Window Fishing by DK Dyson; illustrated by Rudy GutierrezWhat it's about: While worrying that his work will never bring people joy, professional artist Rudeday spots an opportunity outside his window: a paper clip on a string, hanging down from the apartment above in a playful plea for a painted fish.
Art alert: Unusual perspectives, a lively mix of styles, and a strong sense of motion makes this picture book as visually fascinating as it is heartwarming.
Mine! by Candace Fleming; illustrated by Eric RohmannWhat it's about: a group of greedy animals, all eagerly eyeing the same shiny red apple as it's just about to fall from the "tip-tippy top" of the tree.
How it's told: through rhyming text bursting with onomatopoeia (the animals "trippety-skipped," "stompety-flopped," and "zippety-eeked") and dramatic, heavy-lined relief print illustrations.
Reviewers say: "an extremely fruitful pick for storytime" (Booklist).
The Truth About Dragons by Julie Leung; illustrated by Hanna ChaWhat it's about: A parent telling a bedtime tale to a biracial child includes mythical creatures from both of the family's cultures -- fire-breathing European dragons defend treasure from knights, while majestic Chinese dragons control the air and skies.
Who it's for: dragon-obsessed kids (and grown-ups), as well as multiracial kids looking for stories of imaginative exploration that might relate to their own.
The Scariest Kitten in the World by Kate Messner; illustrated by Mackenzie HaleyOn a dark a stormy night: readers are invited into a creepy, creaky old house to "behold the terror" of...an adorable lil' kitten? As if that's not terrifying enough, a whole menagerie of bloodcurdlingly cute baby animals await.
Who it's for: fans of Jonathan Allen's I'm Not Cute! and other sweetly funny books about small, fluffy characters who want to be seen as scary and fierce.
Stickler Loves the World by Lane SmithStarring: Stickler, a twiggy, multi-eyed bundle of enthusiasm. Stickler takes special delight in showing the weird, everyday wonders of the world -- waves, sunbeams, stars, seed pods, sticky honey and more -- to best friend Crow.
Art alert: Dimensional, mixed-media illustrations and stylized text heighten the oddball charm of this "buoyant, bristly ode to joy" (Kirkus Reviews).
A Hippy-Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer; illustrated by Anne WilsdorfWhat it's about: A teeny-tiny toad is just hanging out in a puddle when the unexpected SNAP! of a twig starts a chain reaction that launches the toad on an odyssey through a world much bigger than him.
Why kids might like it: Children know that being small can be tough -- thankfully, in this rhyming, onomatopoeia-laced story, it's much easier to just let go and enjoy the wild ride.
My Fade Is Fresh by Shauntay Grant; illustrated by Kitt ThomasWelcome to: Chrissy's barbershop, where everyone has an opinion on one little girl's next hairstyle. Onlookers suggest waves, twists, spikes, and cornrows, but this kid knows what she wants: "THE FRESHEST FADE UP ON THE BLOCK!"
Why kids might like it: Playful rhymes and vibrant illustrations offer infectious energy, and the heroine's choices are affirmed and respected.
For fans of: Derrick Barnes' Crown.
Frances in the Country by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Sean QuallsStarring: city kid Frances, who has too much energy for the confined spaces and sharp edges of a place where she can't safely climb or shout or just run. A visit to her cousins in the country, however, introduces Frances to wide-open spaces where she can race, splash, dance, and go, go, go!
Try this next: Dog Salati's Hot Dog, another spare, distinctive tale of an urban dweller finding respite outdoors.
A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy YoungThe dream: When Lucy orders a unicorn for delivery, she plans to name him Sparkle and festoon him with flowers.
The reality: The flea-ridden "unicorn" that arrives looks (and smells) like a goat and is more inclined to eat the flower garlands.
Series alert: This quirky tale of an apparent mismatch that may be just right kicks off a series, which continues in A New Friend for Sparkle.
The Night is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah; illustrated by Keturah A. BoboWhat it's about: an adoring father watching his daughter and her friends play in the neighborhood courtyard on a summer evening.
Why kids might like it: Poetic language and dusky, moonlit hues evoke an atmosphere of wonder among the excited kids, as well as the parent who knows his child can "show everyone else how to embrace the night like you."
About the illustrator: You might recognize Keturah A. Bobo's luminous painting style from Grace Byers' bestselling I Am Enough.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!