The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell; illustrated by Charles SantosoBefore pigtailed, scowling little Ruthie even arrives at school, the Snurtch is waiting at her desk. The spiky orange monster is her constant classroom companion, throwing pencils, making faces, and pulling Ruthie into its bad-attitude orbit. Eventually, the Snurtch's disruptive behavior lands Ruthie in hot water with Teacher and the other kids -- SO UNFAIR. After all, it's the Snurtch, not Ruthie, who's "grabby and burpy and rude"…right? Anyone who's ever struggled to control an impulsive, hot-tempered Snurtch of their own can relate to Ruthie's struggle in this uproarious yet empathetic picture book.
NanoBots by Chris GallDeep in his basement, a young inventor peers through a magnifying glass at his creation: the NanoBots! There's MediBot, who guards against "germy invaders"; ChewBots, who gobble up messes; HeloBots, who fly in helpful formations; Lady Lance-o-Bot, who fends off pests...there's a NanoBot for every job. And with their skills combined, surely the NanoBots can make the world a better place -- not to mention win the science fair? Crisp digital illustrations add to the inviting tone of this high-tech tale from the creator of Dinotrux. Older kids who are curious about real-life nanorobotics should be sure to check the final pages for extra inspiration.
The Deadliest Creature in the World by Brenda Z. Guiberson; illustrated by Gennady SpirinIn this captivating nonfiction picture book, 14 animals vie for readers to choose them as "the deadliest creature in the world." The competition is fierce: Is the golden dart frog ("I store poison in my skin") more lethal than the anopheles mosquito ("I bring malaria")? Or perhaps the stinging box jellyfish or the long-fanged gaboon viper is the most truly threatening? Even kids who can't decide will relish the weird animal facts and shivery taste of danger found in these lushly illustrated pages. For further (and less fearsome) animal superlatives, pick up author Brenda Z. Guiberson's earlier books, The Greatest Dinosaur Ever and The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea.
Quit Calling Me a Monster! by Jory John; illustrated by Bob SheaThe snaggle-toothed, spindly limbed, and purple-furred protagonist of this picture book is fed up with your judgement, okay? Name-calling isn't nice, especially when the name is "monster." So what if he lurks in dark closets and howls at the moon? That doesn't give you the right to call him anything other than his real name (which is Floyd Peterson, thank you very much)! After all, he could just as well call you a "little meat snack," but Floyd has manners. Bob Shea's distinctively energetic, scribbly artwork amps up the goofiness in this rib-tickling read-aloud about the challenges of politeness.
Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin; illustrated by Tom LichtenheldDancing dinosaurs, a guitar-strumming dog, and a rhyming refrain are the perfect ingredients for a crowd-pleasing sing-along in this lively picture book. Groovy Joe, the crooning canine, is "living the dream, he had a spoon and a tub of doggy ice cream." But before Joe can dig in, bib-wearing dinosaurs stomp in demanding scoops of their own! There's not enough to go around, but Joe's quick thinking turns a potential disaster into an interspecies dance party. Fans of Pete the Cat and his catchy tunes won't be able to resist Ice Cream and Dinosaurs, the 1st in the Groovy Joe series.
Draw! by Raúl ColónNo words are needed to tell this captivating tale of creativity and adventure. Depicted in textured, warm-hued illustrations, a bedridden little boy reads a book about African animals. When he picks up his sketchbook, the animals he draws come to life in his mind, and soon the boy is immersed in an imaginary safari full of wildlife to sketch and paint. After befriending an elephant, rescuing his art supplies from some crafty baboons, and narrowly escaping a charging rhinoceros, the boy returns to reality…with a stack of drawings to share. Children who enjoy the dynamic art and wordless drama of Draw! may also appreciate Bill Thomson's Chalk.
Louise Loves Art by Kelly LightAmidst a sea of pencil drawings, bespectacled young artist Louise is enthusiastically working on her masterpiece, which will soon hang in the prestigious "Gallery du Fridge." In her fervor to capture the "cat-ness" of her feline model, however, she doesn't see her adoring little brother Art, scissors in hand, quietly making his own artistic statement. Drawn in a muted, retro-cartoony style with pops of brilliant red, the illustrations will grab young readers' attention as they track Louise's progress from solo artist to sibling collaborator. If you know kids who adore this "cheerfully art-ful" read (Kirkus Reviews), be sure to share the sequel, Louise and Andie.
The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan; illustrated by Hadley Hooper"If you were a boy named Henri Matisse..." This biography of the well-known artist is written as a question, asking children to imagine themselves in the cold, gray environment of Matisse's childhood, which was brightened by his mother's creativity and appreciation for nature. The lyrical story is both beautiful and easy to understand; equally beautiful are the bold shapes, expressive lives, and natural hues in the illustrations, which hint at Matisse's own artistic style. The Iridescence of Birds will pique the curiosity of budding artists, who can learn more about Matisse in Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter or Matisse's Garden by Samantha Friedman.
My Pen by Christopher MyersLike many children, the fedora-wearing hero of this book sometimes feels small. "But then," he says, "I remember I have my pen." In beautifully detailed black-and-white drawings, the child demonstrates the power of his pen to conjure up anything he can imagine: he can ride a T-Rex, sail in a newspaper boat, tap-dance in the sky, and express both his worry and his love. Unusual, inventive, and enchanting, My Pen invites young readers to "let those worlds inside your pen out!" Pair My Pen with any of Ed Emberley's classic drawing books and watch the creativity flow!
Art & Max by David WiesnerArt, who prefers to be called Arthur, is a curmudgeonly lizard and a skilled painter. When his eager -- and impulsive -- friend, Max, wants to learn to paint but misunderstands Arthur's suggestion to paint him...well, that's when things start to get weird in the joyous, surprising manner that David Wiesner's many fans know and love. Parents and teachers will appreciate Art & Max's "visual meditation on the effects of illustrative style" (Horn Book), but kids will simply be delighted by the way that this story's "wildly trippy" (Kirkus Reviews) chain of events unfolds.
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