Each year, Cracking the Cover compiles a list of books that make great gifts. The following are picture books published and/or reviewed in 2022. All synopsizes are italicized in gray and provided by respective publishers. Reviews are by Jessica. Scroll down for the complete list or click or tap the following links to directly visit a section BOARD BOOK• AGES 2 AND UP • AGES 3 AND UP • AGES 4 AND UP • AGES 5 AND UP • AGES 6 AND UP • AGES 7 AND UP • AGES 8 AND UP • AGES 10 AND UP
ODD BIRDS: MEET NATURE’S WEIRDEST FLOCK, by Laura Gehl and Gareth Lucas, Harry N. Abrams, June 14, 2022, Board Book, $8.99 (ages 2-4)
Backyard birds — move over! Odd Birds introduces babies and toddlers to unusual bird species, including the magnificent frigatebird with a bright red throat pouch and the California condor — the largest flying birds in North America. The eight birds featured are the magnificent frigatebird, blue-footed booby, shoebill stork, ostrich, hoatzin, oilbird, California condor, and burrowing owl. — Synopsis provided by Harry N. Abrams
Odd Birds is an eye-catching board book that will immediately grab youngsters’ attention. From the burrowing owl on the cover to the eight enticing birds boldly depicted on each page, this book is a feast for the eyes. Short, rhythmical sentences accompany each spread, giving readers a taste for each avian wonder. Turn to the back, and you are rewarded with photographs and facts pertaining to all eight birds.
OUR WORLD: A FIRST BOOK OF GEOGRAPHY, by Sue Lowell Gallion and Lisk Feng, Phaidon Press; Illustrated edition, July 22, 2020, Board Book, $19.95 (ages 2-5)
Children are invited to identify and experience the Earth’s amazing geography through rhyming verse and lush illustrations: from rivers, lakes, and oceans deep, to valleys, hills, and mountains steep. Secondary text offers more detailed, curriculum-focused facts and encourages readers to consider their own living environments, making the reading experience personal yet set within a global backdrop. This informative homage to Earth is sure to inspire readers to learn more about their planet — and to engage with the world around them. —Synopsis provided by Phaidon Press
This beautiful board book opens up into the shape of globe. Kids will love the interactive nature and parents will appreciate how it “grows” in text with them.
OUR SEASONS: THE WORLD IN WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, AND AUTUMN, by Sue Lowell Gallion and Lisk Feng, Phaidon Press, April 20, 2022, Board Book, $19.95 (ages 2-5)
The youngest readers are invited to identify and experience the Earth’s amazing seasons around the globe through rhyming verse and lush illustrations: frosty winter, blossoming spring, bountiful summer, colourful autumn. Secondary text offers detailed curriculum-focused facts that encourage children to consider their own environments, making the experience personal yet set within a global backdrop. This informative homage to Earth’s seasons is sure to inspire children to learn more about their planet — and to engage with the world around them. —Synopsis provided by Phaidon Press
Like the book above, this one also opens into the shape of a globe. It’s a similar format with similar cool illustrations.
WHO’S THAT DINOSAUR? AN ANIMAL GUESSING GAME: AN ANIMAL GUESSING GAME, by Gabrielle Balkan and Sam Brewster, Phaidon Press, Sept. 21, 2022, Board Book, $12.95 (ages 2-4)
Set up as a guessing game with visual and narrative clues, Who’s That Dinosaur? invites readers to examine seven skeletons and guess to whom they belong. The answer is provided in a vibrant, foldout reveal, accompanied by an explanation as to why each dinosaur’s body was so special.
It’s a humorous, informative introduction to fossils and dinosaur anatomy, where, in a surprise twist, young children learn how birds are modern-day dinosaurs. A fun and informative introduction to the ever-popular topic of dinosaurs. —Synopsis provided by Phaidon Press
Made out of heavy cardstock, this book is sort of a board book traditional picture book hybrid. Sized for little hands and featuring bold illustrations young readers will immediately be drawn to it.
AGES 2 AND UP
CONSTRUCTION SITE: FARMING STRONG, ALL YEAR LONG, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and AG Ford, Chronicle Books, Nov. 15, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 2-4)
There’s work to do! No time to waste! All year the farm’s a busy place! Six hardworking trucks — with help from brand-new farm vehicles — have work to do in each of the seasons: planting in spring, building a barn in the summer, harvesting in fall, and finally tucking the animals in for a cozy winter. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
This fun addition to the Construction Site series will be a big hit with kids who love construction equipment. Bright colors and emotive vehicles pair with easy text that explores the seasons.
AGES 3 AND UP
MOTHER GOOSE GOES TO INDIA, by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, illustrated by Wazza Pink, Beach Lane Books, Jan. 4, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 0-8)
Mother Goose takes a trip to India in this unique collection of nursery rhymes with a distinctly Indian flair. This little sooar (pig) goes to the bazaar. Little Miss Muffet eats dahi (yogurt) until a makadee (spider) scares her away. Little Jack Horner eats Diwali sweets. Rhymes and characters that are familiar to young readers bring to life the beauty, wonder, and diversity of a vast and vibrant country. —Synopsis provided by Beach Lane Books
This charming picture book is a celebration of culture and language. Though each rhyme is presented through an Indian lens, the authors have remained true to the source material. These fun-to-read rhymes are accompanied by Wazza Pink’s charming illustrations. Full of color and movement, they truly bring the book to life.
BIG AND SMALL AND IN-BETWEEN, by Carter Higgins and Daniel Miyares, Chronicle Books, April 12, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-5)
This book collects the world by size. Divided into three chapters with three specially paper-engineered separations, every page encapsulates one precious moment that perfectly represents both a size and an experience. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
Big and Small and In-Between is the kind of book that kids will love because it speaks directly to them, and parents will love because it transports us back to a simpler place and time. Daniel Miyares frames his beautiful illustrations much the same as a creative arts photographer would a picture. The lens through which he looks is imaginative and playful while remaining heartfelt.
MOUSE’S WOOD: A YEAR IN NATURE, by Alice Melvin, Thames & Hudson, June 7, 2022, Hardcover, $19.95 (ages 3-5)
Written with a gentle rhyme that reflects the slow pace of Mouse’s rambling journey, and illustrated in Alice Melvin’s inimitable style, Mouse’s Wood is a heartwarming celebration of slow living in nature. This beautifully designed book also features special die-cut flaps and includes a spread featuring a nature calendar of plants, birds, and animals for children to search for in the wild.
Mouse first ventures out in wintry January to visit his friend Squirrel. Mouse moves on to wake up Hedgehog for the arrival of spring, and as he continues along the path in the wood, Mouse’s journey from friend to friend maps out the changes in seasons from January through to December. —Synopsis provided by Thames & Hudson
This is the perfect book to give heading into the new year. It’s a lovely exploration of the woods through the seasons. It’s beautiful and it’s interactive and it’s informative. It’s the whole package.
1001 FISH, by Joanna Rzezak, Thames & Hudson, Aug. 23, 2022, Hardcover, $16.95 (ages 3 and up)
1001 Fish is an engaging nonfiction book full of fascinating facts about the ocean. With lively and appealing illustrations, it’s a must-have for children who are curious about sea creatures and the animal kingdom. Illustrated in color throughout. —Synopsis provided by Thames & Hudson
1001 Fish is one of those books that kids will immediately be drawn to. From its colorful cover to the massive octopus on the endpapers to the delightfully expressive creatures, this book is a sight to behold.
THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!, by Mo Willems, Union Square Kids, Sept. 6, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-5)
Buckle up for twists, turns, and emotional loop-de-loops in the most roller coaster-y Pigeon book ever! The Pigeon WILL be ready. Will YOU!? —Synopsis provided by Union Square Kids
Mo Willems is a master of humor, especially when it comes to kids. If you’ve ever read any of his Pigeon or Elephant and Piggie books, then it should come as no surprise that The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! is just as laugh-out-loudable.
And because the text is fairly simple, it’s easy for kids to be active participants in reading The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! even if that’s just from memorizing the words. And — as my 8-year-old just demonstrated by snatching my review copy out of my hands — those who have “technically” moved past these books still love them.
BLUE BABOON FINDS HER TUNE, by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Sept. 6, 2022, Hardcover, $14.99 (ages 3-6)
Blue baboon is eager to play the bassoon with her new friends. But a monsoon threatens to spoil the fun. Fortunately a big balloon arrives in time to carry them to a dune where they can all play in tune together! —Synopsis provided by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
The first thing that grabs you are brightly colored illustrations. Though the book is set at night, there’s a beautiful light and tone that runs throughout. Luscious colors and texture make his charming and expressive characters pop.
Equally sure to appeal to readers is Helen’s text. Its delightfully tongue twisting with a bouncy rhythm that echoes the book’s musical motif.
WHEN MOLLY ATE THE STARS, by Joyce Hesselberth, Chronicle Books, Sept. 6, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-5)
Have you ever tasted the stars? On a cold, clear night, Molly gazes up at the bright stars above, which look good enough to eat. If she could reach far enough surely it wouldn’t hurt to try just one. Would it? —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
When Molly Ate the Stars is beautiful. Deep blue and purple tones allow the stars to glow, and Joyce Hesselberth’s stylized characters are wonderful. In fact, everything about the illustrations is magical. And the words? They pair perfectly with the images. Hesselberth’s tone is clear, calm and inviting.
DRESSING UP THE STARS: THE STORY OF MOVIE COSTUME DESIGNER EDITH HEAD, by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Diana Toledano, Beach Lane Books, Sept. 20, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-8)
As a child, Edith Head had few friends and spent most of her time dressing up her toys and pets and even wild animals using fabric scraps. She always knew she wanted to move somewhere full of people and excitement. She set her sights on Hollywood and talked her way into a job sketching costumes for a movie studio.
Edith taught herself and tirelessly worked her way up until she was dressing some of the biggest stars of the day. She became the first woman to head a major Hollywood movie studio costume department and went on to win eight Academy Awards for best costume design—and she defined the style of an era. —Synopsis provided by Beach Lane Books
Dressing Up the Stars starts out rather quiet. Just a small girl living in a remote mining town. But it’s against that quiet that Edith’s story develops and begins to stand out. Jeanne Walker Harvey’s warm and confident prose sets the stage for Diana Toledano’s stylized illustrations. Together, these women have created art and words that work seamlessly together.
THE CIRCLES IN THE SKY, by Karl James Mountford, Candlewick Studio, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-7)
One morning, Fox is drawn toward the forest. There, in a clearing, he sees something small and silent, perhaps forgotten. It’s a bird, lying as still as can be. Fox is confused, upset, and angry. Is the bird broken? Why doesn’t it move or sing, no matter what Fox does?
His curious antics are spied by a little moth, who shares a comforting thought about the circles in the sky — that the sun, even after it sets, is reflected by the moon and the stars, reminding us of its light. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick Studio
You might pick up The Circles in the Sky because of its beautiful cover, but what’s inside is even better. Author-illustrator Karl James Mountford balances text and illustration perfectly, creating a book worthy of awards.
WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT A TREE? by Emma Carlisle, Templar, Nov. 1, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-7)
“What do you see when you look at a tree? Leaves and twigs and branches?
Or do you see a living thing that moves and breathes and dances?”
Full of finely drawn forest scenes, this gentle picture book encourages children to explore their connections with nature. Award-winning artist Emma Carlisle asks readers to consider how each tree is different, what they have witnessed in their centuries of life, what animals they have sheltered, and who may have played under their branches. Exploring growth through the eyes of a child, this picture book urges readers to connect with the world around them, fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural environment and their place within it. —Synopsis provided by Templar
This ode to trees is beautiful. Young nature lovers will certainly appreciate it, and so will their parents.
AGES 4 AND UP
ONCE UPON A FOREST, by Pam Fong, Random House Studio, Feb. 8, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
After a fire leaves the forest smoldering, a determined marmot and her resourceful bird friend set off on a rescue mission in this wordless story. They clear away fallen branches and scorched bushes. They rake and dig and plant new seedlings in the earth. With determination and ingenuity, as the seasons pass, they care for the little trees by making sure they have enough water, protect their branches from the wind and snow, and keep away hungry creatures, until the trees can thrive on their own. —Random House Studio
Once Upon a Forest is a tender look at the fragility and resiliency of nature. Pam Fong’s use and lack of use of color is inspired, with the majority of her illustrations in black-and-white. Bits of color hint at life and growth, offering a beautiful juxtaposition.
LIKE A DIAMOND IN THE SKY: JANE TAYLOR’S BELOVED POEM OF WONDER AND THE STARS, by Elizabeth Brown and Becca Stadtlander, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Feb. 15, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
In the days when most girls were brought up to run a home, Jane Taylor had a different kind of education in the English countryside, where she was inspired by nature and the stars, and dreamed of becoming a writer. But in the late 1700s, it was not considered proper for women to be writers. Jane and other female poets were shunned, unable to use their own names when published. But Jane did write, and she never forgot her love for the beauty of nature and the glow of stars, or her desire to write for children. Her published poetry became universally known for generations to come: Twinkle, twinkle little star. —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Like a Diamond in the Sky is a lovely look at the life of Jane Taylor. Children will be stunned to learn the writer of one of their favorite poems/songs had to write under a different name. Lyrical writing paired with charming hand-painted illustrations make this one of my favorite recent biographies. Backmatter includes an author’s note, more on Jane Taylor, a timeline and more.
HARRIET’S RUFFLED FEATHERS: THE WOMAN WHO SAVED MILLIONS OF BIRDS, by Joy McCullough and Romina Galotta, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, March 15, 2022, Hardcover, $717.99 (ages 4-8)
Harriet Lawrence Hemenway loved hats. She loved them with ribbons and flowers, embroidery and pearls. And feathers! But then Harriet discovered that millions of birds died so that she and her friends could soar at the height of style. So, Harriet led the charge to take feathers out of fashion, getting laws passed that made it illegal to buy or sell wild bird feathers. In 1896, she and her fellow bird protectors founded the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which grew into a national organization that still protects birds today —Synopsis provided by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Harriet’s Ruffled Feathers is a beautifully illustrated book about a woman who saw a problem and set out to fix it. Smooth and engaging text make Harriet’s story accessible and enjoyable. Strong back matter includes information about conservation, birdwatching tips, and how to make pretend binoculars. This book would be a fun addition to classroom lessons on birds.
THE BOOK THAT DID NOT WANT TO BE READ, by David Sundin, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 1, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
WARNING! Stop what you’re doing! Don’t you know that this book does not want to be read? If you try, all sorts of unfortunate things will happen. It will turn into a steering wheel! Letters will go missing! The book will act up and squirm around and grow wings and try to fly away! It will even insert a bunny that has absolutely nothing to do with anything. A persistent reader might see all kinds of strange and magical things, silly and secret things…But this book just does not want to be read, and it’s better to leave it alone. …Or is it? —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Reminiscent of B.J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures, The Book That Did Not Want to Be Read is an interactive read that is much better when it’s read aloud than to one’s self. In fact, it would be great fun reading it to a group of children who really get involved. The graphic design of this book deserves as much praise as its words. Bold type and “old-fashioned” illustrations bring it to life. Without these elements, the book just wouldn’t be the same. It’s a fun read that’s sure to make kids giggle.
LIZZY AND THE CLOUD, by Terry Fan and Eric Fan, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, May 3, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
It’s a little out of fashion to buy a pet cloud, but Lizzy doesn’t mind. She’s not looking for a big one or a fancy one, just one that’s right for her. And she finds it in Milo. Soon, she’s taking Milo out on walks with her family, watering Milo right on schedule, and seeing Milo grow and grow. But what happens when her pet cloud gets too big for Lizzy to handle? —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Reading Lizzy and the Cloud is like being wrapped up in a cozy blanket. Warm and gentle prose is paired with muted colors and charming pencil drawings bring this story to life. Subtle humor laced throughout brings the whole story together.
A LITTLE FERRY TALE, by Chad Otis, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Aug. 2, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Little Ferry feels like no one notices her. She isn’t strong like Tugboat or fast like Speedboat or graceful like Sailboat, the boats everyone loves to watch. But Little Ferry is special, too! She’s patient and careful and always on time. And when disaster flares on Wildlife Island, Little Ferry finds that her quiet traits are the very ones that will help her finally stand out and save the day. —Synopsis provided by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
This charming tale by Chad Otis features fairly simple text and expressive illustrations. The text is fun to read aloud, and the illustrations are engaging.
A CASE OF THE ZAPS, by Alex Boniello, April Lavalle, James Kwan, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Aug. 16, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Meet 3.14159265358979323846264338327950 . . . Or Pi, for short.
Pi’s just like any other kid robot: They love to listen to music, play with their dog, and hang out with their friends. And when their teacher announces a field trip to Olde Silicon Valley, Pi couldn’t be more excited! They daydream of all the awesome things they want to see and do there –– but also begin to worry about all the things that could go wrong . . . Then, on the way home, Pi feels a ZAP! They try to avoid the strange feeling, but the Zaps keep happening. Pi doesn’t understand. They have a firewall installed! What could be going on? —Synopsis provided by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes and at all ages. A Case of the Zaps is a great way for little ones to not only identify what they’re feeling but how to deal with those feelings, too.
Pi is a sweet little character that readers will immediately be drawn to. Who doesn’t love a robot? And the comic-book style inspired illustrations really help to emphasize action and emotions.
A BEAR FAR FROM HOME, by Susan Fletcher and Rebecca Green, Anne Schwartz Books, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Long ago, when kings and queens ruled much of the world, the king of Norway gave the king of England a bear. Imagine a polar bear at ease in her natural arctic world, her only home — until trappers capture her and take her to the king of England. Imagine a polar bear in her lonely new world, stuck in a cage. This small, enclosed space is her only home — until King Henry III decrees that she be brought to the Thames River every day to swim and fish. Imagine now this same polar bear dipping a curious paw in the river water, then leaping in with a joyful splash. And it is here, in this unfamiliar, faraway land, in one small way, that she finds home once again. —Synopsis proved by Anne Schwartz Books
The story of King Henry III’s bear is a true one, though some of the details are a bit sketchy. So, as author Susan Fletcher explains in her notes, she’s based A Bear Far from Home on clear facts and “reasoned through what seems likely to have happened, and what might have been.”
Fletcher’s prose throughout is thoughtful and well-paced. And Green’s art — inspired by early medieval illustrations — captures the spirit of the time while feeling fresh and new.
I AM ME: A BOOK OF AUTHENTICITY, by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $15.99 (ages 4-8)
Sometimes we hide who we really are to conform to the way we think we are supposed to be in the world. Sometimes we compare ourselves to others and feel we don’t fit in. But when we realize we are something to be celebrated, and we proudly live out loud as our true selves, we can make our unique mark on the world — and share our joy! —Synopsis provided by Abrams Books for Young Readers
I Am Me is basically a book of affirmations. Simple, yet powerful words that Verde carefully crafts into impactful statements that celebrate mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Reynolds captures Verde’s words with exuberance. His use of line and color are perfectly balanced, punctuating Verde’s text in just the right way.
THE ARNOLD LOBEL BOOK OF MOTHER GOOSE by Arnold Lobel, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Oct. 11, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 4-8)
This treasury of 302 timeless rhymes includes both favorite and less familiar verses that are the foundation of any child’s language development, such as “This little pig went to market” and “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.” —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
This reissue of Lobel’s 1986 version is both fun and beautiful. It’s a timeless book that grownups and kids will enjoy.
TELL THE TRUTH, PANGOLIN, by Melinda Beatty and Paola Escobar, Anne Schwartz Books, Oct. 18, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Pangolin is enjoying himself on the royal swing in the bright summer sunshine when suddenly, the ropes break and — OW! — he falls to the ground. What will I tell the queen?! Pangolin worries. He races to the stables to ask his friend Badger. “Tell her the musicians needed the swing’s rope for their lutes!” the stablemaster advises. Fox, the castle guard, has a different idea: “Might you say that the King needed to repair his royal jump rope?” Pug, Cat, and Goose all have suggestions, too. But which story will Pangolin tell the queen?! —Synopsis provided by Anne Schwartz Books
Filled with humor, Tell the Truth, Pangolin is a light and understanding look at the challenges that exist when telling the truth. It’s a tale that young — and old — readers will immediately relate to, and would be a good resource in a number of learning situations as well as being enjoyed at home.
AGES 5 AND UP
YOU ARE A STAR, RUTH BADER GINSBURG, by Dean Robbins and Sarah Green, Scholastic Press, Feb. 1, 2022, Paperback, $7.99 (ages 5-7)
Make way for Ruth Bader Ginsburg! Using a unique mix of first-person narrative, comic panels, and essential facts, Dean Robbins introduces young readers to an American trailblazer. The first book in a new nonfiction series, You Are a Star, Ruth Bader Ginsburg focuses on Ruth’s lifelong mission to bring equality and justice to all. —Synopsis provided by Scholastic Press
This great picture book is told from RBG’s perspective, giving it a personal feeling it wouldn’t otherwise have. It follows her entire life with easy nuggets of information without feeling rushed or overly comprehensive. Illustrator Sarah Green’s comic illustrations are full of color and feeling.
DIGESTION! THE MUSICAL, by Adam Rex and Laura Park, Chronicle Books, Oct. 25, 2022, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 5-8)
The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body meets Hamilton in this hilarious picture book about the most basic process of the human body: digesting food! Candy’s made it. She’s finally here: the human body! This intrepid sweet treat meets each of the human body’s organs as she approaches her “big break”: being successfully digested! Here is the scientific process of digestion as you’ve never seen it before — told through a musical, with Candy in the role of the small-town kid who wants to make it big, the baby carrots as the Greek chorus narrating all the action, and cameos from every body part that plays an important role in transforming food from ingredients to nutrition. From beloved duo Adam Rex and Laura Park comes a genuinely educational, laugh-out-loud Broadway musical of a book about an epic adventure through the human body, from bite to bottom. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
FRINDLESWYLDE, by Natalia O’Hara and Lauren O’Hara, Walker Books, Nov. 4, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 5-9)
When the mysterious boy Frindleswylde enters Cora and Grandma’s house in the woods, he steals the light from their lantern. Without it, Grandma will not be able to return home after work in the dark. Cora is determined to get the lantern back, but first she must follow Frindleswylde down a hole in the pond that leads to his magical frozen kingdom, where he sets her three Impossible Tasks. —Synopsis provided by Walker Books
This gorgeous picture book is reminiscent of the Snow Queen. An enchanting story is paired with stunning illustrations. This one is destined to become a repeatable family favorite.
BAKE, MAKE, AND LEARN TO COOK VEGETARIAN: HEALTHY AND GREEN RECIPES FOR YOUNG COOKS, by David Atherton and Alice Bowsher, Candlewick, Nov. 8, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 5-8)
The 2019 winner of The Great British Baking Show goes green with a collection of must-try vegetarian recipes, following up his debut book Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook. With more than forty vegetarian and plant-based recipes for scrumptious meals, savory snacks, tasty treats, and showstopper desserts, David Atherton’s second course is a feast for readers who care about the food on their plate. Will it be spicy cauliflower bites or mini pizza swirls for your snack on the go? Pasta and homemade pesto or made-from-scratch veggie burgers tonight? How about melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cookies with a secret avocado ingredient (shhh)? Featuring easy-to-follow, boldly illustrated, step-by-step instructions, with notes on stocking a pantry, commonly used cookware, and eating locally and seasonally, this buffet of deliciously healthy recipes is perfect for budding chefs everywhere. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
These simple, easy-to-make recipes are that are a great introduction to baking for kids. They’ll especially like the sweet treats section, but the other ones are great, too.
AGES 6 AND UP
THE BRAINIAC’S BOOK OF THE CLIMATE AND WEATHER, by Rosie Cooper and Harriet Russell, Thames & Hudson, Jan. 11, 2022, Hardcover, $17.95 (ages 6-8)
What’s the difference between climate and weather? How do we know the climate is changing? The need-to-know answers to these and many other pressing questions are explained in this volume through incredible stories, infographics ― including how many farts animals add to the atmosphere each year ― and fun activities like engineering a solar oven from a pizza box. Budding brainiacs will love reading “Need-to-Know” stories, diving into interactive “Try This” activities, and building a trove of fascinating facts from a series of infographic “Data Dumps.” —Synopsis provided by Thames & Hudson
The Brainiac’s Book of the Climate and Weather is just the sort of book curious kids will gobble up. Given the swings in weather patterns we’ve seen around the country, this book will answer a lot of questions, and perhaps learning beyond it.
BREAKING THROUGH THE CLOUDS: THE SOMETIMES TURBULENT LIFE OF METEOROLOGIST JOANNE SIMPSON, by Sandra Nickel and Helena Perez Garcia, Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 8, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 6-9)
When Joanne Simpson (1923-2010) was a girl, she sailed her boat beneath the puffy white clouds of Cape Cod. As a pilot, she flew her plane so high, its wings almost touched them. And when World War II began and Joanne moved to the University of Chicago, a professor asked her to teach Air Force officers about those very clouds and the weather-changing winds.
As soon as the war ended, Joanne decided to seriously study the clouds she had grown to love so much. Her professors laughed. They told her to go home. But Joanne was stubborn. She sold her boat. She flew her last flight. She saved her money so that she could study clouds. She worked so hard and discovered so much that — despite what the professors said — she received a doctorate in meteorology. She was the first woman in the world to do so. —Synopsis provided by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Author Sandra Nickel expertly captures Joanne’s frustrations, expectations and triumphs. The text is friendly and clear even when providing scientific information. Illustrator Helena Perez Garcia not only shows what happens to Joanne, but conveys emotion with some perfectly placed clouds, as well. Readers will be delighted to see photographs of Joanne and further information in the book’s backmatter.
CLEOPATRA TELLS ALL! by Chris Naunton and Guilherme Karsten, Thames & Hudson, Aug. 23, 2022, Hardcover, $16.95 (ages 6-8)
What would happen if the famous people of ancient Egypt were given the opportunity to tell their version of historical events ― in their own words? It would be incredible! In this highly entertaining and comically illustrated book, Cleopatra is brought back to life to tell her own version of history. —Synopsis provided by Thames & Hudson
Cleopatra Tells All! is told from the point of view of the queen herself. And she’s got just the right spark to draw readers in. This conversational style makes the subject approachable and the smaller bits of text make it easy to read cover to cover or jump around.
The book is divided into 19 “chapters” followed by a map of Alexandria, glossary, an explanation of Roman numerals and an index. Karsten’s full-color illustrations are perfectly paired with Naunton’s enthusiastic and informative text.
THE SECRET LIFE OF BUTTERFLIES, by Rena Ortega and Roger Vila, Thames & Hudson, Aug. 9, 2022, Hardcover, $16.95 (ages 6-8)
Butterflies may be the most magical of insects ― but did you know that some of them can fly almost forty miles per hour? This stunningly illustrated children’s reference shares some of the most incredible and thrilling details about the many kinds of butterflies and moths. From where they migrate to how they trick predators, The Secret Life of Butterflies is full of facts. —Synopsis provided by Thames & Hudson
The Secret Life of Butterflies is the sort of book that you want to dissect and frame. This exquisite book is full of beautifully detailed illustrations from cover to cover. These illustrations aren’t just beautiful, they’re accurate.
Covering topics like camouflage; the difference between moths and butterflies; butterfly superpowers; and diversity, The Secret Life of Butterflies would be an excellent addition to any home or classroom library.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS DINOSAUR ATLAS, by National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, Sept. 20, 2022, Hardcover, $24.99 (ages 6-10)
Journey from the Triassic to the Jurassic to the Cretaceous to find out how Earth slowly shifted over time, and how the variety of dinosaurs ruling the planet changed too. Discover how some of these creatures took to the land and others to water or air, and what their habitats were like. Explore how these prehistoric lands correspond to current locations, and hear from paleontologists about the groundbreaking discoveries they are making in these fossil-rich places today. —Synopsis provided by National Geographic Kids
The atlas features profiles of more than 75 prehistoric creatures, kid-friendly maps, vibrant illustrations, and sections introducing the dinosaur family tree, a timeline, prehistoric geography, and a dinosaur dictionary.
Though the publisher’s suggested age range for National Geographic Kids Dinosaur Atlas is 7 to 10, I think kids as young as 6 would enjoy it.
A WALK THROUGH THE RAIN FOREST, by Martin Jenkins and Vicky White, Candlewick, Oct. 18, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 6-9)
Conservation biologist Martin Jenkins and acclaimed fine artist Vicky White expertly guide readers into the complex ecosystem of Malaysia’s Taman Negara. Conversational prose and photorealistic black-and-white artwork — punctuated by four jaw-dropping full-color spreads — evoke the whir of cicadas and the low call of a pheasant. Pages fill with ants and elephants, leopards and hornbills, gibbons and bats, as animals spread and fertilize seeds to help maintain a magnificent old-growth forest. Every living thing in the rain forest is interconnected, and a dazzling full-color index guide at the end of the book challenges readers to circle back and marvel at animals they may have missed in the dense foliage. Meticulously researched and visually arresting, this creative tour de force is a young conservationist’s dream: the ecotour of a lifetime. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
SYMPHONY FOR A BROKEN ORCHESTRA: HOW PHILADELPHIA COLLECTED SOUNDS TO SAVE MUSIC, by Amy Ignatow and Gwen Millward, Walker Books US, Oct. 25, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 6-9)
The schools of Philadelphia were filling up with broken violins, drums, pianos, and more, making it difficult for students to learn to play. This sparked an idea for a symphony, played entirely with the broken instruments, that would raise funds to repair the instruments themselves. Musicians young and old volunteered, and their captivating performance showed that even something broken can sing — and that great music is always possible with a bit of inventiveness and improvisation. Based on real events, this inspiring story introduces young readers to a range of instruments as it celebrates a community coming together to make a joyful, meaningful noise. More information about the nonprofit organization Broken Orchestra can be found in the back matter, including a link to an audio recording of the symphony performance. —Synopsis provided by Walker Books
Symphony for a Broken Orchestra is an explosion of color and sound that immediately brings a smile. This book is a joy to read and will have kids giggling aloud.
CURTAIN UP!: BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, by Royal Opera House and Lauren O’Hara, Thames & Hudson, Oct. 25, 2022, Hardcover, $18.95 (ages 6-8)
It’s opening night of The Nutcracker ballet, and the performers at the Royal Opera House in London are busy getting ready to step out onto the stage. Meanwhile, Figaro ― the opera house’s resident cat ― is poised to take readers on a behind-the-scenes tour to meet the many people working to make tonight’s performance a resounding success. This backstage tour of the Royal Opera House takes readers from department to department to discover what’s involved in putting on a performance such as The Nutcracker. This book combines real-life details with the magical atmosphere of the theater. Including an introduction to a classical orchestra, key ballet terms, and basic stage directions, Curtain Up! encourages young readers to explore the many ways they can get involved. —Synopsis provided by Thames & Hudson
Kids will love learning about all the behind-the-scenes action at a theater. Lovely illustrations combined with informative text make this book a winner.
AGES 7 AND UP
OUT OF THIS WORLD: STAR-STUDDED HAIKU, by Sally M. Walker and Matthew Trueman, Candlewick, April 12, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 7-9)
This stunning meeting of poetic form and artwork transports us out of the bounds of Earth, past a lunar eclipse, beyond the orbiting planets, and into glowing galaxies and twinkling constellations. Sally M. Walker explores space through haiku, accompanied by narrative explanations of wonders that are out of this world. Illustrator Matthew Trueman imagines the explosive Big Bang and meteor showers in views that no telescope could offer. Comprehensive, well-researched back matter further explores such topics as constellations and astronomers, the birth of the universe, stars, the solar system, moons and eclipses, asteroids, meteors, and comets, as well as a glossary of terms, a bibliography, and online resources for readers with an eye to what lies beyond Earth. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
This mixture of poetry, art and science is a lovely combination that is sure to appeal to a large cross-section of readers. It would be a great source of inspiration for a classroom unit on verse, illustration or space. In just three lines, the author conveys a lot of information and the beautiful illustrations are sure to spark imagination. Fairly extensive backmatter allows for further discovery.
WHAT ABOUT: SCIENCE, by Bertrand Fichou and Pascal Lemaître, Twirl, May 24, 2022, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 7-11)
What is the sound barrier? What is snot made of? Why do we yawn? Curious kids want to know, and they will get the answers to these questions and many more in this exceptional illustrated Q&A book. Questions from many branches of science, including chemistry, physics, biology, geology — are answered in a fun, kid-friendly way and accompanied by quirky cartoon illustrations that will entertain readers and help them remember important facts. —Synopsis provided by Twirl
This is a great option for curious, science-minded kids with silly illustrations and interesting text.
CAN’T GET ENOUGH SPACE STUFF: FUN FACTS, AWESOME INFO, COOL GAMES, SILLY JOKES, AND MORE! by Stephanie Drimmer and Julie Beer, National Geographic Kids, Aug. 2, 2022, Paperback, $14.99 (ages 7-10)
This book has everything to captivate space enthusiasts: Tons of fun facts, exciting games, hands-on activities, hilarious space jokes, stories from experts, and tidbits about the latest info on black holes, the International Space Station, and what life on Mars could look like. —Synopsis provided by National Geographic Kids
From cover to cover, all 128 pages of Can’t Get Enough Space Stuff is packed with all things out of this world. It’s exactly the type of book you can hand off to the space nerd in your life without any worries.
SUNDAY FUNDAY: AN ACTIVITY FOR EVERY WEEKEND OF THE YEAR, by Katherine Halligan and Jesus Verona, Candlewick Press, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $14.99 (ages 7-9)
Make every Sunday a fun day with an amazing activity to keep you busy each weekend of the year. From gardening projects and obstacle courses to creative crafts and recipes, there’s something fun to do no matter what the weather is. Packed with 52 seasonal activities for all ages, this book will be sure to make every weekend a fantastic one. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick Press
This delightful book fosters creativity for those who love nature.
THE REAL DADA MOTHER GOOSE: A TREASURY OF COMPLETE NONSENSE, by Jon Scieszka and Julia Rothman, Candlewick, Oct. 5, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 7-10)
Mother knows best, but sometimes a little nonsense wins the day. Inspired by Dadaism’s rejection of reason and rational thinking, and in cahoots with Blanche Fisher Wright’s The Real Mother Goose, this anthology of absurdity unravels the fabric of classic nursery rhymes and stitches them back together (or not quite together) in every clever way possible. One by one, cherished nursery rhymes — from “Humpty Dumpty” to “Hickory Dickory Dock,” “Jack Be Nimble” to “Mother Hubbard” — fall prey to sly subversion as master of fracture Jon Scieszka and acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman refashion them into comics strips, errant book reports, anagrams, and manic mash-ups. Playfully reconstructed, the 36 old-new rhymes invite further baloney, bringing kids in on the joke and inviting them to revel in reimagining. Featuring robust back matter, this irreverent take on the rhymes of childhood is a great gift for child readers, a rich classroom resource across grade levels, and a love song to a living language. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
WHAT ABOUT: THE UNIVERSE, by Bertrand Fichou, Twirl; 1st edition, Nov. 8, 2022, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 7 & up)
What is the universe? Can you travel in time? Will humans ever live on other planets? Curious kids want to know, and they will get the answers to these questions and many more in this exceptional illustrated Q&A book. Questions about astronomy are answered in a fun, kid-friendly way and accompanied by quirky cartoon illustrations that will entertain readers and help them remember important facts. —Synopsis provided by Twirl
AGES 8 AND UP
THE STARDUST THAT MADE US: A VISUAL EXPLORATION OF CHEMISTRY, ATOMS, ELEMENTS, AND THE UNIVERSE, by Colin Stuart and Ximo Abadia, Big Picture Press, March 22, 2022, Hardcover, $24.99 (ages 8-12)
Designed to present chemistry in a new, approachable way, this book explores the history and application of chemistry in the natural world. With incredible artwork from Ximo Abadía, the reader can visualize the 118 known elements and explore the chemical makeup of the universe. —Synopsis provided by Big Picture Press
This vibrant picture book is divided into groupings, each with topics pertaining to the group. For example: Groups includes metals, nonmetals, metalloids, halogens, noble gases, lanthanides and actinides while People and Places includes Nobel Prize winners, pioneering women, myths and legends, the solar system and Ytterby. In addition to the five groups, an introduction goes over the basics of elements. Bold, graphic illustrations accompany easy-to-digest snippets of information making this a great option for young scientists.
OCEANARIUM: WELCOME TO THE MUSEUM, by Loveday Trinick and Teagan White, Big Picture Press, April 5, 2022, Hardcover, $37.99 (ages 8-12)
This new offering from the Welcome to the Museum series guides readers around the world’s oceans, from sandy shorelines to the darkest depths. Learn about the ocean’s most fascinating animals, including giant whale sharks, tiny tropical fish, and majestic manatees, among many others. With expert text by marine biologist Loveday Trinick and illustrations by Teagan White, travel the world from frozen Arctic seas to shimmering coral reefs, and learn why it is so important that we protect our oceans. —Synopsis provided by Big Picture Press
As is always the case with the Welcome to the Museum series, Oceanarium is a triumph. From stunning, hang-on-your-wall illustrations to accessible and informative text, this book is worth every penny. Younger children will love the pictures before they are able to read the accompanying text, and middle-readers, older teens and adults will find themselves swept away by this 96-page picture book.
WILDS OF THE UNITED STATES: THE ANIMALS’ SURVIVAL FIELD GUIDE, by Alexander Vidal, Chronicle Books, July 12, 2022, Hardcover, $22.99 (ages 8-12)
Put on your best pair of hiking boots, grab a sturdy walking stick, and explore the wild places of the United States with this stunning guidebook! Soak up new and shocking facts about this unexpected world of ours; pore over captivating, detail-rich illustrations; and discover surprising new creatures (some may be closer than you think!) every time you open the book. From glistening, snow-packed mountain ranges to searing deserts, this immersive and accessible guide is a one-stop shop for outdoor adventurers, animal enthusiasts, inquisitive minds — and anyone who listens to the call of the wild. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
This is a great reference guide for kids. Information comes in bite-sized nuggets that are easily digested and engaging illustrations.
5,000 AWESOME FACTS ABOUT ANIMALS, by National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, Sept. 6, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 8-12)
Bursting with fascinating, fun-tastic facts, this treasure trove of all things animals leaves no habitat unexplored or unusual animal ability unmentioned! Ever wonder how smart a chicken is? Why a tiny island is home to thousands of venomous snakes? What sound a rhino makes when it’s happy? Find these answers and 4,997 more in this captivating and colorful collection! —Synopsis provided by National Geographic
There’s a lot going on in 5,000 Awesome Facts About Animals. There has to be. Cramming 5,000 facts into 224 pages means there’s not a lot of blank space. That’s especially the case on the pages featuring 100 facts about specific animal groups. These two-page spreads feature a few photographs and dense text alternating in black and green to differentiate between each fact.
COUNTING IN DOG YEARS AND OTHER SASSY MATH POEMS, by Betsy Franco and Priscilla Tey, Candlewick, Oct. 11, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
This explores a range of math topics — from fractions and time measurements to geometry and graphs — in a way that relates math to the daily lives of children. Even the most mathematically disinclined will warm to these innovative poems, illustrated by Priscilla Tey, whose mechanical “Numbots” guide readers through a surreal playground. From multiplying mice to missing socks, from stinky scales to bug races, this collection of verse subtracts the mystery, fear, and loathing from mathematics. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
Counting in Dog Years is a great combination of creativity and math. Kids who like poems, math and silly illustrations will all be drawn to it. The book is a great option for the classroom as it illustrates how many subjects can overlap and benefit from each other.
SLEUTH & SOLVE: SCIENCE: 20+ MIND-TWISTING MYSTERIES, by Ana Gallo and Victor Escandell, Chronicle Books; Bilingual edition, Oct. 25, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
Welcome to the world of Sleuth & Solve: Science, where clues are hiding in every detail and unexpected twists put your wits to the test. These mind-bending mysteries require science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to solve. Plus, each case includes a scientific explanation and ideas for experiments to enhance readers’ STEM knowledge. Play solo or with friends, collecting points for cracking each compelling case to reveal whose scientific sleuthing skills reign supreme! —Synopsis Provided by Chronicle Books
This is the perfect gift for kids that love puzzles and problem solving. The illustrations are hilarious and the mysteries are fun to decode.
AGES 10 AND UP
MARSHMALLOW CLOUDS: TWO POETS AT PLAY AMONG FIGURES OF SPEECH, by Ted Kooser, Connie Wanek, Richard Jones, Candlewick, March 15, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 10-12)
Look around: what do you see? A clown balancing a pie in a tree, or an empty nest perched on a leafless branch? As poet Connie Wanek alludes to in her afterword — a lively dialogue with former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser — sometimes the simplest sights and sounds “summon our imaginations” and cry out to be clothed in the alchemical language of poetry. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
Divided into the four elements — fire, water, air and earth — this book looks to everyday events and things for inspiration. From a thunderstorm to a flyswatter to a cow pie, the authors encourage readers to look beyond the obvious. Paired with stylized, dreamlike illustrations, this one is a joy to read.
PEACE IS A CHAIN REACTION: HOW WORLD WAR II JAPANESE BALLOON BOMBS BROUGHT PEOPLE OF TWO NATIONS TOGETHER, by Tanya Lee Stone and Various, Candlewick, Sept. 13, 2022, Hardcover, $24.99 (ages 10-12)
Adults wage war, while children are unwitting victims, pulled into a maelstrom of fear and hate without any choice. This is a story about two groups of teenagers on opposite sides of the world, forever connected by an act of war. It is a story about the adults some of those teens became, forever connected by acts of forgiveness, understanding, and peace. And it is a story about one remarkable man, whose heart belonged both to America and Japan, who put that peace and understanding in motion. Panning the camera wide, Tanya Lee Stone lays the global groundwork for the story’s context before zooming in on the lives of the people involved, providing an intimate look at how their changing perspectives impact their actions. Through meticulous research, interviews, and archival photo curation, Stone skillfully weaves all of these stories together, illuminating how, despite the devastating pain and destruction caused by war, peace can be a chain reaction. Extensive back matter includes an author’s note, source notes, bibliography, and index. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
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