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Book review: A special selection of picture books

It has been a great month in the children’s picture book area of Off the Beaten Path.

First, “What a Wonderful World,” beautifully illustrated by Tim Hopgood, based on the song by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss as sung by Louis Armstrong. What a fun and lovely way to introduce these timeless lyrics to the preschool crowd. This will become a favorite and will make a wonderful gift.

Next, “Dreams of Freedom, in Words and Pictures” is a collection put together by Amnesty International to celebrate champions of human rights and their individual words of freedom. Artists from around the world stunningly illustrate each page. Our bookstore favorite, Oliver Jeffers, designed the cover. A copy of this book should be in every school and home. It is a visual delight, and the text will inspire children of all ages.



Of note is the solo debut of illustrator Carson Ellis, called simply “Home.” The reader is taken through the many places people call home. This picture book would enthrall the youngest of readers from one year on up.

A darling new picture book, “Where Bear?,” by another debut author, Sophy Henn, tells the adorable story of a little boy and his bear cub. As happens, the bear cub grows and grows until he is just too big for the house. The story follows the two friends as they find Bear a new place to live. It is an engaging tale of friends staying together, even when they must part.



Bestselling author and prizewinner, Patrick McDonnell, has a new picture book called, “A Perfectly Messed-Up Story.” Children will love Louie, who is having grand day until he realizes that someone is messing up his book with jelly plops and fingerprints and a variety of other debris. McDonnell playfully teaches how books deserve care and respect, but sometimes life’s messes just get in the way.

Finally, I can’t resist calling attention to two more picture books that have been in the store for a few months.

Marla Frazee’s “The Farmer and the Clown” is a wordless tale of the two title characters accidentally thrown together, caring for each other, and finding their way back by helping each other. This is such a sweet book.

And, finally we go from a wordless picture book, to a picture-less picture book. What? One reading of “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak will incite gales of laughter from any child age 2 and older. This book is hilarious, and I have to warn you that it will become the most requested after just one reading. The reader gets to ham it up a bit with this one, and the merriment will delight anyone in the vicinity of the reading.

Stop by the Kid’s Book Nook to see these books, other new treasures and our usual collection of classics.

Susan Krall is the co-owner of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in downtown Steamboat Springs.

These books are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore; e-books can be found at http://www.steamboatbooks.com.


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