Monday, February 6, 2023
Feb. 6, 2023

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Check it out: Animal picture books are perfect for cozy reading

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It’s time for another picture book roundup for little ones and the young at heart. Short days and long nights make for perfect reading time, so grab a cozy blanket, snuggle up with your loved ones and dream of sugarplums while sharing these delightful stories.

“Chicken Break! A Counting Book,” by Cate Berry and illustrated by Charlotte Alder.

In this make-you-cackle counting story a plucky brood of chickens decides to flee the coop.

It takes a lot of planning, but these cluckers are clever; so one by one each chicken plots and schemes, and before you know it the “Chickens make a CHICKEN BREAK!” It’s all fun and games until they get tired, so the pooped out peepers decide to go back home. Count along as the chickens return to the coop and take another type of chicken break — a well-deserved nap.

“Goodnight Bubbala: A Joyful Parody,” by Sheryl Haft and illustrated by Jill Weber.

This is an absolutely delightful adaptation of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic “Goodnight Moon.” It opens with these lines: “In the small blue room / There was a bubbala / And a little shmatta / And then, oy vey!, came — / The whole mishpacha!” The “bubbala” is a little bunny, and the “whole mishpacha” is his family coming to visit him in his blue bedroom. After the family eats dinner and sings some songs, the goodnight process begins: “Goodnight room / Goodnight shmatta / Goodnight mishpacha noshing on latkes.” Don’t worry if you and your little ones don’t understand all of the words. A helpful Yiddish/English glossary is included as well as a tasty recipe for latkes from chef, Ina Garten.

“How to Hide a Lion at Christmas,” written and illustrated by Helen Stephens.

A little girl named Iris wants to bring along her lion (a real one!) when the family takes a train ride to visit her Aunt Sarah, but there’s a problem: how do you hide a lion on a train? Iris is very sad when they have to leave him behind, but the lion has other plans. Find out how this unlikely friendship results in an unexpected reunion between Iris and her lovable lion.

“A Normal Pig,” written and illustrated by K-Fai Steele.

Pip is a pig who feels very normal. She likes making art, going to school and eating her special school lunch. But when a new pig arrives at her school and makes some unfriendly remarks about Pip’s lunch and other things, Pip begins to doubt herself. Maybe she isn’t normal after all. A helpful trip to the big city (a place full of unique pigs and diverse experiences) and love and encouragement from her family give Pip the confidence she needs to respond to the pig bully — and change his piggish point of view.

“Rory the Dinosaur Wants a Pet,” written and illustrated by Liz Climo.

If you aren’t familiar with Liz Climo’s work, I hope this sweet picture book will prompt you to check out more of her titles. Rory, a very not scary dinosaur, goes to the beach to meet up with his friends Hank, a sloth, and Vera, a hippo. It’s a big day because Hank brings along his pet, a hermit crab named Sheldon. Rory has so much fun with Sheldon that he wants a pet of his own. As it turns out, finding a pet isn’t all that easy — until the pet finds Rory. Meet Rory’s new pet, George (heads-up: he’s a bit unusual) in this adorable story.

“Sammy Claws: The Christmas Cat,” by Lucy Rowland and illustrated by Paula Bowles.

We all know the part that reindeer play during Santa’s Christmas Eve journey, but did you know that a cat can lend a paw, too? Sammy Claws is Santa’s cat, and his favorite thing to do is sleep “in a box … or a cupboard … or snuggled in shoes.” No surprise there. But this sleepy feline also dreams of riding along on Santa’s sleigh. Check out this amewsing tale to see if Sammy’s dream comes true and how a “furry and purr-y and fluffy and fat” kitty becomes Santa’s hero.