Category Archives: New Titles

2014 Back to School Picture Books

My Teacher Is a Monster!

My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)

A young boy named Bobby has the worst teacher. She’s loud, she yells, and if you throw paper airplanes, she won’t allow you to enjoy recess. She is a monster! Luckily, Bobby can go to his favorite spot in the park on weekends to play. Until one day… he finds his teacher there! Over the course of one day, Bobby learns that monsters are not always what they seem.

Each page is filled with “monstrous” details that will have kids reading the story again and again. Peter Brown takes a universal and timeless theme, and adds his own humorous spin to create another winner of a picture book.

Follow the link to My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) Activity Kit:

“Brown, imagining Ms. Kirby from a child’s perspective, handles her transformation smoothly, prompting readers to revisit earlier pages. Comic traces of monstrosity linger in Ms Kirby (she still goes green at classroom clowning) yet Brown makes it clear that teachers are people too-even the “mean” ones.”

~ Publishers Weekly, starred review

“This playful, eye-catching story goes a long way to humanize both teachers and students.”

~ Booklist

Chu's First Day of School

Chu’s First Day of School

A brand-new picture book adventure about the New York Times bestselling panda named Chu from Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman and acclaimed illustrator Adam Rex!

Chu, the adorable panda with a great big sneeze, is heading off for his first day of school, and he’s nervous. He hopes the other boys and girls will be nice. Will they like him? What will happen at school? And will Chu do what he does best?

Chu’s First Day of School is a perfect read-aloud story about the universal experience of starting school.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

Click on the link to view the book trailer:

“Gaiman and Rex expertly blend humor and tension to delicious narrative effect. ”

~ Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A charming title that is sure to leave kids wanting more–more Chu and more readings of this whimsical tale.”

~ School Library Journal

Dog Days of Summer

Dog Days of Summer

Charlie thinks his dog, Norman, has got it good: he gets to spend his days lounging on the couch or playing fetch, and he never has to do any homework. But when Charlie makes a wish to be a dog instead of a boy, things get a little topsy-turvy!

New York Times best-selling author Kelly DiPucchio’s signature humor and Brian Biggs’s bold, playful illustrations come together in a hilarious tale that proves that the grass always does look greener on the other side (even if that side involves drinking from the toilet!).

“…Biggs’ illustrations… are hysterical, as the two swap places but not bodies… The conclusion kids might draw? Going to school isn’t nearly as bad as being a dog,”

Kirkus Reviews

“Reach for this one when the realities and routine of school require a little comic perspective.”

~ Publishers Weekly 

Dinosaur vs School


Dinosaur is starting preschool today. ROAR! There are new friends to meet, dress-up outfits to wear, glitter and googly eyes to paste, musical instruments to play, and snacks to eat. What’s not to like? But then, oh, no! It’s Dinosaur vs. Clean-up Time! Fortunately, when friends work together, EVERYONE WINS!

With all the bright colors, bold lines, and toddler-like exuberance that have made the previous Dinosaur vs. books irresistible, DINOSAUR VS. SCHOOL will both amuse and reassure anyone going off to school for the first time.

“Shea’s illustrations are as unruly and imaginative as ever in this pitch-perfect, egocentric take on living (school) life to the max.”

~ Publishers Weekly, starred review

“…Shea’s concept of “winning” at school clearly has to do with self-confidence, determination and, sometimes, teamwork-a winning idea indeed.”

~ Kirkus Reviews

Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

Turn little pouts into big smiles!

Mr. Fish is nervously awaiting his first day of school, and he frets about not knowing how to write his name, how to draw shapes, and how to do math-until he’s reassured that school is the perfect place to learn how to master all of these new skills, in this new Pout-Pout Fish book from Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna.

“Diesen tackles a worry not often found in back-to-school books; young Mr. Fish will ease children’s fears about what will be expected of them.”

~ Kirkus Reviews


“Fans of this series will appreciate Diesen’s rhythmic – and ultimately reassuring – text, and Hanna’s sunny illustrations contain many clever details.”

~ Booklist

Follow this link to download The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School Activity Kit:

New Title: Becoming Babe Ruth

  Becoming Babe Ruth

Becoming Babe Ruth
by Matt Tavares
$16.99 Hardcover
Published by Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages 5 – 8

Before he is known as the Babe, George Herman Ruth is just a boy who lives in Baltimore and gets into a lot of trouble. But when he turns seven, his father brings him to the gates of Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, and his life is changed forever. At Saint Mary’s, he’s expected to study hard and follow a lot of rules. But there is one good thing about Saint Mary’s: almost every day, George gets to play baseball. Here, under the watchful eye of Brother Matthias, George evolves as a player and as a man, and when he sets off into the wild world of big-league baseball, the school, the boys, and Brother Matthias are never far from his heart.

With vivid illustrations and clear affection for his subject, Matt Tavares sheds light on an icon who learned early that life is what you make of it –and sends home a message about honoring the place from which you came.

Praise for Becoming Babe Ruth:

On the cover portrait of this picture-book biography, George Herman Ruth’s eyes twinkle so realistically, one expects the famous wink. Inside, this  exceptionally engaging chronicle recounts Ruth’s amazing rags-to-riches story…. Well-researched, realistic illustrations… Equally important, the art captures Ruth’s irrepressible personality and joy in playing baseball.
~ Booklist, Starred Review
An homage to the Bambino introduces a new audience to this great legend of baseball…Tavares allows young readers to view Ruth with just the right amount of hero worship and awe.
~ Kirkus

For Educators:

This story demonstrates strong character perseverance as well as fulfilling several Reading Standards for Informational Text.  Domain specific language abounds, there is an author’s note & bibliography for further research, and there are graphs of baseball stats for use in math curriculums.  Specific Common Core Standards (of Reading Informational Text) addressed are #4, 5 & 7 for grades 3-5.