Once Upon an Alphabet is as ambitious as picture books come. Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers presents 26 short tales, each based on a different letter of the alphabet. An astronaut who is afraid of heights, a daredevil girl who laughs in the face of death, and a lightning-struck lumberjack are just a few of characters we meet.
Louie is a picture-book character who notices the little details. A Perfectly Messed-Up Story begins to tell Louie's tale, but the book does not get very far before our hero discovers a startling fact that derails the entire story. There's a big, nasty jelly stain on the page!
The Terrible Two is a devious satire of middle school life where no one is spared. Miles Murphy was the prankster king at his old school, then he had to move to boring, old Yawnee Valley, famous for its abundant cow population. Miles is not happy. He will have to establish his pranking cred all over again.
Battle Bunny is an exercise in sheer picture book anarchy. Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett have struck gold by inventing a sweet story called Birthday Bunny, reminiscent of the Little Golden Book series, then drastically adapting it for their own twisted purposes. We learn from a note on the title page that the book Birthday Bunny was a gift for a boy named Alexander, who has made some severe editorial changes with a lead pencil...starting with the cover.
The Watermelon Seed tackles a common childhood fear with humor and artistry. A young crocodile gushes about his love of watermelon, delightfully chomping and slurping away at a slice in hand. He's the happiest reptile ever, until he takes that final bite.
Princesses do not run. They also don’t hide their frilly, pink dresses in a broom closet, slide down secret chutes, or jump over castle walls. And princesses definitely do not wear black. But Princess Magnolia is no ordinary princess… she’s a monster-fighting superhero in disguise, The Princess in Black!
Birds of a feather may flock together in Telephone, by Mac Barnett, but that does not mean they understand each other. Taking place on an actual telephone wire, the story begins with Peter the pigeon's mother asking a friend to tell him to fly home for dinner. Anyone who has played a game of telephone before will know what happens next.
A Hug Machine is on the loose, and everyone is fair game. Scott Campbell's picture book follows an unstoppable force in the form of an eager-to-squeeze kid who claims to be the best at hugging.
He starts with the members of his family but extends the generosity to police officers, gardeners, and even inanimate objects. "No one escapes the hug machine."
How could a cephalopod and a buckaroo be best friends? Cowboy & Octopus follows the unlikely pair through several adventures involving seesaws, knock-knock jokes, and a whole mess o' baked beans.
The top of the food chain has some serious self-esteem issues in Aaron Reynold's Carnivores. Lion, Great White Shark, and Timber Wolf are majestic and fearsome predators. This meat-eating crew might look tough, but deep down they are dealing with some major insecurities.