By Divya Srinivasan
Published 2013 by Viking Juvenile
This is a cute story about a shy octopus who is content to explore the reef alone. She often hides from the fish and other creatures around her, preferring to spend time by herself. But she loves to watch the seahorses - they always seem to be so happy and have so much fun. This is a great story for kids to understand that sometimes friends need alone time and it doesn't mean they don't want to be friends. The illustrations are lovely and Srinivasan does a great job naming all the different creatures in the ocean with Octopus.
By Paul Schmid
Published 2013 by Disney-Hyperion
I really like Schmid's style - the simplicity of his art and his use of primarily one color in each book is really appealing and charming. This is a cute story about a little boy who is nervous about the first day of school so he brings an alligator with him - just in case. Throughout the day, the alligator takes care of every problem that Oliver encounters. When Oliver feels lonely at the end of the day, he figures out what he has to do. I can imagine this book being a bit unsettling for sensitive kids, but those with a sense of humor will appreciate it.
Penguin on Vacation
By Salina Yoon
Published 2013 by Walker Childrens
I loved the simplicity and sweetness of Penguin and Pinecone, so I was really excited to see another new adventure with Penguin so soon. This time, Penguin decides to take a tropical vacation. He meets friends along the way and has fun. This story is just as simple and sweet as the first - the only thing missing is an appearance by Pinecone. I think that would have made this book even more adorable. I love Yoon's bold illustrations - they are very kid-friendly. Another great story with Penguin. I can't wait for more.