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8 Picture Books for Cozy Fall Days

One of my favorite evening activities is to sit in my office after the girls go to bed and request picture books until I’ve maxed out all my holds.

I look through bestseller lists, award lists, trade magazines, books I’ve screenshot from Instagram, and recommended books from Amazon based on other picture books we love.

Then when I go to the library and have a dozen or more new books all at once, it’s like Christmas. Minus the wrapping paper and cozy jammies, and eating candy from your stocking for breakfast.

So actually not like Christmas at all.

But I still like it.

Great picture books picked by a mom and former librarian

Night Animals by Gianna Marino – One night animal after another – Possum, Skunk, Wolf, and Bear – are terrified by the night animals that are coming to get them. The stark black background and the moonlight silver text make for an eye-catching and surprising bedtime story. Oh, this one made me laugh.

Lulu’s Party by Kit Chase – Little owl Lulu wants her friends over for hot chocolate on a rainy afternoon, but when she accidentally dumps a box of salt into the hot chocolate (which she doesn’t notice), it looks like the party might be ruined. Fortunately, the sun comes out, milkshakes are made, and the afternoon is saved. I love the sweet illustrations on this one.

You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant – When I first read this one in the spring, I was kind of perplexed by it – why did everyone think it was so clever? But then Bart read it to the girls and listening to his reading of it and his reactions made me take a second look, and this time I was won over. I also just noticed there is a new book by this pair called That’s Not Mine. Obviously, I’ll need to check that one out.

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers – I’ll admit, I was only a sort-of fan of The Day the Crayons Quit. I know the whole world was wild about it, but we read it once or twice and I didn’t think about it again (except every single time I saw it on a bestseller or recommended list so. . . basically I thought about it once a week). But I reluctantly checked out the sequel and was delighted to find that this one was much funnier to me. When the Pea Green crayon renames himself Esteban the Magnificent, I was snorting with laughter.

The Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood – My mom is a huge fan of the original The Napping House (which came out in 1984), and now there is a new companion book where everyone in the Napping House is restless and cranky. But eventually, everyone settles down. These two books together would make a great baby shower gift.

Pigs Make Me Sneeze! by Mo Willems – When we were in Utah this summer, I took the girls to storytime at the Park City Library and the librarian there did THE best Elephant and Piggie voices I’ve ever heard. I could have sat there and listened to her all day long. When we were reading this one, I tried to imitate her voices and Ella told me to “just read it regularly.” What a bummer!

Welcome to the Zoo by Alison Jay – This book was a gift from a reader, which was just so nice I could hardly believe it, and I also lived in fear that it’d arrive and I’d hate it. But! Happy times, I did not. It’s a wordless book about a day at the zoo and there are so many things to look at on every page. There really isn’t a storyline, but my girls love reading it with me and finding different funny things in each illustration.

Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf – I feel like this book has been all over the Internet this fall (although it came out two years ago), but it’s too delightful not to share here. I’d forgotten how much I liked it until we reread it this fall. Sophie goes with her parents to the farmers’ market and picks out a butternut squash. Her parents are thinking dinner, but Sophie is delighted to have found a new friend and she takes Bernice everywhere with her, until finally Bernice starts to meet the same end as the tomatoes on your counter. What’s a girl to do? The writing in this one is spot-on; it’s clever and every page makes me giggle a little.

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  • Reply Amy October 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I was also a little lukewarm towards The Day the Crayons Quit, so I hadn't even bothered to check out the sequel, but now I will.

  • Reply Paige Flamm October 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Elephant and Piggie books are always a huge hit in our house! I'll have to try and grab that one the next time we're at the library!

  • Reply Kristin October 30, 2015 at 12:09 am

    I've never heard of Sophie's Squash, but it's on my library hold list now. I'm laughing to myself because last year my son "adopted" a butternut squash and named it Martha. He drew her a face and she sat in the corner of his room wrapped in a blanket for weeks until my husband told him Martha had to find another home. My son cried and then he was finally able to let her go.

  • Reply Kendra October 30, 2015 at 9:52 am

    As I never remember to take my books back to the library, we listen to a lot of books on youtube! Thanks for the suggestions. We listened to "Sophie's Squash" last night and my 4yo DD loved it. (Check out Arwen Sharp's read-alouds on youtube; I love the British accent!!)

  • Reply Miranda R November 3, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I had the same sentiment about The Day the Crayons Quit, glad I'm not alone. Also, I'd LOVE if you could put together a Thanksgiving reading list. I've never had much success finding children's books for this holiday. Thanks!

  • Reply Angela Noelle of SK August 18, 2016 at 12:38 am

    We were lucky to be sent review copies of the Anna Kang books. I don't like the second as much…it's angrier…already passed it on, ha! I'm interested to know what you think, if you've found it since.

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