See You Next Year
Written by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Todd Stewart, Owlkids, 32 pages, $17.95
Being an adult means never having enough time and craving vacations, so it's easy to forget that for kids, summer break comes with a certain amount of sadness. First there's the sadness about leaving your friends and then the sadness when the vacation ends. See You Next Year captures this perfectly. The story follows a girl who, every year, goes to the same beachside motel during summer break. But this year something is different. She makes a new friend who teaches her about diving and spotting satellites. The sadness of leaving him behind is mitigated by her knowledge that she'll be able to see him again next year. Calm and straightforward, this is a beautiful book and one that just might help all of us get through March and into spring.
By Carson Ellis, Candlewick, 40 pages, $19
This is a book to be loved for its illustrations. Each one gives a different example of what a home is. They all start pretty realistic. There's a house in the country and an apartment in the city. From there the imagination escalates, going from boat to palace all the way to a moon house and the castle of a Norse god. Both Phoenix and Frida loved the variation in the repetition, especially when the pages surprised them. The last page was especially great. It shows the home of an artist working on the first illustration in the book, his room filled with objects found in the other pictures. The kids actually spotted this before I did.
Dinosaurs from Head to Tail
Written by Stacey Roderick, illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya, Kids Can Press, 36 pages, $18.95
If you or your children like the concept of this book you will love all of it. One page shows an extreme close-up of a dinosaur's head or tail. You have to guess which dinosaur it is before turning the page and seeing the whole creature. The danger with this is that the dinosaurs will be either too hard or too easy to guess. When some of the very first pages included Parasaurolophus, Diplodocus and Therizinosaurus, I began to suspect it was going to be too hard. But Phoenix got a lot of them right so I guess I just don't know my dinosaurs. Perfect for the dino-kid in your house.