By Maria Russo
Republished by NY Times. View the article at the NY Times website here.
Written and illustrated by James Yang
A little boy with a backpack misses his bus. Bummer. Then comes a succession of buslike vehicles — a covered wagon, a ship — that are definitely not what he’s waiting for. This ingenious book will call out to toddlers, but keep it around for early readers, too. The words are simple, and Yang’s witty art is built to last.
32 pp. Viking. $17.99. (Ages 2 to 5)
THE RABBIT LISTENED
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
Onesie-wearing Taylor, who’s wonderfully drawn to be either a boy or a girl, builds a block tower that falls down. Everyone who comes by to help, including a chicken and an elephant, is full of well-meaning advice. Only a silent rabbit offers what Taylor — like all of us — needs: the comfort of someone who will just listen, laugh and give a hug.
40 pp. Dial. $17.99. (Ages 3 to 6)
Written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
Wenzel’s “They All Saw a Cat” played with different creatures’ points of view. This book spreads its arms wider, introducing the staggering range of species that share the earth — many of them endangered or threatened. Wenzel’s vibrant collaged art and simple rhythms call to mind Eric Carle, with a factual-minded touch.
48 pp. Chronicle. $17.99. (Ages 5 to 8)
THE WORD COLLECTOR
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Jerome collects not things but words — lovely ones like “willow” and “spark” — and decides to share them. As always, Reynolds (“The Dot”) brings an enchanting light hand to deeper themes. In Jerome’s quest to spread the beauty of language, the story acquires the timeless, classic quality of Leo Lionni’s tale of Frederick the mouse.
40 pp. Orchard Books. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8)
Written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
This warm trip through the wonderland of Grandma Mimi’s purse is really a tribute to the steadying force of grandparental love in a child’s life. It also brims with adorable small stuff to look at. No illustrator does clothes, décor and style better than Brantley-Newton (“The Youngest Marcher”).
32 pp. Knopf. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8)
VINCENT COMES HOME
Written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley
Jessixa Bagley’s books featuring woodland animals include “Boats for Papa,” an honestto-God tear-jerker. Here she’s teamed with her husband, Aaron Bagley, for the tale of a ship’s cat who learns what “home” means. Wider-ranging than her solo books, it’s just as satisfying and emotionally astute.
38 pp. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8)
ALL THAT TRASH: THE STORY OF THE 1987 GARBAGE BARGE AND OUR PROBLEM WITH STUFF
Written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
With her exuberantly silly illustrations, McCarthy (“Earmuffs for Everyone!”) has a great way with nonfiction picture books. This one — about an oozing, fly-infested barge of New York City garbage that became famous for traveling the seas unable to find a willing dump — raises awareness of our national trash problem. As children know, the truth is so often stranger than fiction.
48 pp. Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster. $17.99. (Ages 4 to 8)
BEAR AND WOLF
Written and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Salmieri, known for his visual humor (“Dragons Love Tacos”), shows his writing chops in this stunning, serene and philosophical book. A bear and a wolf, out for nighttime walks, hike through snowy winter vistas. Nothing much happens: Sometimes, peaceful companionship and a mutual appreciation of beauty are more than enough.
48 pp. Enchanted Lion. $17.95. (Ages 4 to 8)
GRACE FOR GUS
By Harry Bliss. Illustrated by Harry Bliss and Frank Young
In this wordless graphic novel-style picture book, Grace’s class wants a new hamster. She sneaks out to raise money by busking, drawing and dancing. Bliss, a New Yorker cartoonist, piles on funny Manhattan details kids may miss, but they’ll love Grace’s spunky quest to make a difference on her own.
40 pp. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins. $17.99. (Ages 5 and up)
By Junot Díaz. Illustrated by Leo Espinosa
The other kids in Lola’s class recall their homelands, but she doesn’t. So she gathers stories of “the Island.” With Espinosa’s bright illustrations creating just the right mood, Díaz, the author of acclaimed adult books including “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” celebrates an immigrant community and testifies to the experiences of Dominicans who fled the dictator Rafael Trujillo, called simply “the Monster.”
48 pp. Dial. $17.99. (Ages 5 to 8)