The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

William has found an art form for which his admiration is unrivaled. Every morning he discovers what the Night Gardener has created with spectacular topiaries of wise owls, friendly rabbits and fearsome dragons. His quiet little town gets an awakening and so does William as he finds a passion within himself he didn’t know was there. It’s a story of inspiration breeding new talent. The illustrations are rich, classic in style, and just plain beautiful. If you’re looking for picture books that inspire passion, add this one to your library. 


Not Quite Narwhal by Jessica Sima

not quite narwhalKelp was born among a family of narwhals, but he never quite fit in, seeing as how his tusk was shorter than most, he had four legs, and couldn’t swim as fast as the rest of his family. Out exploring one day, Kelp swims to the surface and meets a creature more like himself (spoiler alert: he’s a unicorn). Now he can’t figure out if he belongs on land with those like him, or in the sea where he is loved by his family. This is a story about being comfortable with one’s differences and appreciating a family who loves you no matter who you are!  The illustrations are adorable, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t a kid out in the world who can’t understand what it feels like to be different from others. I read this in the bookstore and can’t wait to add it to my personal collection of great picture books.

Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar (Illustrated by Troy Cummings)

Little Red skates to Grandma’s house every Sunday. But her skates are getting worn out. How fortuitous that she learns of a Pairs Skating Competition, for which the prize is brand new skates. Hansel and Gretel are strong contenders, along with the Dish and the Spoon, but Little Red can’t find an acceptable partner. Until the Big Bad Wolf demonstrates some pretty awesome skating skills. Will he be good?

This story has so many familiar characters to liven up the scene like the Tortoise and the Hare, Prince and Cinderella, Jack and Jill, and more. The story plays successfully with a miriage of fractured fairytale characters.  It’s really fun.  If your kids enjoy any of the classics, they’ll love this.

Wolf! Wolf! by John Rocco

A classic with a twist. The hungry but not yet guilty old wolf is tending his weedy vegetable garden when he hears the young boy call his name. He hurries to the scene, but stays hiding while he watches the villagers get upset with the boy for making them run to the pasture for no good reason. The third time he hears the boy call him, he concocts a plan. Knowing the villagers won’t believe the boy this time, he figures he can get one of those tasty goats to fill his hungry old stomach. But this old wolf is a reasonable character. He cuts a deal with the boy to rebuild trust with the villagers and still satisfies his hunger (in an unexpected way).

What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada (Illustrated by Mae Besom)

This book is beautiful and poignant. A child has an idea. But he doesn’t know what to do with it. He tries to ignore it.  He walks away from it. But it follows him. And soon, he discovers that he’s happiest when he is around his idea, and so he decides to take care of it, share it with people, nourish it, until one day his idea takes flight! The illustrations are simple and yet crafted with care – the thoughtful use of color adds an unexpected emotional appeal.





7 Ate 9 by Tara Lazar (Illustrated by Ross MacDonald)

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6 is afraid of 7. Rumor has it 7 ate 9, and everyone knows 7 is after 6. So 6 goes to see Private I, who agrees that 7 is an odd fella. Fully of punny math humor, 7 ate 9 is a hilarious whodunit mystery that will delight kids and teachers alike. This is written by a dear friend, Tara Lazar (author of The Monstore, I Thought This Was a Bear Book, Normal Norman, Little Red Gliding Hood and Way Past Bedtime), and is truly one of my favorites. A masterpiece of puns, it is perfectly complimented by beautiful illustrations. Watch the mystery unfold, as Private I tries to add up the facts. Currently featured on the display shelves of most book stores – don’t even hesitate – just buy it.