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We first discovered this series of I Love to Draw… books at the Asheville Art Museum, where they told us that author and illustrator Jennifer Lipsey is an Asheville native. (Apparently she has also been an instructor at the Art Museum summer camps in the past.) Conveniently these books are also published by Lark Books, which happens to have an Asheville base. I’m continuously in awe of the people & talent tucked away in our “little city” in the mountains.

IbcSSE26sdPA9tCg Currently we only have the dog title, though this one is on the list for Harper’s birthday.

What I particularly love about these books is that the art is not intimidating. Each book is fun and colorful and filled with facts and visual instructions, which make the skill of drawing approachable and achievable not only for kids but also those adults-who-cannot-draw as well (that would be me, by the way, in case you’re wondering!)

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In late January a new Caldecott Medal winner was selected: This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. We checked it out almost immediately and I finally got around to reading it. I do love Klassen’s illustration work, even if this particular title isn’t my favorite. Harper thought the ending was hilarious, though.

9780763655983_p0_v2_s260x420 My personal favorite written & illustrated by Klassen (maybe because it’s just a touch wittier) is this title from 2011: I Want my Hat Back. (Are you sensing a theme?) The text in this book varies by speaker, which also made it fun for us to partner read.

Check out more of Klassen’s great work here: burstofbeaden.com

This is such a cute book for preschoolers!

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Of course the photographs drew my attention right off the bat, and I really love the pairing of the photographs with the simple text that is ultimately about a mother and her child. The baby animals in this sweet book for preschoolers were photographed by Stan Tekiela, a naturalist, photographer and author who lives in Minnesota. The story is written by Marion Dane Bauer, who has written many recognizable titles including a Newbery Honor Book, and also happens to live in Minnesota.

This duo has also produced two other titles in this series which look just as darling:
Baby Bear Discovers the World
Some Babies are Wild


This series of science books is SO PRETTY! I first discovered A Rock is Lively at a recent book fair, and then realized while reading the author’s bio on the flap that this author/illustrator team of Dianna H. Aston and Sylvia Long had created a whole series of informative science/nature books. The illustrations are very detailed: in a bio on her website Long states that she spends a lot of time researching each item before she begins her artistic process, consisting of drawings, watercolors, and airbrushing. This meticulous research is obvious when one considers that the drawings convey just as much (or more) information than a photograph would.

Basically, Long and Aston make rocks look very, very good, and when I discovered they had other books I could hardly wait to see what they’d do with butterflies, seeds, and eggs, and I’m not the only one: Cole and Harper have absorbed a lot of information through this series of books, too. Although the age range is listed as 1st-3rd grade the visuals definitely appeal to a wide variety of ages. My only complaint is that the scripty font, though elegant, makes some portions of the books hard for children to read, especially when considering that cursive handwriting seems to be a lost art and not widely taught anymore.

Just in time for October here’s a favorite of ours written way back in 2001. The Littlest Pumpkin is the story of a pumpkin who is waiting to be chosen from Bartlett’s Farm Stand. He’s not the bumpiest, shiniest, or the biggest, but in the end he learns that he’s just perfect for a special Halloween party. It might be silly to consider an object such as a pumpkin as being emotional but I think the feelings conveyed in this story are ones that all children can relate to. Plus there are mice in costumes, which, as you know, is the only way I like them.


I love the illustrations in this book! I was immediately drawn in by the cover, of course, with its bright yellow color and the lion’s shadow. For Just One Day is a fun take on an imaginative desire to be a particular animal…for just one day. My favorites are the crocodile, and the whale, and the bear, all designed by French illustrator Marc Boutavant…okay, almost all of them, except for the snake! Personally I think I’d choose to be a very tall giraffe for just one day…or maybe a penguin? They have so much fun. At any rate this book will be fun for your preschooler and is obviously a great springboard for your own imaginative ideas.