I love my son's kindergarten teachers. Ms. Burlin asked for a list of recent books for kindergartners that I thought were standouts. Here goes:
The Pencil written by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman. Sort of a prequel to the Tom Waits-y The Runaway Dinner, The Pencil is meta, is magic realist, is funny, but does not read like Tom Waits lyrics. Can't have everything.
BEWARE OF THE FROG by william bee. Reviewed earlier. It's going to take a skilled storyteller to get the surprise ending past a whole batch of little kids, but I have faith.
The Big Bad Bunny written by Franny Billingsley, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. A loud little book with an unexpected twist.
Wolfsnail by Sarah C. Campbell. Reviewed earlier.
Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus. Reviewed earlier.
Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts. Reviewed earlier.
Forever Young written by Bob Dylan, illustrated by Paul Rogers. I can't swing this - I can't sing along - but I bet Ms. Burlin can. An awful lot of adult Easter eggs in the illustrations, but that doesn't make it less good for kids.
Fanny by Holly Hobbie. Reviewed earlier.
Garmann's Summer by Stian Hole. Reviewed earlier. About fear.
Mattland, story by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert, art by Dušan Petričić. Reviewed earlier.
The Way Back Home written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. I love everything Oliver Jeffers has ever breathed near, including this lovely, sweet book.
Fartiste by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Reviewed earlier. Danger, Will Robinson!
Marveltown by Bruce McCall. Reviewed earlier.
We're Off to Look for Aliens by Colin McNaughton. Reviewed earlier.
Who Made This Cake? text and English translation by Chihiro Nakagawa, illustrations by Junji Koyose. Reviewed earlier. Super birthday book!
Mrs. Muddle's Holidays by Laura F. Nielsen, pictures by Thomas F. Yezerski. Reviewed earlier. Could be "Ms. Burlin's Holidays." So nice.
I Feel a Foot! written by Maranke Rinck, illustrated by Martin Van Der Linden. The tale of the blind men and the elephant, except the blind men are nice little animals with personalities, and they're not blind (it's just night time). It's the art here, the art - beautiful patterns and glowing colors done in what looks like oil pastels, dry brush, heavy inks. Mmmm. Plus, the little striped bat is wearing pink socks - I love that.
Amadi's Snowman written by Katia Novet Saint-lot, illustrated by Dimitria Tokunbo. About literacy, about gender roles, set in Nigeria.
What the Rat Told Me: A legend of the Chinese zodiac by Marie Sellier, Catherine Louis, and Wang Fei. A little repetitive, but the big, sticky, bold ink illustrations make up for it, and figuring out what zodiac year each kid is.
Too Many Toys by David Shannon. Reviewed earlier.
Dinosaur vs. bedtime by Bob Shea. Reviewed earlier.
I'm the best artist in the ocean by Kevin Sherry. Reviewed earlier.
Korgi by Christian Slade. Watching little kids pore through this longer wordless book is so satisfying to those of us who know them well. Sophisticated narrative is not beyond their grasp - reading is.
The Sea Serpent and Me written by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Catia Chien. This was so nice, I wonder why I didn't review it. Little girl's sea serpent quickly outgrows the bathtub, and she is torn when it is time to release it into the sea. Nice little independent girl, not too gooey.
Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis. Reviewed earlier. Sequel, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, coming in March.
Jack and the Box by Art Spiegelman. An easily-memorized dialogue book, the surreal plot delights kids. Great for sharing.
Lester Fizz, Bubble Gum Artist written by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Thor Wickstrom. Really neat. Explains the urge of art ("What do you see?" "What don't you see?" "What do you want to see?") and provides dozens and dozens of famous (and diverse) examples, all within a cute story.
Cesar Takes a Break written by Susan Collins Thoms, illustrated by Roge. Classroom pet's horizons expand when the kids go on spring break.
Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems. More dialogue, very funny. First readers - may be more of a first-grade book in schools that don't teach reading in K.
Last Night by Hyewon Yum. Wordless. Easily interpreted. Full of expression. Lino printing at its very very best. Wow.