Bad Dog by Mike BoldtThe question: Why is Rocky such a bad dog? Her enthusiastic new owner can’t get Rocky to come when she’s called, or go for walks, or even play with other dogs! Instead, she prefers napping and watching the fish tank. What gives?
The answer: One glance at the adorably exaggerated artwork will show readers what the protagonist doesn’t see: that Rocky is actually a cat -- and might also make a pretty great friend.
The Best Kind of Bear by Greg Gormley; illustrated by David BarrowWhat it’s about: After Nelly asks Bear what kind of bear he is, the uncertain Bear embarks on a quest to find out the answer.
What happens: Bear meets all kinds of other bears, but none of them have stitching or a bow tie like his. Could it be that the answer he seeks is back home with Nelly?
Who it’s for: Animal lovers and teddy bear fans of all ages will be charmed by this sweet, simple story of belonging.
Little Mole's Wish by Sang-Keun KimStarring: lonely Little Mole, who builds a friendly snowball to talk to on his bus ride home, only to be told that the bus is for animals, not snowballs.
What happens: Undeterred, Little Mole finds a clever work-around.
For fans of: the soft snowscapes and whimsical tone in Raymond Briggs' classic The Snowman, although sensitive souls can rest assured that Little Mole’s Wish has a more hopeful ending.
The Perfect Seat by Minh Lê; illustrated by Gus GordonWhat it’s about: A moose parent and child search their city for a just-right place to read together.
Why kids might like it: Some of the rejected spots (a crowded train, an oversized armchair) make sense, while others (a slippery slide, a rough bicycle ride) are absurd enough to provoke giggles while also prompting children to consider their own ideal reading location.
Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illustrated by Laurie KellerWhat it’s about: While trying to cope with the news that he’s no longer a planet, friendly little Pluto shows readers around the solar system.
Read it for: interesting space facts, planets full of personality, and comics-style illustrations.
Kids might also like: Stacy McAnulty’s Earth! or Nick Seluk’s The Sun is Kind of a Big Deal, both similarly playful guided tours led by anthropomorphized objects in the solar system.
Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold; illustrated by Renata LiwskaWhat it’s about: How do you make it snow? The animal friends in this picture book have a few ideas: they throw pebbles at the sky, wear their PJs backwards, and even try a snow dance, but nothing works. Could it be that patience is the only way forward?
Art alert: Gentle colors and fuzzy, delicate lines emphasize the warmth in this wintry tale.
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Erin E. SteadWhat it’s about: A boy gazes hopefully at the sea, eager for a glimpse of an elusive whale. It’s hard to stay focused when there's so much to see (roses waving in the wind, a far-off ship full of "possible pirates"), but nevertheless he keeps watching...and waiting...
Why kids might like it: Told in gently rolling free verse and illustrated in muted colors, this quietly beautiful book will leave readers enchanted.
Waiting by Kevin HenkesWhat it’s about: A group of toys -- an owl, a puppy, a pig, a bear, and a rabbit -- sit on a windowsill and wait. Some anxious for the weather to change, or for their human to arrive, while others contentedly abide in anticipation.
Why kids might like it: This contemplative slice of life depicts a truth that even the most squirrelly kids can recognize: sometimes, you just have to slow down, look around, and wait.
Pearl by Molly IdleWhat it's about: Though pink-finned mermaid Pearl longs for a big, important job, her mother asks her to patiently look after a tiny grain of sand.
Read it for: swirling jewel-toned illustrations, plus an ending that reminds readers that "the smallest of things can make a great difference."
Who it's for: mermaid fans of all ages, as well as kids who love author/illustrator Molly Idle's Flora books.
Wait by Antoinette PortisWhat it’s about: While rushing to catch a train, a mother keeps asking her dawdling son to "hurry!" But each time, the boy implores her to "wait" as his attention wanders to a hungry duck, a friendly construction worker, a curious dog, and finally, a sight that makes even the stressed-out mother stop and wonder.
Try this next: JonArno Lawson's Sidewalk Flowers, another simple, lovely book about an observant child's ability to find beauty in the everyday world.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!