Fall is a great time for picking pumpkins, apples,. . . . and picture books! Here are some of our favorite fall picks with Kidlit Takeaways for writers & illustrators:
SAM THE MOST SCAREDY-CAT KID IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD
Written & Illustrated by your pal (and mine) Mo Willems
Published by Disney Hyperion Books, NY, 2017
Sam is scared of anything and everything, except Leonardo the monster. Kerry is afraid of anything and everything, except Frankenthaler, the other monster. When Sam and Kerry discover each other, a frightfully funny adventure unfolds!
Why I love this book: This story is filled with fun, surprises, and a satisfying ending. The words are few and every one contributes to making this a humorous, page-turning story. Mo uses a unique story to address a universal theme. The characters are adorable and relatable. The illustrations are hysterical. And the story has a heart-felt message--there's a friend for everyone!
Creating stories about characters with exaggerated problems or personalities infuses humor, engages readers and makes their struggle relatable. It also allows the writer to send a message in a fun, light-hearted way.
PRINCE AND PIRATE
Written by Charlotte Gunnufson & Illustrated by Mike Lowery
Published by GP Putnam, NY, 2017
Prince, a prim goldfish, ruled a small round kingdom, admiring his majestic castle and riding his regal carriage. "Simply squiddy!" Pirate, a rowdy sort of fish, ruled a small round sea, sailing a schooner and guarding his treasure chest. "Yo, ho ho!" But when Prince and Pirate are scooped out of their domains and plopped into shared waters (a large fish tank) rough seas lie ahead. That is, until a little surprise in the form of an adorable dogfish helps them find a way to get along.
Why I love this book: This story is filled with prince-like lexicon and piratey expressions, which gives the characters big personalities and makes it fun to read aloud. The writing and illustrations are lively and the fish tank setting makes the story unique. It's humorous, charming, and has a timely messages--to share and respect differences.
Written & illustrated by Erica Sirotich
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017
In this adorable new counting book, readers count all kinds of rescue dogs: “1 dog long and low, 2 dogs, silver and slow…” The puppy fun builds until… “10 dogs, slobbering hounds, Wait, dogs, a little longer...Soon, dogs, you’ll be found!” A long line forms outside the City Shelter with a sign that reads: Adoptions today. The joy continues as readers count down from 10 as each dog is lovingly adopted.
Why I love this book: Sirotich’s playful rhyme and charming illustrations are sure to draw kids in and keep them reading & counting again and again. (The only drawback for me is that my son has been begging for a dog and this book might be too persuasive.)
WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE
Written by Jason Gallaher, illustrated by Jess Pauwels
Simon & Schuster, 2017
Whobert Hoover always tries to keep his neck of the woods safe. Then he discovers Perry the possum lying awfully still. Whobert chases down witnesses, each one passing the blame. “Not guilty. You see it was…” Who, Who, Whodunnit?
Why we love this book: Jason Gallaher had me laughing at the title and the giggles never stopped. Jess Pauwels’ hilarious illustrations add even more character to Whobert and his forest friends. (The bulging eyeballs alone give off every expression from surprise to accusation to eye-rolling embarrassment to...death!) Readers will have a blast trying to sort out this wacky mystery.
What are your favorite fall picks?
Donna Cangelosi and Chana Stiefel are picture book critique partners & friends who are passionate about kids' books & are eager to share tidbits from their writing journey with other aspiring writers.