Our Top Five Picture Books of January 2018

Here are five of our favorite books for the month of January! There’s a very wide range to explore here — everything from pasta to emotions to the alphabet to wild apes! We hope you’ll enjoy these five gems as much as we did.

The Great Pasta Escape

by Miranda Paul; illustrated by Javier Joaquin

This book will give you a whole new appreciation for pasta! I love the way each type of pasta, from macaroni to bow-tie, has been given a unique personality which is brought to life perfectly in the art. When the various types of pasta at the pasta factory discover that they’re being made to be eaten, they must work together to form an escape plan. The writer in me can’t help but love the way that writing figures prominently into the resolution of their problem. Readers of all ages will enjoy the funny pasta puns. My son’s favorite? . . . “Afraid-O-Sauce.”

Grumpy Pants

by Claire Messer

I love the way this book deals with emotions. We don’t always have an explanation for why we feel the way we do, and that’s the case with Penguin. He doesn’t know why he’s grumpy, but he can’t seem to change his attitude – even when he takes off his grumpy pants! This gentle book gives young readers ideas for how to handle their emotions and shows them that feelings do change and grumpiness can be washed away – although at times it takes a little time and many different techniques.

The Happiest Book Ever

by Bob Shea

I’ll admit – I love Bob Shea’s work. I’m sure more of his books will appear on these lists in the future, but having said that, who wouldn’t want to read The Happiest Book Ever? This book is full of goofy doodles sure to make you smile. But then there’s the frog – the unsmiling frog who seems out of place in this perfectly happy book. The book’s chipper narrator instructs readers to do many things to make the frog smile, but when frog doesn’t comply, he has a meltdown. The seemingly silly book has some great takeaways such as the idea that happiness looks different on everyone and trying to force others to fit into our program doesn’t make anyone happy.

Oops Pounce Quick Run! An Alphabet Caper

by Mike Twohy

This alphabet book takes readers on a wild romp as a misunderstanding over a ball sends an innocent mouse running from a dog. This is the only alphabet book that my 3.5 year old son has asked to have read repeatedly, and I believe it’s because it actually tells a story. After only one or two times of reading it to him, he was able to read it to me with minimal assistance. Great for letter and word recognition!

Apes A-Go-Go

by Roman Milisic; Illustrated by A. Richard Allen

In Apes A-Go-Go, a lovely little town is set to win the title of “Tidiest Town” for the third year in a row. Only one thing stands in their way – one flower has grown taller than the rest! Enter Fussy Great Ape who agrees to fix it but instead creates a bigger problem. Luckily, he’s got more ape friends to call on, but of course, they only make the situation worse, turning the town upside-down!

This book has great read-aloud potential. The fun refrain, “Bogo! Pogo! Apes-A-Go-Go!”, begs to be shouted as you pound on your chest! I love the way this story turns the idea of perfection on its head – showing us the richness that comes from letting go of what we think we want and embracing the unexpected surprises that life gives to us.

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