Frenetic, joyful comic about a kid, his friend, the alien that just shows up one day looking like a kid their age, and the BADGUYS they have to fight. The only way I could've liked this more was to magically become 7 long enough to read it.
Sunny Side Up, by Jennifer and Matthew Holm
YA novel about family stuff (eg divorce). I liked it - charm and humor and an interesting protagonist - but found it too earnest / pointed. Found out it is heavily autobiographical (the authors are siblings) so maybe that was the issue. Will try at least one more by either of them before drawing a firm conclusion.
Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey, by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
A wonderful wonderful picture book biography of an amazing, creative, gifted eccentric who built an entire bottle village. I read it three times in a row. I wish it was back in print or at lest not SO darn expensive. I'd already heard about Grandma Prisbey because we have bottle houses where I grew up (on the opposite coast from her), but I really enjoyed learning more about her and her work, and the illustrations were absolutely exquisite. Julie Paschkis is a gem.
Sad, the Dog, by Sandy Fussell, illustrated by Tul Suwannakit
A perfect book. Predictable story that is so marvelously done, in terms of art, words, and seeing things from the dog's perspective, that it didn't matter at all that it was predictable. (Predictable can actually be very good for picture books, cf the very-different-in-tone Monster at the End of This Book.) I enjoyed it so much that just thinking about it makes me want to read it again!
The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt
An improvement over the first one (which was just fine). Funny, endearing, and more complexity. Nice to read a picture book sequel that I like better than the original - it's so often the other way around.
The Turnip, by Jan Brett
Solid retelling of an old fairy tale that is elevated to delightfulness by the gorgeous art (and buttressed by a sense of humor in both art and text). I especially appreciate how intricate her paintings are.
The Snail and The Whale, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The third-best thing about this book are the wonderful, lively, warm pictures. The second-best thing about this book is how it manages to be playful and fantastic without straying so far from how biology actually works as to be nonsensical (unlike SO MANY other picture books that don't know they're messing the biology up). The first-best thing about this book is the effect of the rhyme and rhythm of the words, which work together as a read-aloud to make it darn near hypnotic in an entraining rather than a soothing way. SO FUN TO READ.
The Little Mouse Santi, by David Eugene Ray
Slightly plotted picture book which is vastly enhanced by the ability of the author/illustrator to make each moment work perfectly as a moment, with liveliness and depth.
Little Tree, by Loren Long
THIS FABLE MAKES NO SENSE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. It's not that it should be biologically accurate, but I want such things to be in HARMONY with biology, not chaotic-izing it. Which I found frustrating. The pictures are beeeooootiful, though, and fraught with meaning. Would have rather it was a wordless book so I could make up a story that resonated better.
The Tale of Rescue, by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows
Straightforward story of a cattle dog rescuing a family from a snowstorm. Told in a distanced enough way that the sentimental plot bits made me cry. (If the text is mawkish I can resist it - if it's flat-affect-pragmatic I will tear up every time...) Lovely illustrations. Reminded me of Jim Kjelgaard's books, or at least what I remember of them from the 3-4 years I was obsessed with them as a kid. (note to self: reread a Jim Kjelgaard book. Also my Marguerite Henrys!)