Hot Off The Press! New Picture Books (2)

Last week I began a Hot Off The Press! post based on my visits to Vroman's Bookstore and checking out their wall of new picture books. Here are the 5 new releases that stood out from the pile this week:

Author/Illustrator: Ross Collins
Publisher: Whitman, Albert and Company (March 1, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8 years

Mother warns Harvey that there is no drawing on doodleday.  Harvey thinks that drawing just a tiny little fly should not be a problem, and then the fun begins and grows.  The ending was absolutely perfect.  This one should cause readers to smile.
The Best Birthday Party Ever
Author: Jennifer Larue Huget
Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
Publisher: Schwartz and Wade (March 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8 years

Some books just make you smile and Huget's story about a little girl who is counting down the days and weeks to her birthday party is certainly one of them.  As each week or month passes, our birthday girl plans a more elaborate party than the month before.  When her big day finally arrives will she have the birthday of her dreams and plans?  I loved how this book wraps up.
Red Wagon
Author/Illustrator: Renata Liwska
Publisher: Philomel (February 17, 2011)
Audience: Ages 3 to 6 years

Fans of Deborah Underwood's The Quiet Book will recognize Liwska's illustrative work which gives this book a similar tender, gentle, charming quality.  Red Wagon is a story about a young fox who wants to play with her new wagon but must also go into town for her mother.  Her day is less boring and more adventuresome than she expected. 
The Crows of Pearblossom
Author: Aldous Huxley
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Abrahms Books For Young Readers (March 1, 2011)
Audience: Ages 5 to 9

Huxley wrote this story about a mama crow who lays an egg each day and loses it to wiley snake back in 1944 for his niece.  Mr. & Mrs. Crow seek out the help in stopping the snake from stealing the eggs. 
The story has a fable-like quality to it and Sophie Blackall's illustrations are charming and bring the book to life and fit the timeless quality of the story. 

Won Ton
Author: Lee Wardlaw
Illustrator: Eugene Yelchin
Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company (February 15, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 9 years

This is a book that I enjoyed on a couple of levels.  First, it was a fun story about a cat who is rescued from a shelter and his adjustment to his new family.  Younger children will enjoy the book at that level.  Second, the book is written completely in haiku and can be used with older children (even middle or high school) as part of a poetry unit.

Yelchin's bold and bright illustrations bring the story to life on a different level.