Thunder Horse by Eve Bunting; illustrated by Dennis NolanWhat it's about: The gift of a tiny white horse changes a little girl's life, but as the horse grows larger -- and sprouts wings -- the girl realizes her friend is destined for bigger adventures than just being a pet.
Who it's for: kids who can settle in for a quietly magical readaloud, complete with luminous, watercolor-washed illustrations.
The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai GersteinStarring: Abelardo, a brave young boy who, despite warnings from his practical fisherman papa, swims out to save the giant whale that has gotten tangled in their only fishing net.
Why kids might like it: Detailed illustrations capture the drama and exhilaration of this daring aquatic rescue, which was inspired by real events.
Who Am I? An Animal Guessing Game by Robin Page; illustrated by Steve JenkinsWhat it is: a readaloud-ready guessing game for little zoologists. Cut-paper illustrations and hints about the habitat, diet, and behaviors of seven different animals present readers with age-appropriate clues to puzzle over before each animal's identity is revealed.
Don't miss: the extra animal facts on the final pages.
Kids might also like: My First Day, Creature Features, and the many other inventive nonfiction animal books by Robin Page and Steve Jenkins.
Goldenlocks and the Three Pirates by April Jones Prince; illustrated by Steven SalernoWhat it's about: When Mama, Papa, and Baby pirate row ashore, lonely Goldenlocks sneaks on board to season Mama's lackluster gruel, repair Baby's rickety stool, and generally prove her handiness. But will the fierce pirate family be happy with her improvements?
Kids might also like: Steve Light's Swap! for another clever ship-repairing kid, or Mo Willems' Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs for another goofy fairy tale reboot.
100 Things I Love to Do with You by Amy SchwartzWhat it is: a rhyming, cheerful compendium of everyday activities for children to do with a friend, sibling, or parent. Colorful cartoons depict a diverse array of characters trying such pastimes as making mud pies, writing secret codes, eating ice cream, and misbehaving (just a little).
For fans of: creator Amy Schwartz's earlier book, 100 Things that Make Me Happy, or Julie Morstad's How To.
The Bear's Song by Benjamin ChaudWhat it's about: When Little Bear follows a bee into a fancy French opera house, Papa Bear takes off after the cub, resulting in a chandelier-rattling climax and a highly unusual solo.
Series alert: Kids who relish finding the hidden pictures within this book's intricate, bustling illustrations should be sure to check out Little Bear's continuing adventures in The Bear's Sea Escape and The Bear's Surprise.
Boot & Shoe by Marla FrazeeStarring: Boot and Shoe, two canine siblings whose reassuring daily routine is shattered when a bewildering squirrel-chasing incident leaves each dog convinced that they've lost the other. Spare text and expressive artwork blend to create an irresistible, feel-good tone.
Reviewers say: "A dog-lover's delight and tender ode to friendship" (School Library Journal).
Black Dog by Levi PinfoldWhat it's about: Outside the Hope family's ramshackle house sits a big black dog, and it's getting bigger every time someone looks outside! Frightened, the family hides -- except for Small. Bravely stepping up, Small taunts the colossal dog into chasing her, leading to an unexpected conclusion.
Why kids might like it: Rich, vibrant illustrations enhance a charming fable which encourages readers (big and small) to face their fears.
Where's Walrus? and Penguin? by Stephen SavageWhat it is: a wordless, retro-modern romp featuring two escaped zoo animals who'll take on any disguise, no matter how silly, to elude the pursuing zookeeper.
Who it's for: sharp-eyed kids who love seek-and-find books but aren't quite ready for Waldo.
Series alert: New fans may want to check out Walrus' first escape in Where's Walrus?
Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper by Mike TwohyWhat it is: An unconventional alphabet book that introduces letters through a high-speed, slapstick dog-and-mouse chase. Visual humor abounds in the energetic illustrations, making the story suitable for readalouds or one-on-one sharing.
Kids might also like: Nate Evans' Bang! Boom! Roar!
Contact your librarian for more great books!