The Great Lollipop Caper
By Dan Krall
Published 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
This is a very strange choice for a picture book - the story of a caper (the edible kind) who longs to be loved by children as much as lollipops. I don't think many kids know what a caper is (I didn't find out until grad school), so the puns might go over their head. However, the story is a pretty simple one at its heart, so I don't think they'll miss it. It's a fun read and the illustrations suit the story nicely. I don't think I'll bust it out at storytime any time soon, but I liked it well enough.
Little Owl's Orange Scarf
By Tatyana Feeney
Published 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Little Owl does not love his new orange scarf - it's long and itchy. So, he tries everything he can think of to lose the scarf, but Mommy always manages to find it. One day, he goes to the zoo with his class and when he comes back he excitedly tells his mom all about the trip, finally realizing that the orange scarf has disappeared. Now, Mommy and Little Owl decide to make a new scarf together. I think the illustrations of this are cute, though I'm not sure I really like the story. Little Owl's attempts to lose his scarf seem a tiny bit malicious and I feel like we should be teaching kids to appreciate the gifts they are given or to handle an unwanted gift more tactfully. Not so crazy about this one.
If You Want to See a Whale
By Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Published 2013 by Roaring Book Press
I like the simplicity and quietness of this second story from Fogliano and Stead. The illustrations perfectly suit Fogliano's simple yet lyrical text and are just plain lovely to look at. There is more to discover in both the illustrations and the text for the careful reader. This is a great book about patience (much like their first collaboration, And Then It's Spring), something many of us need to work at more carefully. It's also a great book for fostering curiosity about the natural world (once again, much like their first book). This book would make a lovely addition to any child's bookshelf.