Hattie the Bad
by Jane Devlin, pictures by Joe Berger
Dial Books, 2010
$16.99, ages 3-5, 32 pages
Hattie, an assertive little girl with freckles on her nose and pigtails that stick out sideways, thinks it's more fun pulling pranks than being good.
But when parents refuse to let their children play with her, Hattie decides the only way to get her friends back is to be the best child ever.
The only problem is that Hattie is now so good, all of her friends think she's one-upping them.
How will she ever get kids to play with her again?
This delightful book celebrates the harmless fun of a little mischief, and the importance of being true to yourself.
The Pirate Cruncher!,
written and illustrated by Jonny Duddle
Templar Books, 2010
$15.99, ages 4-8, 38 pages
A dastardly pirate leads his ragtag crew in search of an island of treasure, only to discover that he's made a beastly mistake in this rollicking good story by a talented debut author-illustrator.
Captain Purplebeard is so smitten with the prospect of treasure that he ignores an old fiddler's warning that the island can perform a vanishing act and no one who has stepped ashore has ever returned.
Duddle's illustrations, so packed with detail, humor and action, will keep eyes lingering on the page long after the words are read.
written and illustrated by D. B. Johnson
Houghton Mifflin, 2010
$17, age 4-8, 32 pages
In this masterpiece inspired by the Dutch artist M.C. Escher, a mischievous apprentice confuses workers into building a palace upside down.
Mauk, the apprentice, loves to draw but his master, the architect, only lets him sharpen pencils, until one day Mauk gets a wild hare to turn the architectural plans around, causing builders to raise the palace in reverse.
The mistake is fortuitous, allowing Mauk to flee from adults by running on the ceiling, as readers turn the book around and read in reverse to try to find a way out.
But will the adults ever see the beauty of a palace turned on its head?
How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps
by Jennifer LaRue Huget, illustrated by Edward Koren
Schwartz & Wade, 2010
$16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages.
A precocious girl undoes everything that's neat and tidy in her room, then shoves things into hiding places and pawns off stuff to her sister in this hysterical how-to for cleaning a room from a child's point of view.
Perfectly suited to Koren's squiggly style, the story will have readers in stitches over what she gets away with and laughing at her excuses for making more of a mess.
If you love the illustrations and humor, you'll also delight in the hysterical Thelonius Monster's Sky-High Fly-Pie, illustrated by Koren and written by Judy Sierra.
I'm the Best
written and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
Candlewick Press, 2010
$14.99, ages 3-5, 32 pages.
A goofy lovable dog in rainbow checkered shorts declares he's the best at everything in this exuberant tale about the dangers of boasting and the importance of being humble.
Dog tries to outdo his friends Ladybug, Mole, Goose and Donkey, only to have his friends show him that it's no fun to feel small.
Never meaning to be mean, Dog realizes he's been a show-off and apologizes to his friends, who save the day, telling Dog he is the best at being their best friend.
Cousin's paintings are so happy and energetic, you find yourself glued to the page, lost in her hypnotic splatters of color.