Staff Picks 4 Kids Category: Picture Books

Mister Yes by Carmen Gil 

Mister Yes by Carmen GilAre you like Mister Yes, who says “Yes” to everything? Maybe the word “No” is not even part of your vocabulary? Like Mister Yes, will you eat a bowl of hummingbird poop and slug slime? When a sneaky salesman knocks on your door, do you say yes and  buy from him a tennis racket without any strings, or a broken telephone  you could use to talk only to yourself? Read this book to see if you are like Mister Yes, who had to learn the hard way that it’s not very nice to do mean things to others, just because he doesn’t want to use the word No. This could be a life-changing book for those of you who always say yes to those who ask you for a something. Maybe it’s time to learn it’s ok to sometimes say the small, yet powerful  word,  “No”.

Book reviewed by Darice C., Youth Services Assistant

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? By Jory John

Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back?Obviously, when you’re an elephant, scratching your own back can be difficult. In this story, an elephant goes to many different animals to try to find someone to scratch his back. He talks to a turtle, a crocodile, a hippo, a sloth, and other animals too. Some of them say they’ll help, but it’s hard to find the perfect animal to help scratch his back. There are some really funny twists and turns along the way. This would be a great story to read with preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Book reviewed by Katharin B., Youth Outreach Liaison

Vincent Comes Home by Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley

Cover image for Vincent comes homeVincent is a cat who lives on a cargo ship and his paws have never touched land.  He has a happy life aboard ship and travels all over the world. Vincent  overhears a ship’s crewman speaking of Home,  and decides to follow the man Home and see just why Home is so wonderful.  This beautifully illustrated book explores the meaning of Home with such sweetness and charm you will want to read it again and again.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Remembering Vera by Patricia Polacco

Cover image for Remembering VeraWhen a young Coast Guard serviceman finds a dog while sweeping the dock, he can’t help but adopt the dog despite the strict rules of the coast guard’s Commander “Ol’ Man.”  The serviceman names the lovable dog Vera and she quickly becomes a treasured member of the Coast Guard team.  The men, however, continue to hide her from the Commander.   One day during an emergency rescue, the Ol’ Man spots Vera!  What Vera does next is both inspiring and courageous.  This book is a true story about Vera and her heroic actions.  If you enjoy reading books about brave animals, check this one out!

Book reviewed by Caitlin B., Youth Services Assistant

I am not a chair! by Ross Burach

Cover image for I am not a chair!Here’s a super funny story about giraffe’s first day in the jungle, when all the other animals think he’s a chair! After a full day of being sat on, giraffe has had it. He’s just about to tell the next animal he sees that he is not a chair, when along comes lion and boy is lion hungry! Read the book to see what happens after that! Hint: It’s hilarious! Try reading this to preschoolers or kindergarteners  and see if they can spot the turtle at the end of the book.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

Cover image for LifeHow could you go wrong with writing by Cynthia Rylant and illustrations by Caldecott honor winner Brendan Wenzel? And really, the text and art are both winners here. The artwork, full of vibrant animals and the beauty of nature, accompanies an uplifting text about everything there is to love in life and all of life’s changes. This would be a great gift at graduations! Also, it’s recommended for anyone facing a major transition in their life, as well as those who enjoy sharing a sentimental book with a loved one.

Book reviewed by Keary B., Youth Collection Librarian

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith

Cover image for Town is by the seaTown is by the Sea is an absolutely beautiful picture book.  This beautiful story takes us through a summer day in the life of a young boy in Nova Scotia. As the boy goes about his day in a Canadian mining town,  we see the sharp contrast of his sun filled days and his father’s dark says underground as a coal miner.  The illustrations are stunning and although this sweet story takes place at a different time, the universal feelings of family and love are timeless.  This is a quiet picture book ideal for sharing one on one.

Book reviewed by Amy S., Youth Outreach and Programming Assistant

Around the World in a Bathtub by Wade Bradford

Cover image for Around the world in a bathtub : bathing all over the globeThe book Around the World in a Bathtub by Wade Bradford shows different ways that people bathe around the world. Some illustrations show modern tubs and showers, while others demonstrate historic traditions or ceremonies, such as people in India bathing in the Ganges River. In every example there is an adult trying to get a child into the bath and a child who doesn’t want to go. The adult is shown saying “yes, yes” and the child saying “no, no” in many different languages. This book provides a window for the very young to see how people do things differently in different parts of the world, but also a mirror into their own lives. We are all different, but we all bathe!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 by Matthew Olshan

Cover image for A voyage in the clouds : the (mostly) true story of the first international flight by balloon in 1785This picture book for older readers is based on the day in 1785 when Dr. John Jeffries (an Englishman) and Jean-Pierre Blanchard (a Frenchman) set out to cross the English Channel in a hot air balloon. The two men did not always agree with each other, and the ride did not go entirely smoothly. In the middle of the flight, for example, the balloon began to fall! This book is hilarious and would make a fantastic classroom read aloud. I was laughing out loud before it even got to the part where they started urinating overboard to lighten their load!

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator

The Water Princess by Susan Verde

Cover image for The water princessThis story takes place over just one day in the life of Gie Gie (or Princess Gie Gie as she likes to be called) as she and her mother travel to and from a well to get water for drinking, cooking, and washing. Verde’s words and pictures by Peter Reynolds work together to bring the African setting to life. You can almost feel the hot sun and dry dust, as well as Gie Gie’s thirst. When she finally drinks, readers will feel refreshed. This story was inspired by the childhood experiences of a model named Burkina Faso, who has worked to build more wells in Goundi where she is from. Back matter asks children to imagine their lives without water and explains that some people have to struggle to find clean water every day. The Water Princess is a satisfying story as well as a cultural lesson.

Book reviewed by Erin E., Youth Services Programming Coordinator