A Bounty of Books: Picture Books to Celebrate Summer Gardens

In this season of farmer’s markets and garden harvests, my thoughts are often on homegrown tomatoes and plans for next year’s garden. But before we get there, 2020 provides a bountiful harvest of picture books to celebrate the growing season and all the benefits of time in the garden. Whether you’re looking for sweet, silly, or informational, there’s something here for every little gardener in your library.

What Grew in Larry’s Garden
Laura Alary, illustrated by Kass Reich
Kids Can Press
Age 4-7
April 7, 2020

Grace thinks Larry’s garden is one of the “wonders of the world” and spends each season helping him nurture it. They work together to solve problems like bugs, squirrels, and the shadow created by a neighbor’s new fence. But Larry also using his garden to teach his students, and Grace, about growing community. Based on a real-life teacher and garden, this sweet story, and its lovely gouache illustrations, is full of inspiration for friends, problem-solvers, and gardeners.

One Little Lot: The 1-2-3’s of an Urban Garden
Diane C. Mullen, illustrated by Oriol Vidal
Charlesbridge
Ages 3-7
March 3, 2020

This not-so-simple counting book tracks the progress of a diverse group of neighbors as they transform an empty neighborhood lot into a vibrant community garden. With imagination, teamwork, a few green thumbs, and some helpful honey bees, both the neighbors and readers will enjoy the journey and delicious harvest. A thorough author’s note provides insights into the author’s inspiration, facts about honey bees, and tips for making your garden more bee-friendly.

Feast of Peas
Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
Peachtree
Ages 4-8
March 1, 2020

Jiva diligently tends his small garden by weeding, watering, and waiting for his favorite veggies—the peas! But each time some are ready to pick, they disappear. Is it rabbits? Is it ghosts? Jiva sets a trap for the pea-thief and catches his friend Ruvji, who’s been admiring the peas all along. As punishment for his tricks, Ruvji is the one to cook a feast of peas, and he’s lucky Jiva is generous enough to share. Richly colored illustrations highlight the lush Indian setting and add to the silly humor in this delightful tale.

Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures
Tricia Springstubb, illustrated by Elaheh Taherian
Candlewick
Ages 4-8
May 26, 2020

Khalil loves to spend his days in the garden with his downstairs neighbor, Mr. Hagerty. When digging in the garden leads to disappointing results, they each find a way to make the other’s day. Their days in the garden grow into a sweet intergenerational friendship with plenty of chocolate cake! The simple story and charming collage art will inspire conversations about all the treasures to be found when we work together.

Maker Comics: Grow a Garden!
Alexis Frederick-Frost
Roaring Brook Press/First Second
Ages 9-13
February 25, 2020 (Paperback)

The new students at Garden Gnome Academy have a lot to learn about gardening, but Mr. Butternut and the school staff have a lot to teach them (and you) about how to get started. With lessons on selecting seeds, making paper seed pots, composting, and sprouting the seeds, the gnomes are getting a hands-on education. This bright and funny graphic novel contains step-by-step instructions for many of the tasks needed to start a garden, all tucked within a story full of friendship and adventure.

What’s Bugging You?: A Review of Bugs Everywhere

Bugs Everywhere cover art

Bugs Everywhere
Lily Murray, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
Candlewick/Big Picture Press
April 7, 2020
Ages 4-8

Bugs really are everywhere, whether we like it or not! This fact-filled picture book for bug-lovers proves it, exploring a wide range of topics from their history, environments, feeding, survival, reproduction, and even their relationship with people—we need them, you know? Small, and often gross, bits of trivia make this title perfect for jumping in and out of, but might induce the curious to settle in for a long, squirm-inducing read. Did you know there are millions of species of bugs? That the cicada is the loudest insect in the world? That there are bugs that live on your face?!?

Lily Murray excels at boiling down the information into concise, yet fun facts that entomologists of all ages will love. Britta Teckentrup’s collage-like, digital illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Carle and provide a vibrant full-color backdrop to the details. The metallic foil accents and friendly lady bugs on the cover will draw in the reader and delightful, yet detailed illustrations will charm even the bug-shy. This will make an excellent and informative step-up for young fans of Carle’s bug books. Originally published in 2019 by King’s Road Publishing (London) under the title There Are Bugs Everywhere, this first US publication under the new title comes from Big Picture Press.

Butler Bookshelf

Tensions are high on the Zero Local train, as riders deal with delays and frustrations. But a new passenger joins the daily commute, and passengers begin to practice gratitude. Ethan and Vita Murrow’s Zero Local: Next Stop Kindness picture book is next on our to read list. For more reads, check out the list below!

Portrait of an Artist: Georgia O Keefe
Written by Lucy Brownridge and illustrated by Alice Wietzel
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Not BAD Animals
Written and illustrated by Sophie Corrigan
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Who Do You Think You Are?
Written by Alice Harman and illustrated by Blok Magnaye
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

Alphonse, There’s Mud on the Ceiling!
Written and illustrated by Daisy Hirst
Published by Walker Books
Available now!

Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness
Written and illustrated by Ethan and Vita Morrow
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Evonne Goolagong: Little People Big Dreams
Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Lisa Koesterke
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we meet Jabari! Jabari is so, so ready to jump off the diving board. He’s done everything he is supposed to: finished swimming lesson, passed the swim test, plus he is an excellent jumper! Despite this, he is still nervous. With his father’s encouragement, Jabari takes on his fear.  Written by Gaia Cornwall and translated into Spanish by Georgina Lázaro, Jabari Salta is a sweet picture book that is perfect for Father’s Day. For more great reads, check out the list below!

BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself To Freedom
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Jabari Salta (Spanish edition)
Written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall, translated by Georgina Lázaro
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Madame Badobedah
Written by Sophie Dahl and illustrated by Lauren O’Hara
Published by Walker Books
Available now!

Don’t Worry Little Crab
Written and illustrated by Chris Haughton
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Cats in the Crater: My FANGtastically Evil Vampire Pet
Written by Mo O’Hara and illustrated by Marek Jagucki
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

Big Ideas For Young Thinkers: 20 questions about life and the universe
Written by 
Jamia Wilson and illustrated by Andrea Pippins
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

 

Prankenstein Strikes Again: A Review of Judy Moody and Friends: Prank You Very Much

Prank You Very Much cover

Judy Moody and Friends: Prank You Very Much
Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid
Candlewick
Ages 4-6
Published March 10, 2020

It’s time for the Summer Science Showdown. Stink is ready to wow the crowd with his mad scientist skills and save tomato plants everywhere from the dreaded dodders! As always, his older sister Judy (aka Prankenstein) has mischief in mind, with plans to trick Stink with the results of his own experiment. Even when unwittingly aided by Mom, Judy’s prank falls flat. It seems the master prankster can’t make her little brother believe he grew tomatoes overnight, for more than a minute anyway.

This is the 12th installment in the spin-off series for newly independent readers, each of which showcases one of the original series regulars in their own silly adventure. The themes of school projects and brother/sister dynamics are spot-on for the publisher’s target age group (4-6 year-olds). But the long text blocks and some tricky vocabulary are advanced for the group and might be a better fit for 6-8 year-olds. Madrid’s vividly colored and detailed digital illustrations (influenced by the original series illustrator Peter H. Reynolds) will offer some help with decoding for new readers wanting a challenge.

Butler Bookshelf

Don’t we all wish we could frolic in the ocean right now? Channel your dreams and dive into Lily Murray’s Beneath the Waves, with illustrations created entirely from hand pressed plants by Helen Ahpornsiri. For more great reads, check out the list below!

Where’s My Turtle?
Written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Infamous Ratsos Camp Out
Written by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Matt Myers
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Who’s Hiding on the Savanna?
Illustrated by Katharine McEwan
Published by Nosy Crow
Available now!

Beneath the Waves
Written by Lilly Murray and illustrated by Helen Ahpornsiri
Published by Big Picture Press
Available now!

I thought I saw a… Monkey!
Illustrated by Lydia Nichols
Published by Templar
Available now!

Into the Tall, Tall Grass
Written by Loriel Ryon
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available now!

 

 

Butler Bookshelf

It’s the little things, isn’t it? What I Like The Most singles out life’s small pleasures:  apricot jam on toast, the mailman on the street. We’re thrilled with this new picture book, written by Mary Murphy and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang, which celebrates daily life and all its changes. For more great reads, check out the list below!

Molly’s Moon Mission
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
Published by Templar
Available now!

Not Playing by the Rules: 21 Female Athletes Who Changed Sports
Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Happy: A Children’s Book of Mindfulness
Written by Nicola Edwards and illustrated by Katie Hickey
Published by Caterpillar Books
Available now!

William Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Retold by Georghia Ellinas and illustrated by Jane Ray
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the World
Written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Published by Candlewick Studio
Available now!

What I Like The Most
Written by Mary Murphy and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

 

Butler Bookshelf

This week, we’re taken with the bold colors and charming illustrations in the sweet board book Creature Features by Natasha Durley. Check out the rest of the Butler Bookshelf for some more delightful reads!

All Aboard the Moonlight Train 
Written by Kristyn Crow and illustrated by Annie Won
Published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Available now!

I Found A Kitty!
Written and illustrated by Troy Cummings
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Creature Features
Illustrated by Natasha Durley
Published by Big Picture Press
Available now!

What’s That Noise?
Written and illustrated by Naomi Howarth
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Lost Cities
Written by Giles Laroche
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available now!

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
Written by Raúl the Third and colors by Elaine Bay
Published by Versify
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re fascinated by We Are All His Creatures. Deborah Noyes’ set of interwoven stories is all about the women in P.T. Barnum’s life. We’re excited to read about those in the shadow of this larger-than-life character. For more reads, check out the list below!

Gold Rush Girl
Written by Avi
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Emily Windsnap and the Tides of Time
Written by Liz Kessler
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

We Are All His Creatures: Tales of P. T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman
Written by Deborah Noyes
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Thank You for Coming to My TED Talk: A Teen Guide to Great Public Speaking
Written by Chris Anderson and Lorin Oberweger
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Child of the Universe
Written by Ray Jayawardhana and illustrated by Raul Colón
Published by Make Me A World
Available now!

Elmore and Pinky
Written and illustrated by Holly Hobbie
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

Any book about an aspiring trapeze artist has our full attention–that’s why we’re so eager to leap into Harley in the Sky, a new read in teen fiction by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Oh, and did we mention it features a traveling circus named named Maison du Mystère? For more great reads, check out the rest of the Butler Bookshelf for new publications and info on ALA’s National Library Week, which runs from April 19-25!

Harley in the Sky
Written by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now!

Spindle and Dagger
Written by J. Anderson Coats
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Mermaid Moon
Written by Susann Cokal
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Houndsley and Catina at the Library
Written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

The Degenerates
Written by J. Albert Mann
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

A Wish in the Dark
Written by Christina Soontornvat
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

For more on ALA’s National Library Week:

ALA National Library Week

The theme for National Library Week, “Find your place at the library,” was chosen months ago before the emergence of a global pandemic forced most libraries to temporarily close their buildings.

While most libraries have closed their buildings to the public in the interest of community health and safety, they are open for business online, providing the virtual services and digital content their communities need now more than ever. Many libraries have expanded their access to digital content and found innovative ways to continue their programming virtually.

To highlight these efforts, we decided to build on the original National Library Week theme by flipping the text to “Find the library at your place.” For more tools for librarians, please check out the site.