By Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Published 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
This was one of the most hotly-anticipated picture book releases for 2013: written by the beloved (and elusive) Lemony Snicket and illustrated by the most recent Caldecott winner. Simply put, I adored this book. It is about Laszlo. Laszlo is afraid of the dark. But the dark is not afraid of Laszlo. The story tells how Laszlo overcomes his fear of the dark. Klassen has got to be one of the best illustrators working in picture books today. His style is simple but lovely to see. Though I was not really afraid of the dark as a kid (excepting the space underneath my bed where I believed a foot-eating giant lobster lived), I can see this book resonating with a lot of young readers. I really enjoyed this one and wouldn't be surprised to see Klassen recognized again for his illustrations.
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
By Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
Published 2012 by Chronicle Books
I love, love, loved this book. It is stunningly beautiful and wonderfully written. I love how it joins the concepts of introducing colors and Islamic culture and it does so seamlessly. The text is simple yet very evocative and the illustrations beautifully complement every page. This is an absolutely fantastic book for introducing young children to other cultures in a simple and engaging way. This book is just so beautiful that it keeps catching my eye from the shelves - I hope this is true of other readers as well. Highly recommended.
Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad?
By Julie Middleton, illustrated by Russell Ayto
Published 2013 by Peachtree Publishers
Dave's dad takes him to the dinosaur museum where Dave is surprised to see the dinosaur displays come to life. Frantically trying to get his father's attention, Dave is ignored - that is, until they reach the Tyrannosaurus display. This book will definitely be a hit with the preschool crowd - it's fun and funny and about dinosaurs, all things they love in books. They also seem to love clueless parents, so there's another point for this book. While I didn't find it as entertaining as I imagine kids will, I still enjoyed it.