King Baby by Kate BeatonRound and regal, King Baby lords it over his subjects -- er, family. As his parents stand by proudly, he welcomes his crowd of admirers: "You have been waiting for me. I will give you many blessings, for King Baby is generous." Annoyingly, when he issues commands like "Bring me the thing," the adults only hear baby babble, but that will change once he becomes a big boy and passes the crown to his little sister, Queen Baby. Illustrated in Kate Beaton's distinctively goofy and expressive style, this rib-tickling tale of tiny tyrant deserves a place on the shelf right next to Marla Frazee's Boss Baby.
Giant Squid by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric RohmannLurking in the dark waters of the ocean, hiding from the human gaze, qiant squid are a tantalizing mystery. But "how can you know about an animal hidden from view? You must rely on clues, as scientists do…" There are plenty of clues in this visually arresting picture book: here's a glimpse of outflung tentacles; there, a fearsomely sharp beak; and is that a lidless eye appearing out of the murk? By the time a gatefold reveals a stunning full-length portrait of this elusive cephalopod, young readers will be entranced and eager to learn more. Handily, the final pages are filled with information to quench their curiosity.
In Plain Sight by Richard Jackson; illustrated by Jerry PinkneySophie and her grandpa have a reassuring routine: every morning, he parks his wheelchair by the window and waves her onto the school bus, and every afternoon, they play the game. The game always begins with Grandpa claiming he lost something -- a paper clip, a lemon drop, a paintbrush -- and that he needs Sophie's help to find it. Young readers can search along with Sophie in the cheerful clutter of Grandpa's room (depicted in loving detail by legendary illustrator Jerry Pinkney), sharing not only her triumph as she finds each item, but also in the warm, caring bond between grandparent and grandchild.
The Dead Family Diaz by P.J. Bracegirdle; illustrated by Poly BernateneThe elevator from the Land of the Dead is rising fast, and little skeleton Angelito is nervous. It's his first time joining has family on their annual trip to the Land of the Living for el Día de los Muertos, and though Angelito knows it's meant to be a festive occasion, he's freaked out at the thought of squishy, bulgy-eyed live people. Once they arrive, however, he spots a boy with a skeleton face just like his…or so it seems. Saturated colors and a cartoony style keep the mood light in this charming tale of understanding, friendship, and celebration.
Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi MoralesSkeleton-man Señor Calavera is excited about attending Grandma Beetle's birthday party, but just as he's setting out on his bicycle, Zelmiro the Ghost appears, reminding him that he needs a present, one that Grandma Beetle "would love the most." Señor Calavera begins an alphabetical search for precious gifts, with each one introducing readers to a new Spanish word. But are his A-to-Y gifts really what Grandma would love the most, or has the best been saved for last? Featuring whimsical illustrations in brilliant, riotous colors, Just in Case won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for its celebration of Latino culture.
Día de los Muertos by Roseanne Thong; illustrated by Carles BallesterosJoy and remembrance are in the air as a village prepares for el Día de los Muertos: from lovingly curated memorial altars to tasty pan de muertos all the way to an exciting costume parade, there's so much to do and see! Spanish words are folded into the English text of this inviting story, which also boasts readaloud-friendly rhymes and a backdrop of cheery, chunky illustrations, making Día de los Muertos "a jovial primer" for newcomers and "a fiesta for those who already partake" (School Library Journal). Fans of this author's style should also see her earlier titles, Green is a Chile Pepper and Round is a Tortilla.
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