Hot Dog by Doug Salati (Random House, May 2022) contrasts the oppressive heat of a busy city in summer with the bright freedom and delight of an open beach. The nameless dog obviously swelters in the sun and then delights it in as he leaps across the sand and splashes in cool blue waves. It’s

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With a contrast between dull colors and vibrant and bright colors, the children’s picture book biography The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock (illustrated by Mary Grandpre; Knopf, 2014) introduces kids to the delightfully unique art of Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky. Abstract art in general might be

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The Caldecott-winning illustrations of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin, 1985) are only part of the magic of this Christmas story. One Christmas Eve, a young boy lies awake, listening for Santa’s sleigh bells. But he doesn’t hear bells: he hears a train. And there it is outside the door, waiting to take him

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My older child (age 5) finally has an interest in some of my favorite picture books, ones that I’ve been hoping he’d like for years. One is Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1941). He finally appreciates it! I think the story of Make Way for Ducklings is fantastic. The personalities assigned to the

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Sequels are always tricky. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, 2012) is a follow-up to Klassen’s highly successful I Want My Hat Back, which was about a bear searching for his hat among his forest friends … and ended with a spot of rabbit fur. I Want My Hat Back provided a

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Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook Press, 2012) is full of lush illustrations celebrating the different colors of green, from forest green to pea green to faded green. Each page has a die-cut portion that looks on to a previous or subsequent page, thus emphasizing how different things (even “lime green” limes) are also

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One “cold little afternoon, in a cold little town,” Annabelle finds a way to warm her town when she finds a box full of yarn and she decides to knit sweaters for everyone and everything. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray, 2012) is a magical book, with a hint of intrigue

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One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small (Dial Books, 2012) features a very proper boy who adopts a very proper-looking kind of animal, a penguin. With his father always distracted inside of a book or newspaper, Elliot seems to be going about it without his father understanding. For example, Elliot very politely takes

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