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More picture books for review! Ready?

May 19th, 2024


(St. John’s Wort/Photo by Rawley/use with permission only, please)

Hello and good morning, y’all. I found some books here for review. They’re pretty good. (Smiles.)

Enjoy! And bon appetit!


  • “Look” is a shiny new picture book with words by Gabi Snyder and pictures by Samantha Cotterill (A Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster, 2024, ages 4 and up, $18.99). Snyder is an Oregon girl like myself, and she, too, loves visiting Little Free Libraries and baking goodies. (I just made a chocolate cake last night that I must say is quite delicious. Pro hack: Serve with whipped cream.) Cotterill lives in upstate New York, ahhhhh, upstate New York, and also wrote and illustrated the “Little Senses” series and other titles. “Look” is done diorama style, which I adore because that can be a real inspiration for the little artists in the crowd. It’s bright, colorful, and all about colors, shapes and sizes.
  • “Gather Round” is a cool new book written and illustrated by David Covell (Viking/Penguin Random House, 2024, ages 3 and up, $18.99). When I was a kid, we camped, hunted, went to the beach and mountains, and hiked pretty much constantly. I’ll show you a picture sometime. I do not remember ever not being covered in mosquito bites, tanned, and busy busy. Now I never leave home because why should I? But I do remember my Grandma saying, Smoke follows beauty! every time I’d complain that campfire smoke was in my eyes. This is a great book because you can learn how to make a campfire, hear stories, look for shapes in the flames, all the fun stuff, without getting feasted on by skeeters and getting smoke in your eyes. Win-win. There’s also a doggy, and a song to sing. Nice!
  • Author Ashley Iman and illustrator Gladys Jose have brought us a real treasure in “Ruby Rene Had So Much to Say” (Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2024, ages 4 and up, $18.99). You know when you have so many thoughts, so many facts, so much info going through your head all the time that it’s hard, so hard, really tricky! to keep it all inside? That’s our friend Ruby Rene, who loves school/learning/her teacher/the other kids/books/new stuff… and finds some good ways to keep quiet when she needs to, and share when she can. Thoughtful book, and Ms. Jose’s illustrations are lively and beautiful, just like our hero. Man, do I love kids who are exuberant and enthusiastic. And teachers (like our Ms. Iman, who describes herself as a former teacher and lifelong learner.) Good job, team!
  • “I Am Extraordinary,” by basketball hero and star Stephen Curry, with sweet illustrations by Geneva Bowers, is another inspirational book about a cool little girl. (Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House, 2024, ages 4 and up, $19.99.) Zoe, a straight A student, loves soccer, likes challenges, and is starting at a new school. Will she make friends? Will she make the team? Should she keep her hearing aids in, or try to hide them? She has some questions, and a big brother, Aaron, who is reassuring and there for her. An empowering and thoughtful book.
  • “The Quacken,” written by Justin Colon, with illustrations by Pablo Pino, is just kinda scary? And super fun. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; scheduled for release July 16, 2024; ages 4 and up; $18.99.) You know what the Quacken devours? That’s right. Kids. Canoes. Even whales, whole. So please, Don’t Feed the Ducks, y’all. Details: Where does he lurk? The lake of Cucumonga Campground. When does he pop up? Hard to say. Could be any minute. Is Hector paying attention? No! What is the Quacken? Fearsome, ferocious and yes, frightening. This book is swell, put it on your buy list.

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