Blurp's Book of Manners by Cindy DerbyWhat it's about: When prim, bespectacled etiquette teacher Ms. Picklepop spills a can of paint, she's horrified to see the mess come to life as ill-mannered Blurp, a well-meaning, color-burping agent of chaos.
Read it for: uproarious, kid-pleasing yuckiness, plus some stealthy lessons on real manners, including the one that Ms. Picklepop eventually learns: how to be considerate of others.
Kids might also like: Rowboat Watkins' Rude Cakes.
The Bird Book by Steve Jenkins and Robin PageWhat it is: a gallery of birds, illustrated with eye-catching cut-paper portraits of species ranging from the humble robin to the imposing shoebill stork to the long-extinct teratorn.
Featuring: a wealth of information about bird biology, history, and habitat, plus details about how specific species fly, eat, nest, and migrate.
Book buzz: The Bird Book is one of the final collaborations from award-winning duo Robin Page and the late Steve Jenkins, who died in 2022.
Agatha May and the Anglerfish by Nora Morrison; illustrated by Mika SongWhat it's about: To her teacher and classmates, Agatha May appears messy, inattentive, and odd. But a research presentation on her favorite animal -- the toothy, bioluminescent deep-sea anglerfish -- gives Agatha May a platform to shine.
How it's told: in bouncy rhyme that's ripe for reading aloud, with (non-rhyming) anglerfish facts at the end.
Who it's for: champions of special interests, and curious kids who thrive on independent exploration.
How to Send a Hug by Hayley Rocco; illustrated by John RoccoLong-distance love: Longing to hug her Grandma Gertie despite living miles apart, ponytailed kid Artie draws up a handmade "hug" and walks readers through the steps of sending it through the mail.
Why kids might like it: Whether they love learning how stuff works, are intrigued by snail mail, or have far-off loved ones of their own, kids will find plenty of appeal in this sweet and colorful collaboration from Hayley and John Rocco.
Try this next: Aaron Meshon's Delivery.
Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson; illustrated by Qin LengWhat it's about: An optimistic child convinces her curmudgeonly grandparent to rent the fixer-upper apartment above their general store, kicking off a chain reaction of community-building.
How it's told: exclusively through expressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations depicting myriad visual cues -- fresh paint, window planters, rainbow flags, cooperation in the store, new neighborly friendships (human and feline) -- of positive change.
Hello, Rain! by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Chris TurnhamWhat it's about: The most exhilarating playtime can happen when "the sky is an adventure." At the tell-tale "plink, plunk, plonk" of raindrops, a girl and her dog don their raincoats and dash into the deluge.
Why kids might like it: Rhythmic text packed with onomatopoeia vividly evokes the sensory joys of a rainy day, from puddle-jumping to paper boat racing to enthralled observation.
Kids might also like: Linda Ashman's Rain! or Elizabeth Bluemle's Tap Tap Boom Boom.
Shy Willow by Cat MinStarring: timid, noise-sensitive rabbit Willow, content to stay in her cozy mailbox home...until a letter with a heartfelt request prompts her to venture outside.
Art alert: Suffused with mottled rainbow colors, the luminous illustrations create a dreamy, whimsical atmosphere perfect for gentle Willow's story.
Try this next: Mike Curato's Where Is Bina Bear?, another empathetic, fanciful look at the balance of community and anxiety for the crowd-averse.
The Capybaras by Alfredo Soderguit; translated by Elisa AmadoWhat it's about: When the capybaras arrive on the farm, fleeing hunting season, the chickens are hostile about the change in their "safe, agreeable" home. But as the youngest among the two species become friends, the chickens learn to appreciate their neighbors and envision a shared future.
Who it's for: younger children, who can enjoy the adorable, stylized illustrations and animal friendships, as well as older kids who may grasp the allegory of welcoming refugees and creating community solidarity.
The Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer; illustrated by Mariachiara Di GiorgioWhat it is: a wordless adventure in which raccoons, deer, badgers, foxes, and other woodland creatures enjoy a nocturnal frolic among the rides, games, and snacks of an empty nighttime carnival.
Read it for: exuberantly playful artwork that kids will want to pore over, as well as the uncanny fun of watching animals doing human activities.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!
Indianapolis Public Library
P.O. Box 211
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-0211