Picture Book Gems

If Picasso Painted a Snowman -- Amy & Greg Newbold

A big, brightly colored, playful introduction to various important painters and art movements. If someone asked you to paint a snowman, you would probably start with three white circles stacked one upon another. Then you would add black dots for eyes, an orange triangle for a nose, and a black dotted smile. But if Picasso painted a snowman… From that simple premise flows this delightful, whimsical, educational picture book that shows how the artist’s imagination can summon magic from a prosaic subject. Greg Newbold’s chameleon-like artistry shows us Roy Lichtenstein’s snow hero saving the day, Georgia O’Keefe’s snowman blooming in the desert, Claude Monet’s snowmen among haystacks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic snowman, Jackson Pollock’s snowman in ten thousand splats, Salvador Dali’s snowmen dripping like melty cheese, and snowmen as they might have been rendered by J. M. W. Turner, Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Georges Seurat, Pablita Velarde, Piet Mondrian, Sonia Delaunay, Jacob Lawrence, and Vincent van Gogh. Our guide for this tour is a lively hamster who―also chameleon-like―sports a Dali mustache on one spread, a Van Gogh ear bandage on the next.  

PIC Newbold

The Flower Man -- Mark Ludy

When the Flower Man arrives he buys an old, abandoned shack, long forgotten in a colorless town. His neighbors don't know what to think as everything he touches turns to color. He plants a garden, gives away a flower . . . and the next thing you know, every life is transformed in this wordless picture book. The message within, while simple, is profound. It points to the fact that every life matters and love never fails to change lives. Every window tells a different story—more than 60 of them. All ages will enjoy it, and when given a chance to discover it, people never forget it. Don't forget to find Squeakers, the elusive gray mouse found on every spread . . . somewhere!

PIC Ludy

Maybe -- Kobi Yamada

You are more amazing than you even know. New York Times best-selling author Kobi Yamada has written a story about the unbound potential you hold inside. With striking, realistic illustrations, it's a reminder that you were meant for incredible things. And maybe, just maybe, you will exceed your wildest dreams.

PIC Yamada


The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick -- Drew Daywalt

When super cheerful Stick and grumpy stuffed bunny Huggie get thrown from a backpack, the adventure is on! Together this odd couple survives encounters with sea-faring pirates, raging rhinos in Africa, sword-wielding royalty in Europe, stick-eating panda bears in Asia, sharks in Australia, hungry penguins in Antarctica, and piranhas in South America--all before finally making it home to North America. Each sees their adventures in a different light, illustrating that attitude can make all the difference in how we view the world. A fantastically funny read-aloud about two unlikely friends and their epic journey around the world.

PIC Daywalt

The Crayon Man -- Natascha Biebow

What child doesn't love to hold a crayon in their hands?  But children didn't always have such magical boxes of crayons.  Before Edwin Binney set out to change things, children couldn't really even draw in color. Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a bright green box for only a nickel! With experimentation, and a special knack for listening, Edwin Binney and his dynamic team at Crayola created one of the world’s most enduring, best-loved childhood toys – empowering children to dream in COLOR!

J BIO Binney

Hair Love -- Matthew A. Cherry

Zuri's hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it's beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he'll do anything to make her -- and her hair -- happy. Certain styles makes her feel certain ways, but today is special and she has to have the most special hair ever. It’s up to her, her dad, a tablet and some videos, to create an awesome do for an awesome day. 

PIC Cherry

Tudley Didn't Know -- John Himmelman

When a hummingbird drops a bit of lichen into his pond, innocent young Tudley the turtle fishes it out and flies up to the bird's nest to return it. But the bird informs Tudley that turtles can't fly. Soon Tudley is told that he can't do other things he has just done: light his tail like a firefly, hop like a frog, and sing like a katydid. When he finds himself stuck atop a pile of rocks, the other turtles explain what he can do. The final, wordless double-page spread shows that Tudley has also taught the other turtles a thing or two.

PIC Himmelman

Hike -- Pete Oswald

In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they're going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive -- and closer than ever -- as they document their hike and take their place in family history. 

PIC Oswald

I Walk with Vanessa -- Kerascoet

In this wordless book, new girl Vanessa, shy and withdrawn, becomes a bully's target after school and finally runs home in tears.Another little girl sees it happen and is concerned enough to tell all of her friends, who also become concerned and wander home, sad for Vanessa. The observant girl stays up late, worrying, and the next morning, has the idea to go to Vanessa's house and offer to walk her to school, which she does. They're joined by one more kid, then another, and another, until a smiling throng accompanies Vanessa to school, with the bully skulking away.

PIC Kerascoet

Fly -- Mark Teague

It’s a big day up in the tree that Mama bird shares with her baby. Mama bird thinks Baby bird is finally ready to leave the nest and learn to fly so he can migrate south with the rest of their flock. But Baby bird isn’t so sure. Can’t his mother keep bringing him worms in their nest? Can’t he migrate in a hot air balloon instead? Or perhaps a car? This silly wordless picture book will keep young readers giggling as Baby bird figures out that he must flap his wings and learn to fly—whether he likes it or not!

PIC Teague

Super-completely and Totally the Messiest -- Judith Viorst

Olivia emphatically states that her younger sister, Sophie, is the messiest human being around and proceeds to tell of the chaos that her sibling creates. Glasser's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations are full of inviting detail. They show Sophie's closet contents; a bedroom impassible with toys, clothes, and artistic creations; numerous experimental doll projects gone awry; mishaps at the beach and farm; and always the exuberant Sophie who tries, really tries, to be more like the neat and nearly perfect Olivia. While the younger child works her havoc outside the boundaries of acceptable (and believable) behavior, the narrator hastens to add that dad says that Sophie is smart and funny; their older brother adds that she's great at dancing and puzzles; and mom says that Sophie's really a kind and nice person. It's all pure fun with an undertone of acceptance that's positively reassuring, and maybe even a little bit encouraging, to creative clutzes and anyone else who has ever messed up while messing around.

PIC Viorst

How to Heal a Broken Wing -- Bob Graham

In a city full of hurried people, only young Will notices the bird lying hurt on the ground. With the help of his sympathetic mother, he gently wraps the injured bird and takes it home. Wistful and uplifting in true Bob Graham fashion, here is a tale of possibility — and of the souls who never doubt its power.

PIC Graham

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash -- Trinka Hakes Noble

A chaotic class trip to the farm is pictured with Kellogg's usual delight in disorder and related backwards, as it were, by a child whose report to her mother gets wilder and wilder as it unwinds.

PIC Noble

Oh, Were They Ever Happy! -- Peter Spier

Before Mr. and Mrs. Noonan set out for a Saturday of errands, the wife reminds her husband that he's been talking for months about painting their large white house. And so when the sitter fails to show up, the three children decide to surprise their parents by doing the job themselves. Partially filled buckets of blue, green, red, yellow, and other paint are assembled, brushes and ladders fetched, and the children go about their work with such brisk, busy cheer that you can almost hear the background music.  At last the house (windows and all) is a hodgepodge of color, and so, as a result of drips, spills, tracks, and splashes, are the ladders, the driveway, the bathroom where they've cleaned up, the dog, and the children. "Sure looks swell! Won't they be happy when they come home and see what we've done!" The Noonan children might be in for a disappointment, but Spier can count on the aimed-for delighted horror when his audience sees the job.

The Gardener -- Sarah Stewart

Lydia Grace Finch brings a suitcase full of seeds to the big gray city, where she goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, a cantankerous baker. There she initiates a gradual transformation, bit by bit brightening the shop and bringing smiles to customers' faces with the flowers she grows. But it is in a secret place that Lydia Grace works on her masterpiece -- an ambitious rooftop garden -- which she hopes will make even Uncle Jim smile. Sarah Stewart introduces readers to an engaging and determined young heroine, whose story is told through letters written home, while David Small's illustrations beautifully evoke the Depression-era setting.

PIC Stewart