I’m posted up at the Arlington Central Library today powering through some picture books and a bundle of other tasks–let’s dive in!
What Does Brown Mean to You? by Ron Grady
What a sweet book! A rhyming book taking you through the day of a Black boy looking for all the brown things around him. Not EXPLICITLY racial, but clearly coded to invite that conversation–he is Brown, his family is brown, the dog is brown, but so is soil that feeds their plants, and birds that fly in the sky, etc. I really enjoyed this one! The sparse background of illustrations helped it glide through and didn’t get you stuck studying anything too long.
The Museum of Lost Teeth by Elyssa Friedland, illustrated by Gladys Jose
This was a super cute concept—a tooth, the first to fall out of a kids mouth, narrates his anxiety about being loose, and where he goes: to a tooth museum run by tooth fairies. He tours the museum, etc. However, I found the writing a little…lackluster. It was a bit too “prim and neat and perfect for kids” or at least how a 40 year old might think kids want to be talked to. It didn’t FLOW but the illustrations were great and I’ll still recommend this to kids with loose teeth.
Sometimes It’s Nice to Be Alone by Amy Hest, illustrated by Philip Stead
I was not compelled by this one at all. It had LARGE text ,which I loved, and a chance to flip the book and look from a different angle, but overall the imagination/dreaming element of it that led to her thinking her friends were funky animals like giraffes and dinosaurs was just kind of…meh.
Dim Sum, Here We Come! by Maple Lam
This is a sweet take on the “foodie” picture book–that takes place at a dim sum restaurant. The perspective on the huge, round table is interesting and will be fun for kids–but the core meaning is about sharing, loving family, etc. I didn’t love that the “conversations” were in the same font and un-delineated from description and the rest of the text–that will probably confuse some readers.
The Library Fish Learns to Read by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illustrated by Gladys Jose
This is an adorable, very pro-library picture book–a follow up to Library Fish—but unfortunately, it’s just not really story time geared, even though the plot is! One page of this one is literally full text–it’s kind of crazy, honestly. I love the story, I love the character, and I love to put this in the hands of kids–but unfortunately, it’s not really read-aloud friendly unless you’ve got some very patient second graders.
The Three Little Guinea Pigs by Erica S. Perl and Amy Young.
This is a fun little take on the tale. A slightly older illustration style, but funny, relatable for kids who have guinea pigs as pets, and a familiar style: three little creatures make homes and a fox comes along to eat them, but they’re able to trick him in the end and live happily ever after. It’s also got a lot of facts in the back about guinea pigs.
I Have a Question by Andrew Arnold
Okay, I was intrigued by this super low-stakes picture book about a kid whose nervous about raising his hand during science class. He catastrophizes–imagines all the names people will call him, that he’ll have to move to outer space, etc, but of course, his question is SUPER VALID and inspires the other kids to ask questions too. Illustration style looks very computerized and out of a PBS cartoon, but it works, because this is a super casual book and kind of cute for that.
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