Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories by Max Brallier; illustrated by Letizia Rubegni What it is: This series opener offers five chilling tales of the strange and supernatural.
Why kids might like it: From a mysterious scratching at the window to toys that move on their own, these stories are genuinely spine-tingling, but not so scary that readers will need to sleep with the lights on.
Who it’s for: beginning readers who aren’t quite ready for Goosebumps or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry; illustrated by the Fan BrothersWhat it’s about: Scarecrow has one job, and it’s right there in his name. Yet when a baby crow falls to the ground in front of him, Scarecrow snaps his pole so he can rescue the little nestling.
Art alert: This winsome take on friendship between traditional enemies is given an atmospheric boost by the Fan Brothers’ textured illustrations of the changing seasons.
Kids might also like: Marianne Dubuc’s The Lion and the Bird.
How Do You Dance? by Thyra HederWhat it is: a celebratory reminder that sometimes you’ve just got to dance, whether it’s beneath a disco ball with your friends or in the privacy of your own space.
Art alert: Dynamic watercolor illustrations and stylized lettering pair perfectly with the text to create an infectious sense of joy in motion.
Be prepared... to bust out your boogie shoes before sharing this exuberant read-aloud -- it might just inspire an impromptu dance party!
Spencer's New Pet by Jessie SimaWhat it’s about: With the old-fashioned panache of a silent movie, this wordless picture book follows devoted pet owner Spencer as he protects his bright red balloon dog from gusty winds and sharp objects.
Why kids might like it: Illustrated in the black-and-white shades of classic cinema (save for the red dog), this whimsical read has charm and suspense to spare, as well as a satisfying surprise ending.
This Book of Mine by Sarah Stewart; illustrated by David SmallWhat it is: a gentle, affectionate ode to books and the people who love them.
What’s inside: softly ink-washed artwork depicting all the different ways in which books and readers interact, alongside rhyming text that’s framed as a vow: “I take this book to be my friend.”
Who it’s for: young bibliophiles who demand to hear their favorite books again and again and again...
Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron BlabeyStarring: Thelma, a beige pony whose dream of becoming a pink, sparkly, super-popular unicorn unexpectedly comes true.
Be careful what you wish for: Glitz, glamor and fame aren’t as fulfilling as Thelma believed they’d be. But will anyone appreciate her as plain old Thelma the pony?
Why kids might like it: Aaron Blabey’s googly-eyed cartoons amp up the humor in this playful, slightly snarky story about the importance of being yourself.
You Don't Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman; illustrated by Liz ClimoWhat it is: an exposé revealing the unvarnished (and supremely silly) truth about having a pet unicorn.
What happens: A hopeful kid gets a purple-maned pet unicorn, only to discover that unicorns shed golden sparkles, poop stinky cupcakes, and throw wild parties for their unicorn friends.
Further reading: For a sweeter story about an inadvisable pet, check out George O’Connor’s If I Had a Raptor.
Sophie Johnson, Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood; illustrated by Ella OkstadWhat it's about: Self-proclaimed unicorn expert Sophie is so preoccupied with lecturing her "unicorn" companions -- a baby sibling in a pointy hat and several toys with makeshift toothbrush horns -- that she misses the real unicorn in their midst.
Read it for: rainbow-colored cartoon art and sly sight gags.
For fans of: Amy Young's A Unicorn Named Sparkle.
Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Brigette BarragerIntroducing: golden-hoofed, magenta-maned Uni is a misfit among unicorns because of her outlandish belief that little girls are real, and that somewhere, one special little girl is just waiting to be her friend.
Read it for: jewel-toned illustrations and a clever, good-natured premise.
Series alert: Readers who adore this endearing unicorn heroine can follow her further adventures in Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True.
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob SheaWhat it’s about: Goat is pretty cool -- he can ride a bike, make marshmallow squares, and do magic tricks. So why is everyone so impressed with Unicorn, just because he can fly, turn things to gold, and make it rain cupcakes?
Why kids might like it: Bob Shea’s energetic, off-kilter art and relatable humor is sure to leave kids laughing.
Don’t miss: the sequel, Unicorn is Maybe Not So Great After All.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!
Joseph H. Plumb Memorial Library
17 Constitution Way
Rochester, Massachusetts 02770