National Picture Book Month

November is National Picture Book Month! What a great excuse to talk about picture books.

I freely confess, I’m a picture book fanatic. When we get shipments of new books at the library, the picture books are usually the ones I’m most excited about. Picture books offer so much, in both words and pictures. They also don’t take too long to finish reading, which is a big plus for this overextended librarian.

Pretty much every month I find some new favorites. In October, for example, we welcomed some amazing new books to our collections. Here are some new favorites.

Princesses versus Dinosaurs by Linda Bailey is not your average picture book. Here, the princesses are battling the dinosaurs for control of the story itself! Laugh-out-loud fun even for adults. And sure to please any young reader/listener. There’s lots to see in the lively pictures as well as the text. This is a favorite with all the Hudson Library staff.

Bruce’s Big Storm by Ryan Higgins is the latest picture book about grumpy Bruce. Poor Bruce, all this grumpy bear wants is peace and quiet. But when a huge storm comes through, all the animals end up at Bruce’s house looking for shelter, food, warmth, and camaraderie. Will Bruce ever have his home to himself?

Moving from one species of bear to another, A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett is a story in whites. White polar bear, white snow, white seals, white world! With simple text and understated torn-paper illustrations in tones of white, with occasional shocks of blue or black, this is a gorgeous book that really shows off the stunning world of a snowy winter.

Ten ways to hear snow by Cathy Camper continues the snowy theme. A young girl awakens to a silent world — it has snowed heavily overnight, and her whole world is changed. She sets off in the snow to visit her grandmother, noticing the many ways she can hear the snow — her footsteps, snow dropping off a tree branch, people sweeping off their cars, and more. And the tenth way to hear snow? The quiet of a snow-covered world. A lovely book to get readers thinking about how to experience the changing seasons with all our senses.

One more snow book. Snow Still by Holly Surplice is a board book, so the text is spare — just two words per page. But that very simplicity really helps to get across the quiet stillness of the snowy world to a fawn out exploring. All the woodland animals are experiencing the snowy world, and we see it through fawn’s eyes.

Crossings by Katy Duffield is quite a different sort of animal book. Somewhere between picture book and children’s non-fiction, it tells about the many ingenious ways humans have devised safe crossings for animals in our modern, vehicle-filled world. An overpass for elk in Canada, an underpass for elephants in Kenya, rope ‘bridges’ for monkeys in Costa Rica, tunnels for salamanders in Massachusetts, and much more are shown in this stunningly-illustrated book. I think my favorite is the crab bridge in Australia, but they’re all remarkable and thought-provoking.

We will live in this forest again by Gianna Marino is all too relevant this year, with the worst widlfires in our nation’s history still burning in California and Colorado. What happens to all the animals when a forest burns? This moving book, inspired by the 2017 wildfires in California, shows the devastation caused by fires, but also the resilience of nature.

Feel the Fog by April Sayre celebrates those damp days when you can’t see the trees outside your own windows. And also those days when every range of mountains has wispy clouds in the valleys between. We get a lot of that around here, especially up on the Plateau. The lovely, misty photographs invite us to explore the foggy world rather than bemoaning it. Everything looks softer, paler, less solid. It’s a lovely thing to see.

These are just a few of the wonderful picture books in our collection — I encourage you to explore the picture books next time you visit your library. Picture books are NOT just for kids!

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