Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picture Books

Let’s Count Goats! by Mem Fox

Cover image for Let's count goats!The Library has many picture books about counting, but Let’s Count Goats is the only one to feature an airport goat, three pilot goats wearing goggles, and a fireman goat! This playful rhyming book is silly and colorful, with pictures done by Jan Thomas, author of the also-funny books Rhyming Dust Bunnies and Can You Make a Scary Face. Not only can you practice counting with this book, but you can also try to guess which goats could be real and which ones could not. A soccer goat? What about a mountain goat? Check out this book—you’ll want to read it a number of times!

Book reviewed by Dana F., Assistant Head of Youth Services

The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito

Cover image for The sound of silenceYoshio makes his way through the bustling city of Tokyo on his way to school, listening to all the different sounds. He asks a koto player if she has a favorite sound, and she replies that it is “the sound of ma, of silence.” So Yoshio starts looking for silence. Who knew it would be so difficult to find? Warm, rich illustrations show a variety of perspectives that you don’t always see in picture books, such as Yoshio’s family around the dinner table pictured from above. The illustrations will invite you into this book, and then you will be captivated by the story. It is a beautiful representation of daily life in another country as well as a gentle reminder for all of us to take time to pause in life. The Afterword includes an explanation of the Japanese concept of ma, or the silence between sounds.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea! by Ben Clanton

Cover image for Narwhal : unicorn of the seaMany people think that Narwhal are imaginary creatures.  Actually, like Belugas, they are a part of the whale family.  Narwhal have a horn like a unicorn, but it is more like a tusk or a tooth.

In Ben Clanton’s first book in his Narwhal and Jelly series, Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea!, readers are introduced to Narwhal and his new friend, Jelly Fish.  Together with their other underwater friends, they form a pod (that’s what a group of Narwhal is called), have parties, create imaginative stories, and eat yummy waffles.  With a lot of fun illustrations and brief text, beginner chapter book readers will enjoy this new series while learning a little bit about Narwhal, fact and fiction.

Book reviewed by Carol C., Elementary School Liaison

My Pen by Christopher Myers

Cover image for My penIn My Pen by Christopher Myers, a boy celebrates the power of imagination by creating images with the simplest of supplies. For example, his pen rides dinosaurs…has x-ray vision…and tells everyone that he loves them. The phrases and images are thought-provoking, moving, and beautifully drawn. This book will inspire the artist and the humanitarian in all of us. It asks kids, “What can your pen do?”

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee

Cover image for Tell me a tattoo storyThis portrait of a loving family moved me to tears- happy tears. I love that it shows a father covered in tattoos, which you don’t often (if ever) see in picture books, but will often see in real life. The story follows the son’s questions about each tattoo, which highlight important moments in the dad’s life, including his favorite book as a child, and the day he met a pretty girl (the boy’s mother). It also depicts “the longest trip [he] ever took” which gives deeper and perhaps surprising background about the father’s past. This would make a great gift for all the tattooed dads out there, but I think other families will see themselves in this book as well.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Supertruck by Stephen Savage

Cover image for SupertruckBy day, he just collects the trash. But when the city is hit by a colossal snowstorm, this superhero on wheels will save the day. Toddler truck-fans will eat this up. The bold, clean graphics and simple story line make this an ideal choice for storytime. Though I would be sure to point out to children that collecting trash is actually a very important job!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison

Cover image for Bernice gets carried awayIn Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison, Bernice the cat is at a birthday party where all of her animal friends seem to be enjoying themselves, but she certainly is not. She is in a mood. And Bernice is quite committed to her horrible mood, that is until she gets carried away… literally…by a bunch of balloons. From way up in the sky she gets a little perspective on things. What I love about this book are the emotions on the animals’ faces and how the dark clouds lift along with Bernice’s mood. The effect of how bright the pictures get is amazing. The message is a reminder that children and adults alike can use from time to time.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear

Cover image for The good little bookThe Good Little Book, by Kyo Maclear, is just that, a good little book. It is neither the most popular book, nor the most thick or glossy. It has a simple cover, and just continued to sit on the shelf where it was placed along with all the other books. And that is where it stayed. But this story also has a little boy. And when the little boy passed the quiet shelf, that’s when the Good Little Book caught his attention. The little boy picked up the Book and began to open it. That’s when the friendship began. The little boy carried his favorite Book everywhere he went. The Good Little Book was so powerful that it actually caused the boy to read this Good Little Book over and over again. Then, read it some more. This Little Book had the ability to capture its reader and carry the little boy to strange and marvelous lands. It caused him to chuckle, and became his best friend. Until one day, the boy lost the book.  Oh, goodness. Now we  are all waiting for you to come visit us at the Mount Prospect Library and to find this intriguing tale, and see what really is inside the Good Little Book !

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

Archie the Daredevil Penguin by Andy Rash

Cover image for Archie the daredevil penguinArchie is a so-called “daredevil” because he has invented all kinds of crazy ways to get from one iceberg to another, including a slingshot, a rocket, and even Flap-o-matic wings. Little do his friends know that he’s just terrified of the water and the strange creatures who lurk in the briny deep! This is one of those gems of a picture book that will have adults laughing out loud just as much as their kids, and there’s still a great story arc with a positive message.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

Always Remember by Cece Meng

Cover image for Always rememberOld turtle swims into his final wave as the sea creatures he has met throughout his life recall how he touched their lives. For instance, the sea otters remember how he loved to have fun and the dolphins remember his curiosity and bravery. So, even though the old turtle has died, he lives on in the heartfelt memories of his many friends. Beautiful illustrations add to this wonderful, touching story perfect; for a child or even an adult dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Book reviewed by Jamie L., Youth Services Assistant