ICYMI: March 2020 picture books


Believe it or not, we’ve finally reached the end of March. Like a lot of you, it’s been hard for me to accomplish much. But many, many months ago, a number of authors and illustrators accomplished a lot. That work came to fruition in March when their books had their birthdays. Below are just a few picture books that came out over the past four weeks. Synopses are provided by the publishers.


PIGS IN A PICKLE: (PIG BOOK FOR KIDS, PIGGIE BOARD BOOK FOR TODDLERS), by Hans Wilhelm and Erica Salcedo, Chronicle Books, March 3, 2020, board book, $7.99 (ages 2-4)

The three little pigs from Pigs in a Blanket are back for more fun. These three little pigs are ready for anything—especially having fun. But, whoops! Sometimes the pigs’ day doesn’t go as planned. That’s OK! No matter what the oopsie, the pigs keep going, always staying positive and landing on their teensy feet!

THE KIDS ON THE BUS: A SPIN-THE-WHEEL BOOK OF EMOTIONS, by Kirsten Hall and Melissa Crowton, Chronicle Books, March 17, 2020, board book, $9.99 (ages 2-4)

Take a turn on this busy city bus to discover what everyone is feeling. Spin the wheel to match the feeling to the scene, then sing along with the familiar song in this creative introduction to emotions. A fun, updated take on the classic children’s song, this novelty board book shaped like a stylishly modern bus will have kids acting and singing along — and reflecting on their own varied emotions.


MABEL: A MERMAID FABLE, by Rowboat Watkins, Chronicle Books, March 24, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 3-5)

 A silly read-aloud tale for kids about being yourself! Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses. The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another tale about being true to yourself.

BAD BROWS, by Jason Carter Eaton and Mike Petrik, Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 24, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 3-7)

One morning, Bernard wakes up to find that his eyebrows have gone rogue. They’re sabotaging Picture Day, taunting his teacher, and growing, growing, growing out of control! All attempts to wrangle these bad brows just seem to make them angrier and more furrow-cious. Why are Bernard’s eyebrows behaving so badly? And what do they want?

OVER THE MOON, by James Proimos and Zoey Abbott, Chronicle Books, March 10, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-5)

When two wolves see a baby floating down a river, what do they do? Why, they take the baby home. Over the moon with joy, they nourish and teach her. And when that baby grows into a child, she and the wolves know that she will be ready to make her way in the world. Because when a child is loved, she has everything she needs.

Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark, by Jonathan Stutzman and Jay Fleck, Chronicle Books, March 3, 2020, Hardcover, $15.99 (ages 3-5)

Tiny T. Rex and his friend Pointy are having a campout in the backyard! It is what best friends do. But without their nighty-lights, the dark outside suddenly seems VERY dark . . . and very full of spooky things. Good thing Tiny has a super-secret plan to keep the dark at bay! Full of warmth and plenty of laughs, this new adventure starring Tiny T. Rex shows that friends will always find a way to face their fears together — even when those fears are not what they seem!


ALMOND, by Allen Say, Scholastic Press, March 3, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)

Everything changes for Almond Biggs when a new girl comes to school. The New Girl can play “The Flight of the Bumblebee” fast fast fast on her violin. And every day Almond sits and listens. Lost in the music, Almond wonders if she has her own unique gift. One special day, as Almond is watching the crows, circling and twirling in the wind, she realizes that she too can spread her wings and discovers the magic to being happy inside and out.

PAOLO, EMPEROR OF ROME, by Mac Barnett and Claire Keane, Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 31, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

Paolo the dachshund is trapped. Though he lives in Rome, a city filled with history and adventure, he is confined to a hair salon. Paolo dreams of the sweet life — la dolce vita — in the Eternal City. And then, one day, he escapes! Paolo throws himself into the city, finding adventure at every turn. Join our hero as he discovers the wonders of Rome: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera, and — of course — the cats. Readers will cheer the daring of this bighearted dog, whose story shows that even the smallest among us can achieve great things.

THE WELCOME WAGON: A CUBBY HILL TALE, by Cori Doerrfeld, Harry N. Abrams, March 3, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

When curious young bear Cooper Cub notices a new family moving to town, he jumps on his scooter and sets off on a journey through Cubby Hill, assembling his best friends to welcome the newcomers. They can’t help but wonder what the new family will be like. What if they don’t like flowers or play video games? What if they’re not like anyone who’s ever lived in town? In this sweet story all about welcoming new people and making new friends, Cori Doerrfeld brings the world of Cubby Hill to life with humor, charm, and a whole lot of warmth.

TO THE MOON AND BACK FOR YOU, by Emilia Bechrakis Serhant and EG Keller, Random House Books for Young Readers, March 24, 2020, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)

In this picture book, illustrated by the #1 New York Times bestselling artist of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, families of different shapes, colors, and sizes must cross deserts, navigate rough seasons, and climb mountains — all to find their miracle babies. Emilia’s story reminds us that, despite the challenges and complications often thrown our way, hope will always prevail. 

LET’S LEARN SPANISH: FIRST WORDS FOR EVERYONE, by Aurora Cacciapuoti, Chronicle Books; Bilingual edition, March 10, 2020, Hardcover, $12.99 (ages 4 and up)

Focusing on the Spanish language as it is spoken in Mexico, this informative picture book is an ideal way to learn. Pairing words and whimsical pictures, aspiring Spanish speakers are treated to a breezy yet informative experience. At once instructive and a joy to behold, Let’s Learn Spanish is a go-to gift for the world traveler and language learner.

THINGS THAT GO AWAY, by Beatrice Alemagna, Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 24, 202, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)

There are many things that go away: leaves fall, tears dry, music lasts only for a few moments, and bubbles pop, vanishing without a trace. Everything in life passes, moves on, or transforms—except one thing that never fades. With her signature warmth, playfulness, and beautiful illustrations, Beatrice Alemagna reminds us that in a changing world, the love between parent and child remains constant.


The Keeper of Wild Words, by Brooke Smith and Madeline Kloepper, Chronicle Books, March 10, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 5-8)

When Mimi finds out her favorite words—simple words, like apricot, blackberry, buttercup—are disappearing from the English language, she elects her granddaughter Brook as their Keeper. And did you know? The only way to save words is to know them.


Charlie & Mouse Outdoors: Book 4, by Laurel Snyder and Emily Hughes, Chronicle Books, March 3, 2020, Hardcover, $14.99 (ages 6-9)

The fourth book in the Geisel Award–winning series! This time, the two brothers and their family are off on a new adventure: going camping! Follow along as they take a long drive, have a quick hike, defeat a big lion, hide in a small tent, and conquer the great outdoors—together. There is so much fun to be had along the way—telling stories, fighting monsters, crashing their tent—but best of all is the joy of sharing it with each other.


The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America s Presidents, by Kate Messner and Adam Rex, Chronicle Books, March 24, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)

Who will be the NEXT president? Could it be you? When George Washington became the first president of the United States, there were nine future presidents already alive in America, doing things like practicing law or studying medicine. When JFK became the thirty-fifth president, there were 10 future presidents already alive in America, doing things like hosting TV shows and learning the saxophone. And right now — today! — there are at least 10 future presidents alive in America. They could be playing basketball, like Barack Obama, or helping in the garden, like Dwight D. Eisenhower. They could be solving math problems or reading books. They could be making art — or already making change.


© 2020, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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