Picture Books – I Used to be Afraid; Christmas Wish; Click, Clack Surprise!; Goodbye Summer…


Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. I Used To Be Afraid. New York: Roaring Brook, 2016. 978-1-59643-631-2. $17.99. Gr. PreK-1st.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger touches on a topic that is common throughout childhood: finding ways to overcome fear. This can be a big deal to kids. The main character goes from scary animals (like spiders) to larger, more abstract fears like being alone or moving. Using bold images and creative cut-outs, Seeger gives examples of how not to be afraid. A humorous ending about brothers will make readers smile. Perfect for the youngest audience, for whom hearing unexplained noises in the dark is a daily occurrence.  Thoughts: This book is perfect for PreKindergarten and Kindergarten! I use it as a fun read aloud, and recommend it to parents who are struggling with fearful children.

Picture Book       Emily Woodward, The Baldwin School



Yoon, Salina. Penguin’s Christmas Wish. New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. 978-1-68119-155-3. Unpaged. $14.95. Gr. PreK-2.

Penguin and his family are ready to celebrate Christmas, but when Pumpkin longs for a Christmas tree, Penguin decides to lead his family into the forest to find an old friend. They find Pinecone, now a beautiful evergreen tree (read Penguin and Pinecone, 2012), and decorate him with ornaments and presents under the tree. That night they all dream of something different while a blizzard rages in the forest and takes away all the decorations and ornaments. While they are disappointed, Grandpa reminds them that celebrating Christmas is “…about being with the ones you love.” They make the best of the day and all their wishes come true when Penguin makes them perfect gifts from sticks and twigs. Penguin’s wish doesn’t come true until the end of the story when the sun melts the snow and the family discovers that the blizzard spread the ornaments and gifts throughout the forest so they can celebrate with new forest friends. THOUGHTS: Salina Yoon’s sweet Penguin is sure to delight fans of the series or new readers in this simple holiday tale.

Picture book      Lindsey Long, Nye & Conewago Elementary Schools



Cronin, Doreen and Betsy Lewin. Click, Clack, Surprise! New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016. 978-1-4814-7031-5. 32pp. $17.99. Gr K-3.

In the latest addition to the Click, Clack, Moo series, it’s Little Duck’s first birthday, and the whole farm is preparing for the celebration. Little Duck has never gotten ready for a party, though, and she doesn’t know quite what to do. So, she tries copying everyone else! She takes a long, hot bubble bath like Duck, shears her feathers like the sheep, licks herself like the cat, takes a dust bath like the chickens, and takes a mud bath like the pigs. By the time she ends up at her party, she’s wet, has spiky feathers, and is covered in dust and mud; it’s truly a birthday surprise for everyone! Betsy Lewin’s loose pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations perfectly capture the lighthearted spirit of the day, and young readers will enjoy seeing their favorite farm animals- and Farmer Brown too – getting ready for the party. This is a fun addition for elementary collections. THOUGHTS: This book will be a hit where other titles in the series are popular. It will also be useful as a read-aloud to complement a unit about farms and farm animals.

Picture Book      Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County



Pak, Kenard. Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 978-1-62779-415-2. 32pp. $15.34. Gr K-3.

This gentle nature story perfectly captures the transition from summer to autumn. One late summer morning, a girl leaves her house and begins walking through the forest to town. On her way, she greets the trees, animals, insects, flowers, and wind she encounters. Each time, her greeting is returned, and information about the changing season is shared. For example, when she calls, “Hello, beavers. Hello, chipmunks,” they reply, “Hello! We have no time to play because we’re making cozy nests and dens. It will be cold soon, and we want to get ready.” As she walks, the little girl is accompanied by a giant Great Dane, a blue jay, and a butterfly, and readers will enjoy spotting them on each double-page spread. On each spread, the vibrant watercolor and pencil illustrations perfectly capture the transition between seasons. As the story progresses, the colors slowly transition from mostly greens to browns, reds, and burnt oranges. Careful readers will notice subtle details in the illustrations such as animals tucking into their burrows, leaves changing color, and the girl distributing a fistful of wildflowers she’s plucked along her walk. This is a book that warrants repeated readings to fully appreciate all the subtle details. THOUGHTS: This title is a perfect addition to fall-themed story times. My kindergarten teachers were excited to add it to their units about autumn and how animals prepare for winter.

Picture Book      Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County

Elementary Picture Books – Lionheart; Puppy; Airport Book; Rain Fish


Collingridge, Richard. Lionheart. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2016. 978-0-545-83321-9.  unpaged. $17.99. Gr. Pre-K – 2.

To face fears or run away is a dilemma that everyone must decide. When Richard feels a monster approaching at night, he and his stuffed toy lion chose to run. Their journey grows into an imaginary adventure of full of fear and wonder, until Richard meets his Lionheart and learns to ROAR! The shimmering lion and shadowy monster are brilliantly shown in paintings by Collingridge, and the boy himself is so relatable and emotional that students should be able to stand by him to the end. A captivating read about bravery, heart, and imagination.  THOUGHTS: This would make an interesting comparison text to Where the Wild Things Are. It could also start a writing prompt or theme around using stuffed animals to deal with problems.

Picture Book     Dustin Brackbill, Mt. Nittany Elementary



Graves, Keith. Puppy!. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2016. 978-1-62672-225-5. 24 pages. $16.99. Gr. K-2.

Trog is a cave kid who has cool toys (stick, rock, mud), but really wanted a pet! So, when he found a creature to keep, he called it puppy and took it home to be his. It turns out that having a pet can be difficult, especially when it eats everything and cries all the time. The humor in this cartoon picture book by Keith Graves will tickle young readers and keep them guessing. The final resolution makes sense, as does Trog’s laughable next attempt. Puppy! is a pet story that you won’t soon forget.  THOUGHTS:  Puppy! is a fine example of point of view for young readers, and also gives first time readers a sense of prediction and AHA moments!

Picture Book     Dustin Brackbill, Mt. Nittany Elementary



Brown, Lisa. The Airport Book. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016. 978-1-62672-091-6. 32pp. $17.99. Gr K-3.

In simple, straightforward text, Lisa Brown walks young readers through the experience of travelling to an airport and boarding an airplane. A mixed-race family’s journey begins with a taxi ride from their city apartment to a large airport. They wait in lines at the ticket counter, to check their bags, to use the restroom, and to go through security. They maneuver past the bustling airport restaurants and shops until they reach their gate where they wait some more. Eventually, they board the plane, stow their luggage, listen to the safety announcements, buckle their seatbelts, and take off. While the family enjoys the flight from the plane’s main cabin, sharp-eyed readers will want to keep a close eye on the little girl’s sock monkey who takes a parallel journey in a checked suitcase. THOUGHTS:  Readers will enjoy people-watching and following other families through the airport as well, and if they look closely, they’ll spot famous aviators like Amelia Earhart and the Wright Brothers. The India ink and watercolor illustrations are brimming with action and perfectly capture the harried tempo of airport life.

Picture Book     Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County

This is a book to be read over and over again, and during each repeated reading, children will notice new details in the illustrations. My kindergarten teachers were excited to add it to their transportation unit since it puts a new spin on what it’s like to take a plane ride. Overall, a winner for most collections.



Ehlert, Lois. Rain Fish. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2016. 978-1-4814-6152-8. 36pp. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

This short, rhyming tale celebrates the creative spirit as Ehlert uses her imagination to see fish shapes formed from everyday found objects. She imagines that these fish emerge when blue skies turn gray and rain falls all day. Readers must examine each collage carefully to locate all the hidden fish. Fish are formed from everyday items such as cardboard, leaves, ticket stubs, feathers, paper plates, and bottle caps. The last page showcases many of the items Ehlert used to create her collages, and it will give readers ideas for items they might collect to make collages of their own.  THOUGHTS:  This book will be well-received by Ehlert fans, and the collection of objects that she used to create collages is perfect inspiration for a crafty extension activity following a read-aloud. Share this one with your art teacher.  

Picture Book      Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County