Hot Off The Press! New Picture Books (13)

June has been an incredibly busy month with Open House, Spring Musical, Fifth Grade Promotion and winding down the school year.  I apologize that my Hot Off the Press! posts have been MIA.  But it is back and this week's books were featured on the New Picture Book wall at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop.  I recently took a little road trip out to LaVerne to pick up some signed copies of The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma and I stayed to check out the new picture books.

Here were my top five:

The Big Wish
Author/Illustrator: Carolyn Conahan
Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 4, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7

There are some stories that just seem to touch you as you read them.  The Big Wish is certainly one of those books.  Conahan pares a story of a young girl's belief in the power of a wish - a really big wish - with beautiful illustrations.  The spirit of this book really reached in to grab me.  Molly's desire for the biggest wish unites a community and teaches them what a wish is truly about.  This would be a lovely gift book for a teacher.

Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots
Author: Rebecca Janni
Illustrator: Lynne Avril
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (June 9, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7

It really isn't easy to pull off an effective companion book/sequel with picture books.  Often times, the first one is fun and original and subsequent books lose some of the wonderfulness of the first book.  However, Janni actually succeeds with this companion book to Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse.  Just enough pink for that preschool/kinder girl in your life who also has a no nonsense streak in her.  I know just the little girl who needs of copy of this for her birthday.
Check out Rebecca Janni's Fun Stuff page:

Doggy Whys?
Author/Illustrator: Lila Prap
Publisher: North South Books (May 1, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8 (and the adults who will read it to them)

The cover illustration drew me to this book.  I'm not much of a dog person, more of a cat person really.  But Prap had me right from the beginning.  Each two-page spread begins with a dog questions and a list of somewhat humorous responses.  However, the real facts are included in an informative yet clever manner.  There is also a small fact box for each type of dog shown.  This would be a great addition to a non-fiction section of a school or classroom library. 

The Woods
Author/Illustrator: Paul Hoppe
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 6, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7

I like books with quirky illustrations and just the right twist.  A young boy discovers some surprises about being afraid.  When his bunny goes missing at bedtime, he must goes in search and what he discovers along the way is both humorous and touching.  A perfect story for talking with young children about their bedtime fears.

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India
Author/Illustrator: Gerald McDermott
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (May 23, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 7

Monkey is hungry for mangoes, and Crocodile is hungry for Monkey.  This tale of fast thinking and cunning deception is deftly handled by master storyteller, Gerard McDermott.  I have used so many of McDermott's books in my classes over the years and this one belongs right up there with the others.  Very reminiscent of Anansi The Spider (also one of McDermott's re-tellings) but one that children will love for it's own unique qualities.  The mixed media illustrations perfectly enhance the text.