Tried & True and New: Picture Book Reviews

Our storytime experts are bringing you reviews of the latest from our Easy collection (or picture books) as well as some of their favorites used during storytime. We have thousands of picture books at each library, so this is just a small introduction to the collection. See all of our Tried & True and New reviews here on the blog.

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn, Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Reviewed by: Sarah Deay

Lola gets inspired by her favorite story and wants to plant a special garden. She starts planning for her garden at a great place to find new ideas – the library! Lola checks out some library books about her favorite flowers and sets off with her mommy and daddy to create her dream garden. After planting the seeds, waiting for them to grow, and making special decorations, Lola’s garden is just like the one in her favorite story! It is a perfect place for Lola’s friends to play together.

This sweet, feel-good book is fun and vibrant, even as it demonstrates important life lessons such as working towards goals, waiting with patience, and sharing with friends.

Read-alikes
  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes
  • If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
  • Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
  • Oscar’s Tower of Flowers by Lauren Tobia
  • The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyder

A is for Oboe: The Orchestra’s Alphabet by Lera Auerbach and Marilyn Nelson; illustrated by Paul Hoppe

Reviewed by: Parisa Nasiripour

With an unconventional yet melodic take on the ABC’s, A is for Oboe uses lyrical poetry to explore the different dynamics in the field of music. This picture book uses dynamic, bright illustrations to explore orchestra audiences, jazz bands, and even music librarians. It’s a must-read for anyone who loves poetry and music.

Read-alikes
  • Because by Mo Willems; illustrated by Amber Ren
  • How to Build an Orchestra by Mary Auld and Elisa Paganelli
  • This Magical, Musical Night by Rhonda Gowler Greene; illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
  • ROAR-chestra!: A Wild Story of Musical Words by Robert Heidbreder; illustrated by Dušan Petričić

Beyond the Burrow by Jessica Meserve

Reviewed by: Erik Knapp

Rabbits like to stay together where it’s cozy, safe and warm, far away from not-rabbits and not-rabbit things. But when one rabbit takes a tumble, she ends up surrounded by many not-rabbit things and creatures. Soon, she discovers however that just because something is not-rabbit, doesn’t mean it has to be scary and maybe rabbits and not-rabbits share some of the same joys and fears. 

Beyond the Burrow is a fantastic book for kids who may need some encouragement to try something new or may be anxious about a new place or experience.  The art is very good and reminiscent of Adam Rex and Richard Scarry with some of the signage and imagery around the burrow. A very cute and uplifting read.

Read-alikes
  • Sergio by Edel Rodriguez
  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Wilson
  • The Pink Refrigerator by Tim Egan
  • A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann

Saturday at the Food Pantry by Diane O’Neill; Illustrated by Brizida Magro

Reviewed by: Stephanie Tamayo

Molly and her mom don’t have a lot of food, and her mom has been having a hard time finding work. Thankfully their community has a food pantry where they can pick out some food to take home. At the food pantry, Molly runs into her classmate Caitlyn, who’s embarrassed about having to ask for help. Molly reminds Caitlyn that everyone needs help sometimes, and that’s okay! 

Saturday at the Food Pantry is a book that destigmatizes food insecurity and it reminds parents that there’s nothing wrong with seeking help for their families. The artwork depicts a diverse set of people in a collage-type medium. 

Read-alikes
  • Maddi’s Fridge Lois Brandt 
  • Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña 
  • Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts 
  • Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena

See all of our Tried & True and New reviews here on the blog.

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