Summer by Cao Wenxuan; illustrated by Yu RongWhat it’s about: Seven animals. One shady tree. On a hot day in the grasslands, it's a recipe for discord, unless the sweltering creatures can find a way to cooperate and cool off.
Why kids might like it: Clever design and careful pacing set up a guessing game for kids, complete with visual hints to clue them in about which animal will appear after each page turn.
Camp Tiger by Susan Choi; illustrated by John RoccoWhat it’s about: While on a family camping trip, a little boy acquires an unexpected companion: a large, friendly tiger.
What happens: Even though he doesn’t like change, and definitely doesn’t want to start first grade after they return home, the boy quickly bonds with the tiger, leading to outdoor adventures and newfound confidence.
About the creators: Award-winning artist John Rocco illustrates this debut picture book from novelist Susan Choi.
If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Loren LongWhat it is: a sweet, heartfelt poem that invites kids to consider the variety of connections through which people and animals show their love.
Read it for: perfectly paced wordplay paired with soft-edged illustrations of people, plants, and animals.
Who it’s for: Kids (and adults) in search of a fresh, contemporary readalike for Margaret Wise Brown’s classic The Runaway Bunny.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero; illustrated by Zeke PeñaWhat it is: an exhilarating, wind-in-your-hair ride through Corona, California, from the perspective of an adventurous girl on the back of her papi’s motorcycle.
Art alert: With kinetic lines, muted ice cream colors, and a detailed cityscape, the book’s illustrations feel just as vivid and authentic as its bilingual dialogue.
Try this next: For a quieter but equally joyful visit to an urban neighborhood, try Windows by Julia Denos.
Llama Destroys the World by Jonathan Stutzman; illustrated by Heather FoxWhat it is: a supremely silly and open-ended story about “the ultimate doom of everything.”
Starring: doofy, googly-eyed Llama, who eats a gigantic pile of cakes, causing him to rip his dancing pants with enough force to create an all-consuming black hole.
For fans of: Adam Rubin’s Dragons Love Tacos, a similarly absurd tale featuring unusual -- and potentially hazardous -- eating habits.
Little Green Peas: A Big Book of Colors by Keith BakerWhat it is: Smiling, anthropomorphic peas guide readers through this rhyming introduction to nine different colors.
Why kids might like it: There are surprises on every page as playful peas cavort through the colors, encouraging kids to seek and find them all. And don’t miss the paper airplane that glides through every spread!
Series alert: This is the 3rd in the Peas series which begins with LMNO Peas, though kids can read them in any order.
Peanut Butter & Cupcake! by Terry BorderStarring: Peanut Butter, who’s looking for a new friend.
What happens: Peanut Butter sings as he searches: "I’ll make you chuckle deep down in your belly, and we’ll go together like Peanut Butter and..." Although children will know just how to complete the rhyme, it takes Peanut Butter several tries to find his ideal bestie.
Art alert: Photos of anthropomorphic food with bent wire limbs adds ample whimsy to this tale, which is followed by several sequels.
Potato Pants! by Laurie KellerThe setting: Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store, where there’s a one-day-only sale on (you guessed it) pants for potatoes!
The dilemma: Potato is beside himself with excitement until he spots his nemesis, Eggplant, among the eager shoppers. Can Potato find the courage for a confrontation, or will there be no new duds for this spud?
Why kids might like it: Potato’s wide eyes and penchant for ALL CAPS dialogue make him a giggle-worthy character that kids will root for.
The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin; illustrated by Scott MagoonIntroducing: siblings Hazel and Wally Nut, who’d much rather keep playing, dancing, and bouncing all over their family’s treehouse than go to bed.
Sing out! While they resist bedtime (and the reprimands of Mama Nut), Hazel and Wally sing a reassuringly repetitive song; readers can make up their own tune, or listen to the included recording.
Series alert: This is the 1st in a pun-tastic series from the author of the Pete the Cat books.
Nothing Rhymes with Orange by Adam RexWhat it’s about: An orange feels left out as a cheery cavalcade of fruit proclaims their virtues in rhyme. Their efforts range from comically awkward (cabana with banana, antelope with cantaloupe) to esoteric (Nietzsche with lychee), prompting frustration from the neglected orange. Can some inventive wordplay sweeten this sour citrus?
Who it’s for: With a blend of absurdity and empathy, this offbeat read-aloud will resonate with anyone who's ever felt overlooked.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!
Somerset County Library System of New Jersey1 Vogt Drive
P.O. Box 6700
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807