Picture books for fall, gifts for young readers

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3 2013 3:50 p.m. MST

"Fall Walk" is about Virginia Brimhall Snow.

Gibbs Smith

Picture books for fall include a variety of styles from Utah illustrators and national award-winning artists. Fractured tales, new stories (maybe to become classical tales), and themes such as bedtime stories and animals big and small are some of the favorites. Following is a selection of new books to enjoy now and for gift-giving during the upcoming holidays.

FALL WALK,” by Virginia Brimhall Snow, Gibbs Smith Publishers, $16.99 (all ages)

Children and their “grammy” twirl, scatter and explore 24 kinds of leaves as they take a fall walk. Utah author/illustrator Virginia Brimhall Snow includes simple couplets accompanied with black-and-white sketches of the trees with real-sized colored examples of the leaves from each tree. Ideas for leaf pressing and rubbing add interest. This is a special reference book for a home library.

THE SNATCHABOOK,” by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, Source Books, $16.99 (ages 3 and up)

This husband-and-wife team has collaborated on a picture book that begins with a dilemma: books “disappeared from left and right,” with no bedtime stories remaining to be read. Something had been book-snatching.

The “Snatchabook” has scrumptious cartoon images that help tell the plot as a thief decides to finally change his ways. This is a book that demands to be read aloud.

GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT,” by Mem Fox, illustrations by Judy Horacek, Scholastic, $16.99 (ages 3-5)

When Bonnie and Ben’s baby sitter tells them a bedtime rhyme, they beg for another and another, to avoid lights out similar to Scheherazade’s endless stories. Judy Horacek’s images reveal the children in all kinds of settings including visiting a bakery shop for “pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man.”

“WHERE IS BABY?” by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrations by John Butler, Peachtree, $16.95 (ages 2-6)

Babies love to hide in unusual places. “Baby bears vanish in the snow. Baby wolves dash into their dens.”

In a fold-out page, a mother finds her child wrapped in a blanket. Babies never need to worry, mamas know just where to find them.

Butler’s luminous acrylic and colored pencil illustrations add to the beauty, making “Where Is Baby?” a welcome gift for the newborn and for little ones interested in baby animals.

BLANKET & BEAR, A REMARKABLE PAIR,” by L.J.R. Kelly, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, Penguin, $16.99 (ages 3-5)

L.J.R. Kelly, grandson of Roald Dahl, tells what happens to a child’s misplaced toys. When Blanket and Bear are lost they try to find their lost boy. But when they finally do he is “so grown-up! So tall!”

Since “they were no longer needed, their time now through,” Blanket and Bear retire to the “island of lost blankets and bears — free to do as they wish.”

Kelly’s nostalgic verses and Tanaka’s muted acrylic illustrations — reminiscent of “The Velveteen Rabbit” — will give solace to those holding on to tender toys and memories.

CHLOE THE CLUMSY FAIRY,” by Katie Watkins, illustrated by Lester Lee, Source Media Books, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

Of the seven fairies in Dragonfly Pond, Chloe is known as the “catastrophically clumsy” one. She bumps into things, gets dirty and drops her wand in the pond. When Chloe hears about a new girl who is having trouble making friends, she takes the challenge to help. They find the most unexpected friend in the whole school.

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