There was a time that I’d buy about ten picture books a month, but now that I’m in a retirement mode, I find that I am more careful/selective about what I choose to purchase. This list provides an overview of some recent picture book purchases, some with 2016 publication dates.

THE UNCORKER OF OCEAN BOTTLES by Michelle Cuevas; Illustrated by Erin E. Stead 2016

The title of this picture book is the name and job description of the lonely central character whose task is to open any bottles found at sea and make sure they are delivered. “Truth be told, each time he opened a bootle, a part of him hoped to see his own name winking from the top of the page.” One day, the Uncorker of Ocean Bottle receives an invitation to a party and in an attempt to discover who wrote this message, the hero eventually comes to find a place of belonging. I expect this book to be on top ten lists (Caldecott anyone?)  at year’s end.

FArTHER by Grahame Baker-Smith 2010

This was recommended as a picture book for older readers. The art work is well-deserved of the adjective ‘exquisite’. It is a story of  fathers and sons and dreams of ‘taking flight on the feathers of a thousand hopeful wings’. Wow!

OH NO, GEORGE by Chris Haughton 2012

Loved Shh We Have a Plan so I bought this one sight unseen. I think I have a very favourite new author for wee readers. What will the mischievous long-earred dog named George do next?  He is inquisitive and adventurous and funny and young readers will delight in the trouble George gets into (and out of).

I WONDER Written by Annika Harris; Illustrated by John Rowe, 2013

Accompanied by her mother, a little girl named Eva is awed by the mysteries of the world that she encounters while going for a walk.  Together, mother and daughter embark on a journey of lifelong learning – and wonder.

THE GRUMPS: A love story by Paula Hillick 2015

Hooray for Paula (a former OISE student of mine) for creating this book intended to help young readers consider their feelings, their relationships and the possibility of growing a loving heart. For more information contact ThinkCareShare.com.

A CHILD OF BOOKS by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston 2016

This title already appears on the New York Time best picture book list. Purchased this one automatically when reading the title and seeing Oliver Jeffers’ name. Any book that promotes a love of words and adventures and imagination and stories (‘we’re made from stories’) is worth sharing. The end pages themselves provide a remarkable inventory of literary classics. How many have you read? Which titles would you include?

PENGUIN PROBLEMS Written by Jory John; Illustrated by Lane Smith 2016.

The text on the book flap asks: ‘Why would you want to learn about some penguin’s problems when you have plenty of problems of your own?\  I rose to the bait and dipped into this charming, informative book, with only one or two sentences on each page (except for one). I really like Penguin Problems and would use it to activate prior knowledge about penguins as well as ignite an inquiry into the life of penguins.

CROW CALL Written by Lois Lowry; Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 2009

This is the first picture book by Newbery Award author, Lois Lowry. In this memoir, Lowry  tells the story of a young girl’s connection with her father who has just returned from the World War II. The relationship is deepened by when father and daughter set out in the Pennsylvania farmlands where they beckon crows from the sky.

I AM A STORY Written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino 2016

Bought this book because of the title. The history of story from cave paintings to printing press to Shakespeare is presented in very simple text. This book inspires further inquiry to the significant events in writing and telling stories, and provides a foundation for young readers to consider the stories in their own lives.

THEY ALL SAW A CAT by Brendan Wenzel 2016

Online praise (‘layered’ ‘funny’ ‘sophisticated’ ‘smart’ ‘thought-provoking’ entertaining lured me into buying this gem of a picture book, already considered with recognition for Caldecott 2017.


 Finalists for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (and other awards) were recently announced on the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Website.  Having served as a jury member this year, along with Maria Martella and Janis Nustbakken, I am pleased to announce the following nominated titles. Winner ($20 000) will be announced on November 17, 2016.
IN A CLOUD OF DUST Written by Alma Fullerton; Illustrated by Brian Deines /Pajama Press
for ages 4-8

InvisiBILL Written by Maureen Fergus ; Illustrated by Dušan Petričić /Tundra Books

SIDEWALK FLOWERS Storyline by JonArno Lawson; Illustrated by Sydney Smith / Groundwood Books

SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A FOX Written and illustrated by Danielle Daniel /Groundwood Books

THE WOLF-BIRDS Written and illustrated by Willow Dawson / Owlkids Books