrase, “An original tale of Young Camelot,” just seals the deal for me. Continue reading

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Dig Ivan Dig!

ivan

By Wendy Ann Gardner

Hyperion, 2002

Four o’clock on the fifth floor, life for Ivan was such a bore. He had space to roam and run, but nothing that he thought was fun. Though his loft was nice and big, all he wanted to do was…dig.

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