Picture Book Reviews

(click on any of the images to see a larger version)

My Footprints written by Bao Phi, illustrated by Basia Tran. Capstone, 2019. 9781684460007. 32pp.

After being made fun of at school, Thuy walks through a snowy landscape making the footprints of different animals. At home, her moms help her think of strong animals, including the phoenix and the Sarabha, because Thuy wishes she were strong and scary.

The letter from the publisher that came with my review copy says the illustrations were done in graphite and digital color. They look hand drawn, and are so appealing that I had to pick this one up.

My Tiny Pet by Jessie Hartland. Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019. 9781524737535.

A family with an enormous number of pets downsizes to a tiny house in the woods. When the girl wants a tiny pet, her parents say no at first. But when she learns something in science, about a tiny animal smaller than an ant — a tardigrade — they give in.

Looking for a picture book that’s pro science and pro imagination, and that doesn’t suck? Found it.


Hold Hands by Sara Varon. First Second, 2019. 9781596435889.

Varon’s graphic novels and picture books always look really friendly. In this one her illustrations support the title’s simple advice. It’s fun and straightforward.

Llama Destroys The World by Jonathan Strutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox. Henry Holt and Co, 2019. 9781250303172.

“On Friday, Llama will destroy the world.” Few picture books have so perfect a first line. And it starts with Llama eating way too much cake. It’s super cute — so cute I forgive its cartoony idea about black holes.

another by christian robinson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019.9781534421684.

A girl follows her cat through a hole in reality where they encounter different physics and places and people. (It feels like a picture book inspired by certain episodes of Star Trek and the video game Portal.) My favorite things about it: illustrations combine cut up paper with other media, and that the mirror universe girl and cat aren’t nasty or bearded.

The New Neighbors by Sarah McIntyre. Penguin Workshop, 2019. 9781524789961.

The bunnies are excited about their new neighbors, but everyone else is freaking out that there are rats living in their building. (They calm down after the friendly rats introduce themselves and feed everyone cake.)

I loved the scenes of all the animals freaking out. This piece of pro rat propaganda will probably fail with anyone who is deathly afraid of them, but its other message — bunnies know best — will be well received.


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