Always fun to receive brand new picture books in the mail for review purposes. What I love best about this particular group of beautiful books is how they emphasize kindness, understanding, friendship, and imagination. Although I’ve specified intended age groups, like all picture books, “kids” from 1 to 100 are sure to enjoy them.
The Best Place in the World was written and illustrated by Petr Horacek and was released by Candlewick Press on February 3, 2021. This 32-page hardcover picture book is 10” by 11” and is for children 3-7 years old. Hare yearns to travel in search of the best place in the world. Surely it couldn’t be the old field and woods he and his friends happen to live in. He asks Bear, Duck, and Owl, as well as his rabbit and bird friends, for their opinions. But they all seem content where they are. Feeling outnumbered, he sets off on his own through fields and orchards, rivers and waterfalls, mountains, sea, and desert to consider what might be the best place. Finally the answer to his question becomes clear and he sets off one last time…. This story is delightful and the mixed media illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.
I Am a Bird was written by Hope Lim and illustrated by Hyewon Yum. It was released by Candlewick Press on February 2, 2021. This 32-page hardcover picture book is 9.38” x 10.25” and is also for children aged 3-7. A happy little girl rides on the back of her father’s bicycle each morning on their way to school. Until one day she notices the woman in the blue coat who carries a big bag. Unlike the rest of the people they pass by, this woman does not wave or smile, just rushes past. A lovely, important story about finding a kindred spirit in a most unusual way despite misguided assumptions. The soft, lively illustrations were created in colored pencil and gouache.
No Buddy Like a Book was written by Allan Wolf and illustrated by Brianne Farley. It was released by Candlewick Press on February 9, 2021. This 32-page hardcover picture book is 10.6” x 12” and is for children 4-8 years old. This is a fun book with a sing-song rhythm and a lot of interesting details in the well-executed art. Illustrations are in gouache, colored pencil, charcoal, wax pastel, and glue on mulberry paper and watercolor paper. Children will enjoy following the cast of colorful characters on their reading adventures to exciting destinations. Get behind-the-scenes insight as to how Brianne created the illustrations when you visit her studio here!
Kindness is a Kite String: The Uplifting Power of Empathy was written by Michelle Schaub and illustrated by Claire LaForte. It will be released by Cardinal Rule Press on April 1, 2021. This hardcover picture book is 9.25” x 11.25” and is for children aged 5-7. This is a fun, brightly illustrated book that gently describes how being kind can make the world a better place. Children will enjoy following the characters and string of events. On my second read through I discovered there were more strings than I realized, cleverly connecting the heartwarming ending back to the opening. An informational note at front gives useful ideas for discussing and interacting with the thoughts in the book. More information for discussion can be found in the back matter.
That’s a wrap, happy spring reading!