may 2018 Best Picture Books

Updated Feb. 23, 2019
Dad By My Side book
#1
Dad By My Side
Written and illustrated by Soosh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A heartwarming celebration of the special relationship between a father and daughter from Instagram sensation Soosh. Whether they're playing make-believe, making you smile, or warding off monsters under the bed, dads are always there when you need them. Debut picture book artist Soosh celebrates fathers with a gorgeously illustrated and moving story about the parent-child bond. When Soosh first posted her initial series of images of a larger-than-life father and his adorable daughter on Instagram, fans from across the world immediately took notice with over 2 million views on a popular viral content website in a single week. These illustrations now come together in a universally relatable story of familial love for parents and children to share.

A House in the Sky book
#2
A House in the Sky
Written by Steve Jenkins and illustrated by Robbin Gourley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Some animals build nests, some live in holes in the ground, and some even live in books! Turtles, birds, fish, beavers, and kangaroos are just like people—they need homes, and take up residence in unusual places. Readers get a glimpse of the similarities between human and animal homes with sidebars that detail the unique qualities of each animal and its home. Robbin Gourley's stylized yet realistic watercolor illustrations prove that nonfiction can be accurate and elegant. Backmatter includes more information about each animal—their habits and their habitats.

How to Grow Happiness book
#3
How to Grow Happiness
Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Matt Kaufenberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Jerome the Gnome takes young readers on whimsical adventures through his garden, celebrating discovery and sowing the imagination as he introduces topics such as science, environmental awareness, and agriculture. In How to Grow Happiness, Jerome and his fellow Garden of Wonder dwellers—including Oakie, his pet acorn; Nutilda, a hyperactive squirrel; and Warble, a fast-talking bird—learn what it takes to make a happiness seed blossom. Through patience, asking for help, and teamwork, Jerome and his friends take a little black seed left on a windowsill and find ways to help it grow. They soon find that as it flourishes, their own happiness does too. Jerome the Gnome teaches young readers and listeners how a garden grows, as well as how a community comes together to make the experience more rewarding—and fun!

Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN book
#4
Flying Deep Climb Inside Deep Sea Submersible ALVIN
Written by Michelle A. Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Climb aboard Alvin, the famous deep-sea submersible credited with helping to find the Titanic, and take a trip two miles down to the bottom of the ocean. Experience a day in the life of an Alvin pilot, diving two miles down to explore the seafloor, collect samples, and conduct research. Along the way, discover what one wears, eats, and talks about during a typical eight-hour trip in a underwater craft, and find out more about the animals that live deep in our oceans. In expressive, poetic language and gorgeous illustrations, the mysteries of the deep sea are revealed. Backmatter includes an author's note about researching this book, a glossary, and suggested further reading.

The Other Dog book
#5
The Other Dog
Written by Madeleine L’Engle and illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Reissued in hardcover to coincide with the movie release of A Wrinkle in Time, here is a true tale of dog-meets-baby from Newbery Medal–winning author Madeleine L'Engle! Based on Madeleine L'Engle's own poodle's experience coping with a new baby in the house, this sprightly picture book presents a familiar domestic drama with an utterly charming new twist. Tongue-in-cheek wit, endearing illustrations, and a revealing author's note make this a publishing event to celebrate!

Sylvia Long's Big Book for Small Children book
#6
Sylvia Long's Big Book for Small Children
Written and illustrated by Sylvia Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Sylvia Long has been creating bestselling children's books for more than 25 years. Her edition of Mother Goose rhymes is a modern classic, and Sylvia Long's Big Book for Small Children, her latest compendium, is destined to become another nursery staple. From beloved stories like "The Three Little Pigs" and important early childhood concepts (colors, counting, ABCs) to her own family's favorite recipes and lullabies, this warm, joyous, and comprehensive collection is the perfect start to every child's library.

Big Red and the Terrible Tomato Hornworm book
#7
Big Red and the Terrible Tomato Hornworm
Written and illustrated by Courtney Carbone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In Big Red and the Terrible Tomato Hornworms, Professor Sage holds a contest between the young Bloomers where each must choose their favorite vegetable to grow and care for. Here, young readers are introduced to the character of Big Red, who knows exactly what he wants to grow: tomatoes! After all, they are the main ingredient in some of his favorite foods: spaghetti, ketchup, and pizza. But as he starts planting, he discovers that he’ll have to battle hornworms to keep his tomatoes healthy and safe. In the end, he has to use his newfound gardening knowledge and peacemaking skills to work with the hornworms and save his tomatoes. Bloomers Island Garden of Stories picture books take young readers and listeners to Bloomers Island to experience the world of plants, flowers, and gardens through lively stories and lush illustrations.

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy book
#8
How to Trick the Tooth Fairy
Written by Erin Danielle Russell and illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Kaylee loves pulling pranks: from dropping water balloons on passers-by to even tricking Santa Claus, she’s a prize-winning prankster! But is she the Princess of Pranks? No! That title is held by none other than the Tooth Fairy. But when Kaylee loses a tooth and the Tooth Fairy goes about her usual tooth-taking business, Kaylee pranks her with a fake frog. As Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy try to out-prank one another, things get way out of hand, until the two finally see eye and eye and decide to share the crown!

Kat Writes a Song book
#9
Kat Writes a Song
Written and illustrated by Greg Foley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Kat writes a song to make things better on a gray and rainy day. After perfecting her magic song, she sings it out loud, and to her surprise, the rainy clouds go away! Kat is so pleased that she goes around her neighborhood singing her magic song. Will her song be able to help her friends too?

Polly Diamond and the Magic Book book
#10
Polly Diamond and the Magic Book
Written by Alice Kuipers and illustrated by Diana Toledano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Polly loves words. And she loves writing stories. So when a magic book appears on her doorstep that can make everything she writes happen in real life, Polly is certain all of her dreams are about to come true. But she soon learns that what you write and what you mean are not always the same thing! Funny and touching, this new chapter book series will entertain readers and inspire budding writers.

Violet and the Eggplant Painting Problem book
#11
Violet and the Eggplant Painting Problem
Written by Cynthia Wylie, Courtney Carbone and illustrated by Katya Longhi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In Violet and the Eggplant Painting Problem, Professor Sage holds a contest between the young Bloomers, where each must choose their favorite vegetable to grow and care for. Here, young readers are introduced to the character of Violet, a painter who loves purple. So of course she chooses to grow eggplants, and decides to make paintings of them to track their progress. But she runs into a problem—there’s no more purple paint! Violet quickly learns that she can gather blackberries to make her own purple paint, and she is able to paint her vegetables after all. Bloomers Island Garden of Stories picture books take young readers and listeners to Bloomers Island to experience the world of plants, flowers, and gardens through lively stories and lush illustrations.

Ocean Meets Sky book
#12
Ocean Meets Sky
Written by Terry Fan and illustrated by Eric Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s a good day for sailing. Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.