By Patrick McDonnell
Published 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I had seen this book quite some time ago and, though it seems a bit silly to say, I didn't have a moment to pick it up until recently. Which turned out to be a big shame. This book is beautiful in pretty much every way. The story is simple - a very nice telling of Jane Goodall's life. It's a shame to me that people like Jane live largely out of the spotlight nowadays because she is really the kind of person that children should be looking up to. McDonnell perfectly captures her spirit in this book and the illustrations are lovely. The book is laid out in two-page spreads: the words are on the left page and the accompanying illustrations on the right. This gives the reader more opportunity to linger over each spread. But the pages with the text also feature vintage stamp-like illustrations in the background. The way this book is designed is just beautiful. One of my recent favorites and a 2012 Caldecott Medal Honor book.
By Patricia Intriago
Published 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
This is a very simple concept book essentially teaching children opposites. Intriago uses some common sets of opposites but also includes a few unique pairs. Though this is really quite a simple book, it is visually impressive. This book would be excellent for spatial and print awareness. I don't have much else to say about it but I think it's wonderful in its simplicity.
Big Hugs, Little Hugs
By Felicia Bond
Published 2012 by Penguin Group, Inc.
This is a new book from the illustrator of Laura Numeroff's If You Give... series. I really like her illustration style. The animals she draws are the right amount of anthropomorphous and adorable. This is another simple concept book illustrating the vast variety of hugs. Obviously, this book is just in time for Valentine's Day and books of this ilk are pretty much guaranteed to be charming and cute. Regarding the illustrations again, Bond choose a nice variety of fabrics/materials/patterns as well as making some interesting choices of the animals she represented.