The Cot in the Living Room by author Hilda Eunice Burgos and illustrator Gaby D’Alessandro

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Kokila

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

This is a touching story about a family that babysits children whose parents work at night. The children sleep on a cot in the living room. The young daughter in this story is envious of the special treatment that the babysat children receive until one night when the cot is empty. The young daughter gets to experience life alone on the cot. This story show’s the young daughter’s emotional growth. Illustrations match the sentiment of the text. A must read picture book.

Every Cake Has A Story by author Christina Tosi and illustrator Emily Balsley

Reading Age: 3 – 5 years

Publisher: Dial Books

Publication Date: September 21, 2021

Imagine living in a world where everything is a shade of gray. That is life in Sameville where a girl named Sammi lives. The dwellings, the vehicles, the clothes, the food…just gray. Sammi wants change. She goes to sleep one night with something tucked under her pillow. When she wakes up, a variety of hues and pigments brighten her world. She enlists the help of her diverse friends to create a cake made of an array of tastes, textures and colors. Illustrations support the theme of the book. A recipe is included.

My Dad Is A Grizzly Bear by author Swapna Haddow and illustrator Dapo Adeola

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Date: April 29, 2021

A youngster discusses why his dad is a grizzly bear which includes dad’s eating and napping habits, rough fur, love of long walks, climbing and camping which all seem to bother the child until someone else in the family tops dad! This is a funny story and one to read all year as different seasons are seen in illustration settings. Illustrations will keep readers laughing and feeling good about the relationship between a father and son in this picture book.

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert

Reading Age: 4 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Formed in a pile of leaves is a figure that resembles a man. On a gusty day, Leaf Man blows away. The storyteller wonders where Leaf Man goes and shows various scenes of where he could possibly have blown if he went east, west, north or south. One thing is for sure. Leaf Man goes where the wind blows. Much of the illustrations are creatively made out of leaves and include ducks, geese, chickens, turkey, birds, cows, turtle, fish, butterflies, dog, mouse, trees and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Included are pictures of different leaves and where they come from. My Book Eyes will always remember school bulletin boards filled will leaf art inspired by this picture book. Ms. Ehlert will be missed.

Abby Invents The Foldibot by author Dr. Arlyne Simon and illustrator Diana Necsulescu

Reading Age: 4 – 9 years

Publisher: Abby Invents

Publication Date: September 15, 2021

In this Abby Invents series picture book, Abby sees how time consuming it is for her mother to fold clothes. With her mother’s encouragement, Abby decides to create a folding machine. She gets assistance from her cousin, Miko. The two survey people in their neighborhood, draw sketches, gather supplies and build their folding machine. As most inventors discover, it takes perseverance and several experiments to perfect their creations! This book sparks ingenuity in children, describing in words and illustrating in pictures work that needs to be done to become an inventor.

Y is for Yet: A Growth Mindset Alphabet by author Shannon Anderson and illustrator Jake Souva

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Reading Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

Publication Date: August 24, 2020

In this alphabet picture book, children learn to view the positive that can come from difficult situations. For example, C for Challenges reminds readers that even difficult things can be accomplished. N for Notice asks readers to observe what works and what does not. So many children could benefit from listening to or reading this book including children older than 8 years. The illustrations are upbeat and match the book’s messages.

Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper

Reading Age: 3 – 7

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Puffin Books

Publication Date: March 15, 2015

Upon leaving his grandpa’s house, Max notices the moon. Grandpa assures Max that the moon will always shine for him. On the long car ride home, Max watches the moon. When the moon hides behind clouds, Max feels alone. The moon will not always shine for him. Once Max climbs into bed, the moon brightly shines again and Max is satisfied. This story resonates with many. Who has not followed the moon as a child? Mr. Cooper’s illustrations are beautiful. His talent will be missed.

Chairs on Strike by Jennifer Jones

Reading Age: Baby – 12 years

Publisher: Random Source

Publication Date: June 28, 2021

Chairs come to life and rebel against students’ negative actions in this rhyming picture book. They are tired of smelly feet, getting broken legs and being dragged around to name a few abuses. So the chairs write up their gripes, leave the notes on the teacher’s desk then exit the classroom. When students return to class the next day, they have nothing to sit on. Students get tired of standing and write apologies to the chairs which encourages the chairs to return. This book surely provokes laughter and shines a light on improper use of chairs.

Tomatoes for Neela by author Padma Lakshmi and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal

Reading Age: 3 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 31, 2021

Neela likes cooking with her mother who learned to cook from Neela’s grandmother. Neela’s mother taught Neela about different types of tomatoes at the farmer’s market. They create tomato sauce, save jars of it to eat during winter and to share with her grandmother when she visits from India. At times a lot of information is shown pictorially with labels attached that will appeal to older and younger readers. The illustrator weaves facts into this children’s book in a visually pleasing way. For example, information about heirloom tomatoes show Neela’s happy face peeking through the vines. History about the origins of tomatoes is also within the story. At the end of this picture book are fun facts about tomatoes, information about farm workers, an author’s note and two recipes.

Jump Up Time: A Trinidad Carnival Story by author Lynn Joseph and illustrator Linda Saport

Grade Level: 1 – 2

Publisher: Clarion Books

Publication Date: September 1, 1998

Christine is old enough to participate in the Children’s Carnival in Trinidad this year but her sister, Lily, is a year too young. The family is involved in creating Christine’s hummingbird costume and Lily is jealous. On the day of the Children’s Carnival, Christine is nervous but Lily is supportive and Christine has a successful experience which she shares with Lily. A good story representing sibling relationships and family working together. My Book Eyes enjoyed reading about the materials and work needed to create the costume as well as research needed to choose a costume that represents Trinidad. Words such as mauby, fried bake, salt fish, play mas, soca, and calypso let the reader know that he or she is experiencing Caribbean culture in this picture book. Illustrations are brightly colored.