Kellee’s Recently Loved Picture Books: The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer, Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge, & A Big Surprise for Little Card by Charise Mericle Harper


Here are three picture books I’ve recently read and loved so much I wanted to share them a bit more in depth than just a IMWAYR post:

knowing book

The Knowing Book
Author: Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Published February 23rd, 2016 by Boyds Mills Press

Summary: Inspiring and wise, this story begins and ends with the sky that is always above you. In between, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and all the wonder that the world has to offer. Along the way he chooses a path, explores the unknown, and ventures along trails on and off the map. And at the end of the journey, braver and more confident, he returns home, the place he can always count on and will always know. This beautiful celebration of life is the perfect gift to mark any milestone in a child’s life from birth to graduation.

My Thoughts: What an all star team of author/illustrator! This celebration of life and our world will make the reader think about their priorities, choices, identity, and nature. It is definitely going to be a book that is given as a gift or a read aloud to inspire and celebrate.

daniel finds a poem

Daniel Finds a Poem
Author and Illustrator: Micha Archer
Published February 16th, 2016 by Nancy Paulsen Books

Summary: What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, as it is something special for everyone—you just have to take the time to really look and listen. The magical thing is that poetry is in everyone, and Daniel is on his way to discovering a poem of his own after spending time with his animal friends. What is poetry? If you look and listen, it’s all around you!

My Thoughts: This book is beautiful on so many levels. First, Micha Archer is a brilliant artist. I was lucky enough to receive a packet called “My Collage Techniques” along with a copy of the book. It chronicles the steps that go into making the art found within these pages. It consists of making her own stamps, stamping with cloth and acrylics, screeding (pulling a thin layer of pain across a colored piece of paper), laying tissue paper, punching/cutting holes, painting with water based oils, cutting and adjusting, and finally laying and gluing everything. And voila! A beautiful illustration.  Second, I love that it focuses on different aspects of nature. Micha Archer’s artwork shines light on a spider and its web, a squirrel and its tree, chipmunk and its home, and other animals and aspects of nature in Daniel’s park. In addition to the artwork, the poetic words pay homage to all sorts of beauty in nature. Finally, the writing and poetry in the book add to the beauty of the artwork.

Stop by to view some of the beautiful spreads within the book.

hoot and peep

Hoot and Peep
Author and Illustrator: Lita Judge
Published March 1st, 2016 by Dial Books

Summary: In the night skies above Paris, an adorable young owl teaches her older brother about the power of imagination—and the unconditional love between siblings.

Hoot the owl is very excited for his little sister, Peep, to join him on the cathedral rooftops. She’s finally old enough to learn all his big brother owly wisdom: First, owls say hooo. Second, they always say hooo. Lastly, they ONLY say hooo! But why would Peep say hooo when she could say schweeepty peep or dingity dong? Why would she speak when she could sing? As she explores the breathtaking Parisian cityscape, Peep discovers so many inspiring sights and sounds—the ring of cathedral bells, the slap of waves on stone—that she can’t help but be swept up in the magic of it all. Hoot doesn’t understand Peep’s awe, until he takes a pause to listen . . . and realizes that you’re never too old to learn a little something new.

From the beloved author/illustrator of the classic picture book Red Sled, this gorgeous read aloud celebrates the wonder found in little things—and in the hearts of dreamers, young and old.

My Thoughts: I love Lita Judge! She finds a way to focus on the unique and fun parts of a character’s personality and highlight the way that being different makes us all better. This one also specifically looks at sibling rivalry because Hoot is perfect and Peep wants to be just like him, and Hoot wants Peep to be just like him, but she just isn’t. It is important for both of them to realize that it is these differences that make each of them who they are. In addition, the book takes the reader on a journey through Paris which makes the adventure even more fun.

a big surprise for little card

A Big Surprise for Little Card
Author: Charise Mericle Harper
Illustrator: Anna Raff
Published February 9th, 2016 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Fall in love with a disarming picture-book hero in this quirky ode to spirit, identity, and the joy of having (or being) a library card.

In the world of cards, each one has a special job to do. Big Card keeps important papers in order. Tiny Card can be exchanged for a prize in an arcade. Round Card hangs out in a glamorous boutique. But is any card as lucky as Little Card? He’s going to school to become a birthday card — in other words, to sing, play games, eat cake, and be happy all day long. But wait! On the day he’s supposed to take his talents into the world, Long Card tells him there’s been a mix-up and they need to trade jobs. How can Little Card bring his exuberance into a library, a quiet place of books and rules and hushing? Offbeat and utterly endearing, this tale of a little guy who gives it all he’s got is complete with a sweet twist and a surprise ending.

My Thoughts: I wish I had waited to get Trent a library card, so I could read this to him before we went to get his first one! I love that idea of a bunch of cards waiting around to be assigned to their destiny. Little Card is such an excitable character who just wants to know what he was made for. Although the book is about a library card, he could definitely symbolize kids figuring out what they want to be when they grow up and the journey to getting there. I also love the illustrations that are full of character, light in tone but loud in their meaning.

Kellee Signature

**Thank you to Penguin Young Readers, Candlewick Press, and Boyds Mills Press for providing copies of the books!**

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