No matter how old you are, there’s nothing quite like a skillfully narrated, beautifully illustrated children’s book. I’m sure my fellow grown-ups will remember the magic of books like Green Eggs and Ham and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs — and want to share that same magic with their own kids (or students or neighbors or nieces and nephews).
But where to turn when the classics run out? Luckily, there are scores of amazing children’s books being released all the time… and fall is a particularly big time for children’s publishing, what with back-to-school reading lists and the anticipation of holiday presents. So to help you choose the cream of the crop, here’s my take on 10 of the most exciting children’s books coming out in fall 2019! Get ready to see these trendy titles on elementary school book lists, library shelves, and of course, at the all-important annual School Book Fair.
Based on an unfinished manuscript from Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) himself, Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum features a number of real-life horse paintings to introduce kids to the artistic greats. From Picasso to Jackson Pollock, the Horse Museum — curated by an actual anthropomorphic horse with a bow tie — certainly boasts an impressive collection, and makes an interesting statement about how many people can look at the same subject and create completely different (but all equally valid!) works of art. Lifelong Dr. Seuss fans will no doubt relish the familiarly lyrical prose, and appreciate illustrator Andrew Joyner’s convincingly Seussian style.
Just about every kid loves Disney, but do they know the story of the man who started it all? This 18th book in Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series follows Walt Disney from his humble origins as a cartoonist to becoming a pioneer of animation — and ultimately creating one of the most famous companies of all time in his own name. Accompanying the lively narration and illustrations are a timeline and real photographs from Disney’s life, for the enjoyment of kids and adults alike.
For those who haven’t encountered her before, Dory Fantasmagory is the perfect pick for lovers of Junie B. Jones, Ramona Quimby, and other spirited little girls who are always stumbling into mischief. Tiny Tough follows the eponymous Dory, a six-year-old with a wild imagination, as she attempts to help her older sister Violet deal with trouble at school. Of course, to Dory, it’s not just any trouble, but pirate trouble — and Violet’s lost bracelet seems to be their coveted treasure! Dory has no choice but to “set sail” and battle the pirates who have wronged her sister, recruiting friends both real and imaginary along the way.
The latest installment in the globetrotting adventures of Nuptse and Lhotse — a pair of definitively “outdoor” cats — tracks them to the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada. Our heroes are determined to find the Arctic “treasure of the north,” but end up discovering so much more: namely, the rich culture and history of the land. Nuptse and Lhotse pan for gold in the Yukon River, hitch a ride with a caribou, and even accompany an Inuit hunter on a sailing trip! The land of the midnight sun ultimately proves itself more than magical to these feline friends… as it will to young readers, too.
It’s no “happy little accident” that one of our most anticipated books of the season features everyone’s favorite landscape painter and his pal, Peapod the Squirrel! In this adorable tale, Peapod is looking for the perfect place to call home and has enlisted his human friend to help him out. Luckily, Bob is more than up to the task, and paints the stunning scene of “Meadow Lake” (an actual Bob Ross painting) to inspire Peapod’s search. From the sublime art to the talking squirrel, this children’s book is sure to both tickle your funny bone and touch your heart.
We all have an inventor inside of us. Crazy Contraptions speaks to that inventor by showcasing some of the weirdest and most hilarious Rube Goldberg inventions… while also demonstrating to readers how to build them themselves! These contraptions may not be practical, but they sure are fun — and in the process of constructing them, kids will learn the essentials of physics such as force, work, and motion. (Not to mention that if you’ve got a science fair coming up, this book might just give you a winning project idea.)
Stomp embraces physical activity, with a series of get-up-and-move instructions that kids (and other exercise-inclined readers) will have tons of fun following! If you’ve ever wanted the Macarena or the Cha Cha Slide in written form, you’ll love all the hopping, skipping, jumping, and dancing that comes along with this book. But parents, beware of reading before bed — this is definitely not a quiet-time tale.
Props for that pun, Mr. Chapman, and also for this fantastically innovative premise: a duo of dinosaurs get transported forward in time, from their own Cretaceous Period to what we know as ancient Egypt. Naturally, King Tut believes them to be gods and declares them worthy of worship and unlimited luxuries. But when the truth comes out thanks to a group of meddling aliens (long story), the dinosaurs are in boiling hot water (or should we say sand)? Now they’ll really put their powers of persuasion to the test… or maybe just escape in their time machine. Needless to say, this book utterly unpredictable — and downright delightful for that very reason.
If you know a kid who loves making houses out of cardboard boxes, this book could launch them into a promising future career! How to Think Like Frank Lloyd Wright focuses on the lessons the famous architect learned from nature, and how he incorporated its shapes and structures into his work. Readers will particularly enjoy sketching out projects suggested by the book, including, but not limited to, stain-glass window designs and habitat-friendly house plans.
We’ll end with a bang on Instructions Not Included, the incredible tale of three women who programmed the first general-purpose electronic digital computer. These women were Betty Snyder, Jean Jennings, and Kay McNulty, all hired during WWII to work on a machine called ENIAC — which was highly classified and only “accessible” to them through blueprints and diagrams. But nevertheless, our heroines persisted, and their work on the revolutionary ENIAC became fundamental to all computers that succeeded it… including those we use today.