Cybils Fiction Picture Books – Batch 1

When I announced that I had been selected to be a panelist for Cybils 2016: Fiction Picture Book Awards, I promised you that I be sharing books with you. To date 115 books have been nominated for this category, and my county library system had almost all of them. I am slowing wading through the HUGE stack of books in my bedroom – I had to get a basket from the library to carry them home (in addition to the large canvas bag that I’d brought with me).

I will be “reviewing” them in batches of 12, so you can see what’s been nominated and what my thoughts are on these books. Some books that I have already discussed have been nominated, so I won’t be re-mentioning those books, but I have 6 posts planned between now and December, so we’ll see if I can highlight all of the nominated books.

Without further ado…in no particular order…here are some of the Cybils nominees.

Before I Leave by Jessixa Bagley (ages 2-6)

This book is a sweet story about a young hedgehog who is moving away. He doesn’t want to leave his home or his best friend. They play together one last time like nothing is changing. This book would be great for kids in this situation. The ending is perfect. (P.S. The anteater snuck pictures and notes into his friend’s suitcase.)

4 Stars

My Dog’s a Chicken by Susan McElroy Montanari (ages 4-8)

Lula Mae wants a dog, but her mother thinks a dog is just another mouth to feed. She looks around the yard at all of the family’s chickens and decides that maybe a chicken can be a dog. She selects the chicken who struts around like she owns the place, and Lula Mae makes her a dog. It’s pretty cute. Even Mama comes around at the end.

4 Stars

Bloom by Doreen Cronin (ages 6-10)

Bloom is a fairy who’s covered in mud. She maintained the kingdom until everyone wanted everything shiny and got sick of her muddy footprints. She left the kingdom to live on her own in the woods. Now the shiny kingdom is crumbling, and the king and queen coming looking for her. They don’t believe that her magic is mud, so they send an ordinary girl thinking maybe Bloom is afraid to share her magic with royalty. Bloom teaches her magic to the girl and proves that there is no such thing as an ordinary girl. This book is wordy, but it’s worth it if you can push through.

4 Stars

Giraffe Meets Bird by Rebecca Bender (ages 3-6)

Giraffe and Bird are unluckily friends. In an almost sibling-like way, they love and annoy each other. There is a lot of discussion about emotions in this book. The illustrations are really sweet, and there’s a page that requires rotating the book. When danger comes along, Giraffe and Bird are in it together. They help each other out and decide to move on to someplace safer. Together.

4 Stars

The Water Princess by Susan Verde (ages 5-8)

Gie Gie pictures herself Princess of the African sky and the dusty earth. She can command dogs, grasses, and even the wind, but she cannot make the water come to her. Instead she and her mother journey very far every day just to bring water back for their family. This book was inspired by the life of model Georgie Badiel, and it was written to raise awareness for the number of people in the world without access to clean water. There is a great nonfiction spread in the back for parents (and children) to learn more.

4 Stars

Trainbots by Miranda Paul (ages 2-5)

This book is cute, and the train and robot aspects definitely appeal to young kids. My son wanted to read this book right away based on the cover, but this book is rhyming and does more telling about the pictures than telling an actual story. Maybe I’m just beyond that since my son is older, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much.

3 Stars

The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir & Surishtha Sehgal (ages 2-4)

This book is an Indian version of “The Wheels on the Bus.” It includes some of the original items – wheels, wipers, people. But it also has other cultural items as well – Diwali fireworks, Chai tea, rupees, elephants, cows. It’s cute, and it would be great for exposing young children to other cultures.

3 Stars

Extremely Cute Animals Operating Heavy Machinery by David Gordon (ages 3-6)

This book is kind of weird. Yes, there are cute animals operating machinery, and they use it to build an awesome amusement park. But there’s also a story about bullying. Three mean kids keep knocking over the cute animals sandcastle, and that leads to the escalating better sandcastle building and ultimate destruction of the playground and replacement with the amusement park. It just didn’t resonate with me.

3 Stars

Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer (ages 4-8)

This book is beautiful – both the pictures and the words. Daniel sees a sign for “Poetry at the Park” on Sunday, but he doesn’t know what poetry is. He asks all of the animals at the park, and they all say something different – morning dew, cool water, etc. At the end of the story, Daniel goes to the poetry reading a shares a poem he’s written of all of the animals answers. I loved it.

5 Stars

Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars by Maria Gianferrari
(ages 3-6)

Penny and her dog, Jelly, enjoy looking at the stars together, so when Penny receives an invitation to sleep out under the stars, she is super excited. Except, when she reads the invitation more carefully, she realizes she cannot bring Jelly. She tries to make a replacement Jelly – out of paper, out of yarn, out of fleece, etc., but none of them is right. Finally, she has the perfect idea – her own sleepover under the stars with all of her friends and their pets. It’s a sweet friendship story.

4 Stars

Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty (ages 6-10)

Ada is a very curiuos girl. She asks loads of questions using why, what, and who, and she’s trying to solve the question of a mysterious smell. Her parents get annoyed with her, but she doesn’t give up. She’s a determined young scientist. I really enjoy this whole series, and this book is no exception. It does a great job of explaining the scientific method along with a very amusing, rhyming story.

4 Stars

Pirate’s Perfect Pet by Beth Ferry (ages 3-6)

Captain Crave is the perfect pirate captain – or so he thinks until he receives a message in a bottle from his mother. It contains a checklist for pirate captains, and Crave is missing the perfect pirate pet. He goes on a quest over land and sea to find the right pet. Can you guess what it is? This book is cute. I think kids will enjoy it, but it wasn’t quite on the level with some of the other nominees.

3 Stars

Have you read any of these books? Did you nominate one of them?

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