By Sandra Boynton. Illustrated by George Booth
The iconic cartoonist Booth sketched a nervous, lovable-looking dog as a gift to Boynton. She turned it into one of her famously funny, perfectly calibrated board books, spinning a droll story about a pup who wonâ€™t get up â€” or so his owners think.
32 pp. Simon & Schuster. $7.99. Ages 0 to 5.
By Barbara Kanninen. Illustrated by Serge Bloch.
In this delightful sneak-lesson in geometry, physics, and helping your friends when theyâ€™re in a jam, some colorful shapes have a bang-up time when Circle starts rolling. In Blochâ€™s minimalist, loose-limbed pen-and-ink art, tiny people try valiantly to pitch in, too.
32 pp. Phaidon. $16.95. Ages 3 to 5.
Written and illustrated by Rowboat Watkins.
Watkins (â€śRude Cakesâ€ť) conjures another homey yet mind-bending story in this bedtime tale about an enormous rabbit, regular-sized carrots, some trucker penguins and bus-driving giraffes. The infectious fun continues to the ending, which will be â€” trust me â€” a giant, hilarious surprise to both parents and kids.
32 pp. Chronicle. $16.99. Ages 3 to 7.
A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS
By Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Lane Smith.
Two kids walking in the woods find an abandoned house. Who lived there? What happened? Accompanied by Laneâ€™s evocative art that suggests layers of history, Foglianoâ€™s story turns this childhood scenario into a radiant poem about the mysteries of other people and the wonderfulness of home.
42 pp. Roaring Brook. $18.99. Ages 3 to 7.
FOREVER OR A DAY
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jacoby.
In Jacobyâ€™s elegant debut, time is both a riddle and a poem: â€śPerhaps it is a ghost/ it can come and go/ and you never even notice it was there,â€ť she writes. Her soft illustrations, in lovely sunrise, sunset and moonlight colors, capture both wide-open spaces and the enduring bonds of family love.
40 pp. Chronicle. $17.99. Ages 3 to 7.
Written and illustrated by Alison Oliver.
Oliverâ€™s picture book debut channels â€śWhere the Wild Things Areâ€ť for the hovered-over modern child. Moon, a little girl with a big to-do list, wonders, â€śWhat would it feel like to be free?â€ť A wolf arrives to whisk her away to a magical forest where she plays, listens, howls â€” and becomes an independent kid, keeping her â€śwolfy ways,â€ť including (gasp) standing on a swing.
40 pp. Clarion. $17.99. Ages 4 to 7.
JEROME BY HEART
By Thomas Scotto. Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Itâ€™s rare to find a book about friendship between boys this heartfelt. His parents scoff at the intensity of it all, but Raphael wants to spend every minute with Jerome â€” his school-trip buddy, his defender against mean kids, the friend who always makes him laugh. Both the words and the sweet illustrations capture the spirit behind childhood bonds.
32 pp. Enchanted Lion. $16.95. Ages 4 to 8.
RED SKY AT NIGHT
Written and illustrated by Elly MacKay
Each page of this beautifully designed book has an old-fashioned saying about the weather (â€śWhen ladybugs swarm, expect a day thatâ€™s warmâ€ť). With MacKayâ€™s dreamy cut-paper collage art featuring two siblings exploring outdoors, the old-fashioned approach to weather is oddly reassuring.
40 pp. Tundra. $17.99. Ages 4 to 8.
RESCUE & JESSICA: A LIFE-CHANGING FRIENDSHIP
By Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes. Illustrated by Scott Magoon.
Kensky, who lost both legs after the Boston Marathon bombing, despaired until Rescue, a service dog, arrived to help her navigate life with prosthetics. This sensitively told versionâ€” written with her husband, who also lost a leg in the bombing â€” highlights her relationship with the gallant Rescue.
32 pp. Candlewick. $16.99. Ages 5 to 9.
THE DRAGON SLAYER: FOLKTALES FROM LATIN AMERICA
Written and illustrated by Jaime Hernandez
Hernandez, one of the brothers behind the Love and Rockets comic strip, adapts and updates three Latin American folk tales into a graphic-novel format. The buoyant results will delight all ages. A kitchen maid slays a dragon and marries a prince; a vain woman marries a mouse, with bad results; a boy cast out as lazy proves the logic of his approach. Thereâ€™s also fascinating historical material on the origins of each tale.
48 pp. TOON Books. $16.95. Ages 6 to 12.