It is hard to think about spring, with the snows of winter still upon us. However, the Holiday House Spring Preview had us looking ahead to bunnies, ducklings, and sunshine. Marion Dane Bauer’s Crinkle, Crackle Crack: It’s Spring (April), illustrated by John Shelley, is a picture book written in unmetered rhyme about a boy and bear discovering the first signs of spring, such as baby birds and budding flowers. In keeping with the spring theme, Holiday House will release the Austrian book Hoppelpopp and the Best Bunny, written by Mira Lobe and illustrated by Angelika Kaufman, a story reminiscent of Beatrix Potter’s, about five bunnies who are all good friends—until a seemingly innocent question ignites an intense rivalry. And check out Ah! (May), a French import by Géraldine Collet and Estelle Billon Spagnol, about a rabbit of few words.
Rabbits are joined by a bevy of other beasts. There’s Harry Oulton’s A Pig Called Heather (March), a middle-grade British import that may remind some of a pig called Wilbur, about a pig who faces the loss of her beloved farm. Husband and wife team Herm and Mary Jane Auch have penned a sequel to The Plot Chickens (Holiday House, 2009), The Buk Buk Buk Festival (May), in which Henrietta, the book-writing chicken, attends a book festival. Brimming with puns and featuring a children’s librarian to boot, this one’s sure to please animal lovers and bibliophiles alike.
A variety of other books keep it in the family. In husband and wife team Andrew Schuerger and Loreen Leedy’s nonfiction picture book, Amazing Plant Powers: How Plants Fly, Fight, Hide, Hunt, & Change the World (January), plants not only become fascinating; they seem downright superheroic. Schuerger and Leddy discuss some truly strange plant adaptations, such as the ability to survive in both extremely hot and cold habitats. Amy and David Axelrod are a mother-son team who have written The Bullet Catch: Murder by Misadventure (May), a middle-grade coming-of-age story about a teenage orphan who picks pockets before apprenticing himself to a once famous magician ready to make a comeback. Illustrator Lizzy Rockwell, who has previously collaborated with her mother, author Anne Rockwell, now goes solo with her nonfiction picture book A Bird Is a Bird (May), a charming avian exploration aimed at younger readers.
Cartoonists with connections to The New Yorker are also well represented on the spring list. In her picture book to be released in February, cartoonist Liza Donnelly asks the eternal question: What will we find at The End of the Rainbow? John O’Brien’s illustrations enhance the many facts about our 16th president in Alan Schroeder’s Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A–Z (February).
The ever popular Emily Arnold McCully has a new Holiday House I Like to Read Picture Book for emergent readers called 3,2,1, Go! (May), a charming tale of a girl who taps into her knowledge of science to get around the rules when her older sister tells her to stay away from her playdate. Betsy Lewin also has an addition to the I Like to Read list with Good Night, Knight (May), the tale of a knight’s quest for a dish of delectable cookies. One of Lewin’s students, Kate Parkinson, is making her debut on the spring list with Grace (May) a picture book about an ungainly ballerina.
Twins and triplets populated the preview with Teri Weidner’s Always Twins (May) about ducklings Olivia and Lily, who, despite being twins, couldn’t be more different. A similar situation troubles triplets Violet, Daisy, and Lily in Michelle Poploff’s Where Triplets Go, Trouble Follows (May), illustrated by Victoria Jamieson.
The term market economy takes on a new twist with several upcoming titles. Roxie Munro’s Market Maze (May) helps kids understand how food gets to their table, while David Adler’s Prices! Prices! Prices!: Why They Go Up and Down (May), a surefire pick for financial literacy booklists, gives children an understanding of phrases such as fixed costs and variable costs. Those looking to bolster their food and nutrition collections will welcome Gail Gibbons’ The Fruits We Eat (May), a follow-up to her comprehensive The Vegetables We Eat (Holiday House, 2008).
February is Black History Month, and Holiday House has two picture books based on true stories that offer an age-appropriate look at overcoming racism and prejudice. Karen Deans’s Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, (February), illustrated by Joe Cepeda, is an account of a group of young orphan girls who fought the barriers of racism and sexism to make it big with their all-girl swing band. Susan Lynn Meyer’s New Shoes (Feburary), illustrated by Eric Velasquez, makes the difficult concept of bigotry accessible to young audiences through the story of Ella Mae, a young African American girl living in the 1950s South who learns that black children weren’t permitted to try on shoes before purchasing them.