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New Release Spotlight – Picture Books – February 13, 2024

Picture books are a little longer this week because I included a couple that didn’t make it on last’week’s (HUGE) Spotlight.

Nothing really jumps out at me as a favorite picture book this week.

Links to the Google Slides presentation, printable list, and Ginormous are at the bottom of this post.

You will also find links to the YA and Middle Grade Spotlights for this week at the bottom of this post.

 

Picture Book
Is This a House for Hermit Crab?

Author: Megan McDonald

Illustrator: Katherine Tillotson

Publication date: February 13, 2024

Genre: picture book

Setting: ocean/beach

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3

Themes: animals, fish, marine life, habitats, life science, hermit crabs, zoology, searching for the perfect home, finding a new place to live, just right home, onomatopoeia, porcupine fish

Protagonist: male hermit crab that has outgrown his shell

Starred reviews: Kirkus and Booklist

Pages: 40

Notes: Republished from 1990; Illustrations updated in this version, plus hermit crab facts updated


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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Hermit Crab has outgrown his shell, and it’s time for a new home to keep him safe from predators. The beach is strewn with possible choices, but none are quite right. A rock is too heavy; a tin can is too noisy; a fishing net has too many holes.

He stepped along the shore,
by the sea, in the sand . . .
scritch-scratch, scritch-scratch

When a giant wave sends Hermit Crab careening toward a hungry porcupine fish, will he find a hiding place in time?

Katherine Tillotson’s immersive artwork breathes new life into this classic text by Megan McDonald, beloved author of the Judy Moody series. Brand-new backmatter provides further learning about all things hermit crab.

Picture Book
Lucky Duck

Author: Greg Pizzoli

Illustrator: Greg Pizzoli

Publication date: February 6, 2024

Genre: animal stories, fable, humor

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 2

Themes: luck, wolves, ducks, animals, having a bad day, seeing setbacks from a new perspective

Protagonist: female duck named Susan

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 224


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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Susan the duck has the worst luck. Her rollerskates are two sizes too big. She’s lost her favorite marble. And she’s run out of pickles.
But with each unfortunate discovery, Wolf shows up with a gift she’s won. Her luck has turned around . . . hasn’t it? Come see just how lucky Susan is, in this slyly funny story about finding luck when you least expect it.

Geisel Award-winning creator Greg Pizzoli delivers another rib-tickling picturebook that will have kids howling with laughter.

Picture Book
Milkweed for Monarchs

Author: Christine Van Zandt

Illustrator: Alejandra Barajas

Publication date: February 6, 2024

Genre: informational picture book

Setting: outdoors, along monarch migration path

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3

Themes: monarch butterflies, monarch migration, insects, milkweed, metamorphosis, monarch life cycle, caterpillars, pesticides, deforestation

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 40


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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Every year, monarch butterflies migrate to warmer climates for overwintering months. However, changing environments make it continually more difficult to find food and places to lay eggs. In this nonfiction picture book, the monarch’s life cycle is detailed in lyrical verse as stunning art accompanies each stage in the butterfly’s life.

The most recognizable butterfly, monarchs are classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, and face drastic challenges when it comes to locating food sources–milkweed. Milkweed for Monarchs is the perfect resource for young readers to learn more about these beautiful insects and how they can foster monarch-friendly environments in their own backyard. Backmatter includes actionable ways for readers to help this vulnerable species.

Picture Book Biography
A Plate of Hope

Author: Erin Frankel

Illustrator: Paola Escobar

Publication date: February 13, 2024

Genre: picture book biography

Setting: begins in Spain; goes worldwide including Haiti, Ukraine, New York City

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3

Themes: cooking, chefs, community, food, humanitarianism, World Central Kitchen, hunger, natural disasters, Covid-19, serving the community, patriotism, Spanish food

Protagonist: Jose Andres, Spanish chef

Starred reviews: Kirkus

Pages: 48


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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

José Andrés’s love of cooking began as a young boy in Spain as he gathered the wood to make the fire that would cook the paella just right. José loved everything about it: the sizzling olive oil, the mounds of chopped vegetables, and the smell of saffron. When he left home, he realized he wanted to tell stories with food. And tell them he did, creating magic with the seeds of ripe tomatoes and pomegranates and cheese. His dreams grew until they were as big as the stars in the sky. He thought, No one should ever go hungry. I want to help feed the world— and World Central Kitchen was born.

From the earthquake in Haiti to the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, José and his team at World Central Kitchen have been at the frontlines, serving more than 200 million meals and counting, and bringing comfort and hope in the darkest times.

With a lyrical text and stunning illustrations, here is a picture book biography about a world-renowned humanitarian and chef that’s sure to inspire a new generation of community helpers.

Picture Book
This Book Will Make You An Artist

Author: Ruth Millington

Illustrator: Ellen Surrey

Publication date: February 6, 2024

Genre: informational picture book

Recommended for: Grades 2-7

Themes: art, cave paintings, worldwide art, artists, creativity

Starred reviews: no starred reviews

Pages: 64

Notes: profiles 20 artists including Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Leonardo DaVinci, Pablo Picasso, Esther Mahlangu (South African muralist), Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Aboriginal batik artist)


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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Jam-packed with imaginative ideas for all kinds of creative crafts . . . this book will make YOU an artist!

Pick up your pencils, collect your collage materials, and take inspiration from 25 of the world’s best-known artists in this fact-filled book full of activities.

Discover famous masterpieces through the included photographs of real works of art — from ancient cave painting to contemporary performance — and lots more in between!

Picture Book
Tomorrow's Lily

Author: Chris Raschka

Illustrator: Chris Raschka

Publication date: February 13, 2024

Genre: picture book

Setting: outdoors, where the lily blooms

Recommended for: PreS-Grade 3

Themes: social emotional learning, empathy, empathy, flowers, spring, lilies, daylilies, beauty, metaphor, rhyming books, rhyming couplets

Starred reviews: Publishers Weekly

Pages: 32

Notes: Daylilies are a short-lived flower; they only bloom for one day.


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PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

A daylily blooms for just one day, opening when the sun comes up and closing when it sets. In Chris Raschka’s extraordinary garden, seven daylilies bloom for others during the course of a sun-drenched week—for example, Monday’s lily blooms for the baby, and Saturday’s lily blooms for friends. The lovely and lyrical text underscores the value of living in the moment, caring for those around you, and being mindful of nature.

Two-time Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschka introduces young readers to the concept of time—the days of the week, the span of a life—as well as to more spiritual and emotional concepts such as friendship, empathy, generosity, caring for others, and love. With a soothing text and stunning illustrations, this gentle, innovative, and educational picture book is an excellent choice for story-time sharing as well as gift giving.

Picture Book
Treehouse Town

Author: Gideon Sterer

Illustrator: Charlie Mylie

Publication date: February 13, 2024

Genre: picture book, poetry

Setting: magical treetop town devoted to children's play

Recommended for: PreS-3

Themes: play, detailed illustrations, treehouses, rhyme, animals

Protagonist: variety of children and animals playing

Starred reviews: Booklist

Pages: 40

Notes: The Booklist and Kirkus reviews both mention the read-aloud awkwardness of the rhyming couplets; Kirkus review is worth a look before purchase.


See it on Amazon

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY

Wander through the Birch Bazaar, hitch a ride on the Tulip Train, explore the library in the hemlocks, or play birdball high in the sky. There’s something for everyone in Treehouse Town, a world built by children that’s as endless as their imaginations.

With playful verse by Gideon Sterer and intricately detailed illustrations by Charlie Mylie that offer something new to spot with every read, Treehouse Town celebrates teamwork, inclusion, and limitless possibility.

THE LINKS YOU’LL NEED FOR FEBRUARY

 

MORE FEBRUARY 2024 NEW RELEASE SPOTLIGHTS

       

ABOUT THE SPOTLIGHT

The New Release Spotlight began in May 2016 as a way to help librarians keep up with the many new children’s and YA books that are released each week.

Each week, school librarian Leigh Collazo compiles the New Release Spotlight using a combination of Follett’s Titlewave, Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble. Recommended grade levels represent the range of grade levels recommended by professional book reviewers. See the full selection criteria here.

Inevitably, there are far more books that meet my criteria than can make it on the Spotlight. When I have to make the tough decisions on what to include, I just use my “librarian judgment.” Would I buy this book for my own library? Would my students want to read this book? Is the cover appealing? Does it fill a need?

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