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may 2019 Best Picture Books

Updated Jul. 23, 2019
To Live on an Island book
#25
To Live on an Island
Written by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Elizabeth Person
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

When you live on an island, things are different. Sometimes harder. Sometimes sweeter. Sometimes quieter. Experience a day in the life of a child growing up on a Pacific Northwest island in this beautifully written and illustrated picture book. Off the coast of Washington State rise hundreds of small islands. Some are lush and green. Others are rugged and rocky. And each has its own personality. Many islands are home mostly to deer, but quite a few have farms and fields, schools and stores, and people. What is it like to live on an island? Award-winning author Emma Bland Smith explores what it's like to grow up on an island in the Pacific Northwest from the perspective of a young boy, who wakes up to the sound of a ferry horn, hikes through the woods to get to his bus stop, drops crab pots for dinner, and falls asleep counting orcas instead of sheep. This book celebrates what's special about island culture and includes a brief nonfiction element on each spread that relates to the narrative.

The Blue Pebble book
#26
The Blue Pebble
Written by Anne-Gaelle Balpe and illustrated by Eve Tharlet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Under a daisy Oli finds a pebble. Everyone he shows it to tells him to throw it away. But Oli just knows he'll find a use for it one day. At last he meets a very sad girl and finds he was right all along. His pebble is special after all.

Field Trip to the Moon book
#27
Field Trip to the Moon
Written and illustrated by John Hare
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It's field trip day, and students are excited to travel on their yellow spaceship bus from their space station to the moon. Climb aboard the spaceship bus for a fantastic field trip adventure to the moon. Once they land, students debark and set out with their teacher to explore. They jump over trenches and see craters and mountains on the moon's surface and even Earth in the faraway distance. One student takes a break to draw some pictures, falls asleep, and wakes up to discover that the rest of the class and the spaceship are gone. How the student passes the time waiting to be rescued makes for a funny and unexpected adventure that will enchant children all over the galaxy. With rich atmospheric art, John Hare's wordless picture book invites children to imagine themselves in the story--a story full of surprises including some friendly space creatures. Published in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon walk, it is a perfect complement to discussions and lessons on the moon landing.

What the Ladybug Heard at the Zoo book
#28
What the Ladybug Heard at the Zoo
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Ladybug is ready for a vacation! When she flies into the city, the last thing she expects is to run into those no-good robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len. This time, the dastardly duo have their sights set on Monkey Joe, resident of the local zoo—with his help, they hope to break into the Queen’s palace! It will take all the animals, including the Queen’s famous corgis, to put an end to this royal mischief. Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks have done it again in this latest laugh-out-loud romp!

Splat the Cat and the Lemonade Stand book
#29
Splat the Cat and the Lemonade Stand
Written and illustrated by Rob Scotton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

You know Splat the Cat from his bestselling picture books and Level One stories. Now get ready to graduate with Splat into Level Two readers and find out what funny adventures Splat will get into next! School’s out, and Splat can’t wait to visit the waterpark, but first he needs make some money—selling lemonade! Splat opens a lemonade stand to make enough money to buy a ticket to the Super Jump Water Park. But when Spike opens another lemonade stand right across the street, Splat is in for some friendly competition. He’s going to have to think fast to beat his rival! Splat the Cat and the Lemonade Stand is a Level Two I Can Read book, geared for kids who read on their own but still need a little help. Beginning readers ready for Level Two will love this fun Splat the Cat adventure.

A Visit to Fairyland book
#30
A Visit to Fairyland
Written and illustrated by Shirley Barber
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-9

Are there fairies at the bottom of the garden? Laura thinks so--she has seen a little green door at the base of the willow tree, and thinks fairies might live on the other side. So she and her brother Daniel wait by the door, and sure enough, some fairies come out to greet them. Then they take them through to the other side, and so being Laura and Daniel's adventures in Fairyland. Exquisitely detailed illustrations and an engaging story will delight children for hours on end.

Grandpa Cacao book
#31
Grandpa Cacao
Written and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

This beautifully illustrated story connects past and present as a girl bakes a chocolate cake with her father and learns about her grandfather harvesting cacao beans in West Africa. Chocolate is the perfect treat, everywhere! As a little girl and her father bake her birthday cake together, Daddy tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao, a farmer from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In a land where elephants roam and the air is hot and damp, Grandpa Cacao worked in his village to harvest cacao, the most important ingredient in chocolate. "Chocolate is a gift to you from Grandpa Cacao," Daddy says. "We can only enjoy chocolate treats thanks to farmers like him." Once the cake is baked, it's ready to eat, but this isn't her only birthday present. There's a special surprise waiting at the front door . . .

The Cook and the King book
#32
The Cook and the King
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The king searches his kingdom far and wide for the perfect cook. He’s very particular, and none of the cooks can get the job done just right. Until the king meets Wobbly Bob. The king thinks Wobbly Bob might be the perfect fit, but there’s just one small hitch—Wobbly Bob is afraid of everything. He’s afraid that he’ll nick himself with the sharp kitchen knives, and he’s afraid he’ll get dirt from the vegetable garden on his new apron. Wobbly Bob needs a companion to help him feel brave, so the king himself tags along every step of the way. This tale of unlikely friendship is a fun and hilarious romp from a bestselling team.

G Is for Golazo book
#33
G Is for Golazo
Written by James Littlejohn and illustrated by Matthew Shipley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

S is for soccer. F is for football, and fútbol, and fußball... No matter what you call it, everyone loves the beautiful game! The creators of B is for Baller return with a vibrant, stylish parade of soccer legends. Featuring dozens of international superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Pelé, Diego Maradona, Marta, Mia Hamm, and Abby Wambach, G is for Golazo is the ultimate ABC book for budding soccer fans.

Koala Is Not a Bear book
#34
Koala Is Not a Bear
Written by Kristin L. Gray and illustrated by Rachel McAlister
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

It's Koala's first day at camp, and she thinks she's found her place in the Bear Cabin--until know-it-all Kangaroo tells Koala that she is not a bear. Koala lists all the ways in which she resembles her new friend, Grizzly, but Kangaroo isn't buying it. As Koala tries to find her place, alert readers will recognize clues about where Koala belongs.

You Made Me a Dad book
#35
You Made Me a Dad
Written by Laurenne Sala and illustrated by Mike Malbrough
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A picture book for expectant fathers and already-fathers everywhere created by the author of You Made Me a Mother, Laurenne Sala, and the Marigold Bakes a Cake author-illustrator, Mike Malbrough. In this touching celebration of fatherhood, the close bond between parent and child comes to life with heartwarming resonance. Laurenne Sala’s tranquil text, accompanied by Mike Malbrough’s tender watercolor illustrations, creates a warm look at the joys, fears, and responsibilities of being a dad over the years. A perfect gift for Father’s Day! I loved you before I saw you. When you were just a heartbeat. Then a picture. Then a teeny-tiny kick...

Saving Emma the Pig book
#36
Saving Emma the Pig
Written by John Chester and illustrated by Jennifer Meyer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Welcome to Apricot Lane Farm, a unique world full of true stories about heartwarming animals’ relationships and the special people who care for them. When Emma the pig arrives at the Apricot Lane Farm, she is about to give birth to piglets. But she is also sick, and after her seventeen babies arrive, Emma is unable to care for them. Taking care of seventeen piglets and a sick mama pig are a challenge for Farmer John and his team. But the cure for Emma reminds them what is most important—for pigs and for humans: love and friendship.

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