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.
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.
In El Deafo, author Cece Bell loses her hearing at age four. Despite this sudden tragedy, Bell's graphic novel memoir is an inspiring and even entertaining look at her childhood. Most importantly, it clearly explains navigating life in ways that would not occur to hearing people.
Writer and artist Box Brown tracked down interviews with professional wrestlers to craft a graphic novel that celebrates the legend of Andre the Giant while also acknowledging the foibles of this fascinating figure.
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.
Sandy Blair was not having his best day, or decade for that matter, when he got word that Jamie Lynch had his heart cut out. In The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin, the child of the Sixties has been orphaned by the "Me" Decade. Now, it's 1983, and all of Blair's political ideals have earned him a middling career as a novelist and a lot of writer's block.
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.
To Dare Mighty Things, by Doreen Rappaport, brings Theodore Roosevelt to rough-riding, "Bully!"-shouting life, showing what made America's 26th president such a captivating figure.