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july 2019 Best Picture Books

Updated Jul. 19, 2019
Penny and Penelope book
#1
Penny and Penelope
Written by Dan Richards and illustrated by Claire Almon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Two girls on a play date learn there’s more to each other than meets the eye with a little help from their dolls in this exciting picture book adventure. Penny and Penelope are very different dolls. Penelope is a sweet princess, while Penny is a fierce secret agent. Penelope wants to ride her pony through the countryside, while Penny wants to wrestle alligators. How can they possibly get along playing in an imaginary kingdom? Luckily, Penny and Penelope are more than their packaging. After all, you can’t judge a doll by its outfit.

Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House book
#2
Pout-Pout Fish: Haunted House
Written by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna, Deborah Diesen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

It's time for Halloween, and Mr. Fish is nervous about visiting a haunted house with his friends—but he just may be surprised that it's not all so scary! At an affordable price point, and with two pages of stickers, this new format is fun and accessible for Mr. Fish's fans and newcomers alike.

Preschool, Here I Come! book
#3
Preschool, Here I Come!
Written by David J. Steinberg and illustrated by John Joven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Get ready for a year full of firsts by the author of Kindergarten, Here I Come! From saying goodbye to parents on the very first day of school to learning classroom rules, D. J. Steinberg brings to life all the details of preschool in his fun, silly poems. Because preschool is full of firsts! Get ready for all those moments with poems that celebrate the joy of making friends, bring to life the challenges of learning, and even depict the frustration that we all sometimes feel. With poems on so many moments, this is a must-have for kids getting ready for their first day of preschool.

Where's the Witch? book
#4
Where's the Witch?
Written by Nosy Crow and illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Five stylishly illustrated spreads show a series of gently spooky creatures hiding behind bright felt flaps in this Halloween offering. A mirror on the final spread makes for a satisfying ending to the book's search-and-find inquiries. A perfect book to share with very little ones.

Bunny in the Middle book
#5
Bunny in the Middle
Written by Anika Denise and illustrated by Christopher Denise
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When you’re in the middle . . . you’re not the oldest, and you’re not the youngest. You are right in-between. There’s someone bigger who helps you. And someone smaller who needs you. From the middle, you can see both sides. But being in the middle isn’t always easy—sometimes it’s hard to know what makes you special, or how to follow a path that’s just your own. But that’s okay. As one middle bunny knows, being in the middle means you are loved ALL around. This classic picture book celebrates the remarkable empathy of middles and the joys of self-acceptance, glowingly illustrated by New York Times–bestselling artist Christopher Denise. Perfect for fans of Little Elliot.

Truman book
#6
Truman
Written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After his best friend Sarah leaves for her first day of school, a tortoise named Truman goes on an adventure across the living room and learns to be brave in this thoughtful and heartwarming twist on a first experience story. Truman the tortoise lives with his Sarah, high above the taxis and the trash trucks and the number eleven bus, which travels south. He never worries about the world below…until one day, when Sarah straps on a big backpack and does something Truman has never seen before. She boards the bus! Truman waits for her to return. He waits. And waits. And waits. And when he can wait no longer, he knows what he must do. Even if it seems…impossible!

One Dark Bird book
#7
One Dark Bird
Written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

From award-winning author Liz Garton Scanlon and celebrated artist Frann Preston-Gannon comes a gorgeously illustrated, lyrical counting book that will have young readers’ imaginations taking flight. One dark bird is perched up high, with a view of the town and a taste of the sky. Then she’s joined by two more, then three, then four. Before long, there are hundreds of starlings dancing across the sky—and avoiding a hunting hawk with one of the most spectacular tricks in the animal kingdom. Then, when night comes, the starlings begin to depart, until finally there is just one dark bird perched way up high, with a view of the town and a taste of the sky.

Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! book
#8
Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the creator of The Rabbit Listened comes a gentle story about the difficulty of change . . . and the wonder that new beginnings can bring. Change and transitions are hard, but Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! demonstrates how, when one experience ends, it opens the door for another to begin. It follows two best friends as they say goodbye to snowmen, and hello to stomping in puddles. They say goodbye to long walks, butterflies, and the sun…and hello to long evening talks, fireflies, and the stars. But the hardest goodbye of all comes when one of the friends has to move away. Feeling alone isn’t easy, and sometimes new beginnings take time. But even the hardest days come to an end, and you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Unstoppable Me book
#9
Unstoppable Me
Written by Susan Verde and illustrated by Andrew Joyner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

This lyrical picture book about a little boy with boundless energy celebrates the exuberance of an active child. I am movement Heat Static electricity Fueled by food And powered by PLAY! Unstoppable Me is about the sort of energetic child we all know and love—full of fun and play and a bit exhausting! In this book, we see an unstoppable little boy run, jump, and soar through his day. He takes a little time to refuel, then he's back at it—zooming and zipping around. This poetic, joyful book—filled with illustrations as bright and energetic as the boy himself— is a celebration of the active child.

Pick a Pumpkin book
#10
Pick a Pumpkin
Written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The creators of Pick a Pine Tree are back with a joyful, energetic celebration of a Halloween tradition. Pick a pumpkin from the patch. Tall and lean or short and fat. Vivid orange, ghostly white, or speckled green, might be just right. Pairing a wonderfully rhythmic read-aloud text with expressive retro illustrations, author Patricia Toht and illustrator Jarvis capture all the excitement and familial feeling of a favorite holiday tradition. Readers will be happy to follow along with each step, from picking out the perfect specimen at the pumpkin patch (be sure to stop for cider and toffee apples) to carting it home, scooping out the insides, carving a scary face, and finally lighting a candle inside -- savoring the familiar ritual of transforming an ordinary pumpkin into a one-of-a-kind glowing jack-o'-lantern.

So Big! book
#11
So Big!
Written and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A simple, clever text paired with utterly adorable animal characters makes school-day jitters seem not so big after all! Bear is so big, and he's ready to start school! But even if you're SO BIG, you might feel a little nervous at times. Can Bear brave his first day and find a way to make it feel just right? A clever and charming story, So Big! will help young readers through all the important first steps in life. Acclaim for Dad's First Day Bank Street Best Children's Books of 2016--outstanding merit title Acclaim for Moo! An ALA Notable book A BCCB Blue Ribbon selection

Vroom! book
#12
Vroom!
Written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Join a little girl as she zooms— past fields and forests, up mountains, over rivers, through deserts, home again, and into bed in this playful picture book about the power of imagination, from award-winning author and artist Barbara McClintock.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!