Nesting by Henry ColeWhat it’s about: a year in the life of two American robins as they build a nest, tend to their eggs, protect their new family from threats, and encourage their fledglings to fly.
Why kids might like it: Splashes of robin’s-egg blue add extra visual interest to the intriguing, finely cross-hatched artwork.
Further reading: Young birdwatchers in the making may also enjoy Rita Gray’s Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? and Jorey Hurley’s Nest.
Facts Vs. Opinions Vs. Robots by Michael RexThe question: “Do you know the difference between a fact and an opinion?”
The lesson: A group of robot friends, rendered in crisp and colorful illustrations, demonstrate the difference between a provable fact (each of the robots has two eyes) and a not-so-provable opinion (which robot has cooler dance moves?), as well as the importance of listening.
Reviewers say: “a fun, cogent argument for informed and civil conversation” (Publishers Weekly).
The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee; illustrated by Pascal CampionWhat it’s about: Auntie Clara can’t babysit Daniel, and so the sleepy child accompanies his parents to their jobs as night janitors in an office building.
What happens: While they work, Daniel’s parents explain that they’re cleaning up after the untidy dragons who work in this Paper Kingdom, prompting Daniel to dream of the day that he can be king.
Try this next: Karen Hesse’s Night Job, another quietly inspiring picture book about a kid whose parents work the night shift.
Don't Feed the Coos! by Jonathan Stutzman; illustrated by Heather FoxWhat it’s about: Ignoring the command in the book’s title, a child offers a single breadcrumb to a single, pigeon-like “coo,” and soon finds herself pursued by a flock of the hopeful, ravenous birds.
For fans of: the googly-eyed cartoon art and escalating silliness of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books, as well goofy gross-out humor (coos poo a lot).
About the creators: Married author and illustrator team Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox deploy the same zany style they used in their debut, Llama Destroys the World.
Dandelion's Dream by Yoko TanakaWhat it is: the wordless tale (or is it a dream?) of a dandelion who takes the form of a miniscule lion and goes exploring in the wide world outside the meadow.
Read it for: Dandelion’s childlike sense of wonder, and the unique pleasure of watching a tiny character interact with a big world.
Art alert: Dandelion’s vibrant yellow mane pops against the atmospheric gray-and-white shading in the charcoal illustrations.
B is for Baby by Atinuke; illustrated by Angela BrooksbankB is for: Baby, with beads in her hair; the basket of bananas that Baby hides inside; brother, bopping to music on his headphones as he loads the basket on his bike; the baobab tree that Baby spots during the ride; and Baba, who finally discovers his stowaway granddaughter.
Why kids might like it: it’s a sweet, uncomplicated story with inviting illustrations of contemporary Africa.
Kids might also like: Baby Goes to Market, by the same author and illustrator.
Littles and How They Grow by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by AG FordFeaturing: softly rounded illustrations; soothingly upbeat words; a diverse cast of happy babies and adoring families.
Who it’s for: very young children, who’ll revel in the rhythms and colors, as well as the siblings and caregivers of new babies, who know that “littles grow BIG in the blink of an eye.”
Further reading: For another baby-centric slice of life, try Susan Meyers’ Everywhere Babies or Mem Foxes Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes.
Old Dog Baby Baby by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Chris RaschkaWhat it’s about: You might expect skittishness when the old family dog meets the new baby, but not with this duo -- sprightly rhymes describe their shared wiggles, sniffs, and licks, culminating in a sleepy, slobbery nap.
Art alert: Generous lines and soft washes of color underscore the cozy atmosphere in this tale of interspecies friendship.
Try this next: For for less harmony and more humorous conflict, try Maureen Fergus' Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby.
Baby Day by Jane Godwin and Davina Bell; illustrated by Freya BlackwoodThe event: For baby’s first birthday, family and friends gather to celebrate in the sunshine.
The guest list: “shy baby,” who’s nervous about the dog; “friendly baby,” who’s eager for a canine pal; “fussy baby,” who won’t try a new food; “brave baby,” who dives head-first down a slide; and many more, all of whom play and eat until they’re tired babies.
Read it for: the spare text, winsome artwork, and calm, sleepy conclusion.
You Are New by Lucy KnisleyWhat it is: a perky, playful run-down of all the new things that new people can do and try, from napping, yelling, being carried, and making funny smells to going places and meeting people.
Art alert: Cheerful, cartoony artwork in gentle rainbow hues brings a note of whimsy to this appealing read.
Who it’s for: babies and toddlers, of course, but also new or expecting parents, especially those who are fans of author Lucy Knisley’s illustrated memoirs.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!