May 1, 2018 Picture Book Releases

pHappy release week to all of these picture books making their rounds through our reviewers!

I CAN EXPLORE and I CAN DREAM by Betsy Snyder
(Chronicle Books ~ May 1, 2018)

Review and photo by Kate Olson ~ @theloudlibrarylady on Instagram

Screenshot 2018-04-26 15.03.26

These new board books by Betsy Snyder are so cute! The finger holes make them perfect for littles who want to be involved in the reading and are great hands-on read aloud fun. I CAN EXPLORE and I CAN DREAM are the newest in the collection, joining I CAN DANCE and I CAN PLAY. This whole set would be a perfect baby or toddler gift.

And another photo and review from Nicole Ehrhardt ~ @love2readkto4 on Instagram

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These Betsy Snyder books get a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5✨ from me!!!! Right after opening my package and seeing the front cover, I went straight into play mode! These books make for the perfect combination of make believe and story time! If you have a little one and are looking for something to boost their imagination, these books are definitely it!

Sylvia Long’s BIG BOOK for Small Children by Sylvia Long
(Chronicle Books ~ May 1, 2018)


Screenshot 2018-04-26 19.12.19

Review by Susan Sturm ~ @suesturm40 on Instagram

This book is beautiful from start to finish! Sylvia Long creates a gorgeous fairytale-like world through her rich illustrations and meandering stories, poems, and word collections. The book does not read like a typical start-to-finish children’s book, but rather winds through classic tales like “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Little Red Hen” alongside quirky poems and rhymes. Throughout the entire book are pages about emotions that its young readers may experience (“Sometimes I feel shy, sad, happy, proud.”) and common tasks that children perform (“I can sing, share, eat my snack, rest, listen to a story, help clean up.”). The entire book is a work of art and the rich detail in the paintings show each animal’s personality and style. Quite simply, this book is lovely and a must-have for bedtime reading.

(Bloomsbury Kids ~ May 1, 2018)

Review and photo by Kate Olson ~ @theloudlibrarylady on Instagram

Screenshot 2018-04-26 15.20.41

This is one of my favorite picture books of 2018 so far, and I seriously just want to hug this book. I honestly don’t want to tell you much about it because it’s a fun surprise, but it’s about embracing the fabulous things that make each of us unique. I interpreted this book in a wonderful way that I am not sure if the author and illustrator intended, so I’m going to keep that to myself, but overall, the message is such a welcome one in this world that seems to value conformity above all else.

Teachers and librarians ~ this is a must-read in your classrooms and libraries, and parents, add it to your bedtime reading list and make plenty of time for discussion after reading!

HAZELNUT DAYS by Emmanuel Bourdier
(Minedition ~ May 1, 2018)

Photo and Review by Lauren Rafferty ~ @thesmilelines on Instagram

Screenshot 2018-04-26 15.21.47

Could be a bit of a spoiler alert…

Wow! Hazelnut Days by Emmanuel Bourdier is COMPLETELY different from anything I have EVER read. It is the story of a boy visiting his father in prison. I had NO idea he was in prison until the end of the book. I loved that, but I also loved reading it again knowing that this is what was going on. I was able to feel every SINGLE emotion because of the details the author puts on each page. This young boy is on an emotional roller coaster of love, hate, confusion, sadness, hope, and fear. He has so much pain and so MUCH LOVE for his father. The boy also shows you his relationship with his mother and how upset he is to see her struggle through this difficult time. He describes what happiness really means to him. The illustrations look as if ZAÜ had a perfect piece of charcoal to sketch these beautifully detailed pictures. They add so much to this story!

It is incredible to think how many children will relate and benefit from a book like this! This will open conversations and aid in the understanding of different family situations. I would recommend this picture book to elementary school libraries. Even though this is a picture book, I recommend it for children at least 7 and up due to the seriousness of the story. This would be great for a kids book club.

Review by Kate Olson ~ @theloudlibrarylady on Instagram

What a heartbreaking story! This story was originally published in France in 2014 and is just now being translated into English in the US. It is a picture book about a young boy whose father is in prison, and it has ALL the emotions. I envision this as being for a more mature audience due to the length and some of the content, or for children whose parents are in prison and need this mirror shared with them in a one-on-one setting with an adult. The illustrations are soft and are all in gray, black and tan tones, a fittingly subdued palate for the content.

HAZELNUT DAYS would be a perfect title for school guidance counselors to have on hand, and I definitely recommend it for public library purchase.

MARWAN’S JOURNEY by Patricia de Arias
(Minedition ~ May 1, 2018)

Photo and Review by Lauren Rafferty ~ @thesmilelines on Instagram

Screenshot 2018-04-26 15.25.18

This is the story of a young boy leaving his homeland. He takes you on his journey to a new home with hopes of safety for his future. Marwan hears his mother’s voice in his head saying to keep moving forward and to not look back. He tries to be brave but fears rush through his mind. Marwan hopes to return to his homeland in the future when there are brighter days.

I really enjoyed this book because it tells of the refugee crisis through the eyes of a young child. Many times I find myself turning off the news or not discussing serious topics with my children in fear that it is too upsetting. This book is a great way to discuss this topic. I think children would relate to this story because it is written through the eyes of someone just like them. The fears and the courage Marwan has throughout his time are tremendous. ✨The illustrations by Laura Borras are beautiful and different. They are bold and attractive as if they are really in the mind of this young boy. I loved the illustration of the boy dreaming of his mother. I went back to that page several times with tears in my eyes. .

Review by Kate Olson ~ @theloudlibrarylady on Instagram

Oh my goodness. I consider this a must-have for school library collections and highly recommend it for #classroombookaday in grades 2 and up. It is a heartbreaking story of the refugee crisis, and it is just as striking, beautiful and eye-opening as THE JOURNEY by Francesca Sanna, one of my other favorites. MARWAN’S JOURNEY is a very deep story, but written in a sparse and lyrical style that makes it appropriate for a wide-ranging audience. Originally published in Chile, it is just now being published in the US.

The Other Dog by Madeleine L’Engle
(Chronicle Books ~ (REISSUE) May 1, 2018)



Review by Kate Olson ~ @theloudlibrarylady on Instagram

While this book may be a reissue (originally published in 2001), it is entirely new to me and I love it so so much. Two things in life that make me happier than anything else are dogs and babies, and this hilarious and sweet story combines these two in the best way. I laughed out loud numerous times while reading and am so excited to share it with students when I get it for my library! It hits shelves on May 1, 2018.

Albie Newton by Josh Funk; Ester Garay
(Sterling Kids ~ May 1, 2018)

Screenshot 2018-04-26 19.17.51

Review and photo by Tracy Babler ~ @luandbeanread on Instagram

ALBIE NEWTON is an engineer and inventor. So when he goes to preschool, he naturally designs a way to make new friends. His methods get him into trouble though. He steals the hamster wheel, uses all the glue, and spills the trash. Just when his classmates have almost had it, they realize Albie has the best intentions–and he’s crafted something out of this world

ALBIE NEWTON’S rhyming text captivates kids as they follow Albie’s follies. Our favorite part was the surprise finale. It was a double whammy: we discovered Albie’s invention and we got to play seek-and-find with a bunch of historical figures in the illustration.

Romeo’s Big Book of Clever Ideas by Alain Grée
(Button Books ~ May 1, 2018)


Review by Caitlyn Bellinger ~ @missbsbooks on Instagram

Romeo is trying to go on vacation, but just can’t get his suitcase to budge. After several failures, he decided to turn his trip into a stay-cation, teaching us that we can turn negative situations into positives. I loved the vintage texture and colors of the book. The end pages let the reader know there is more to the series. The character is accessible, funny, and imperfect.

Snail Mail by Samantha Berger; Julia Patton
(Running Press Kids ~ May 1, 2018)


This one is still on its way to reviewers…….Stay tuned to the #kidlitexchange tag on Instagram and Twitter for reviews!


A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way. It was called Snail Mail. Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country.

As the four snails trekked across the country—through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests—they found that taking time to slow down and look around made the journey even more beautiful.

Snail Mail’s story encourages kids to approach life with determination and wonder, and Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America’s beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

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