The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits

by Douglas Florian
Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

 The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits is one of our absolute favorite new books of the year. Reading this book, you'll discover that rabbits have wonderful habits we humans never knew about, from finding buried treasure to playing recorders and having dance parties, to enjoying nightly bedtime stories!

While this is the perfect book for spring, and works as an Easter book, it works just as well any time of year, with references to rabbits' habits in each of the seasons. Bouncy rhyme and engagingly detailed illustrations that bring out the humor in the text make this glorious picture book simply a joy to read. 

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Rudy's New Human

by Roxanna Elden
illustrated by Ginger Seehafer

 

When we started Off the Shelf, we knew we wanted our logo to have the feel of classic Winnie the Pooh illustrations as well as communicate our mission of bringing books alive. Illustrator Ginger Seehafer perfectly captured our vision in our logo, complete with our very own teddy bear! So, it is with great pleasure that we present a book illustrated by Ginger, Rudy's New Human.

Lovable pup Rudy's world is turned upside down with the arrival of a new baby in the household. Peace, calm, and routine have vanished and Rudy is not sure how to handle these changes. Will his life ever be the same? 

 The illustrations really let the reader feel Rudy experiences, from his excited anticipation at the arrival of a new friend, to his disappointment that the baby is not what he expected, to the eventual friendship that develops. Rudy is sure to find a special place in your heart!

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The Lion and the Mouse

by Jerry Pinkney

Come along on a journey to eastern Africa, where elephants roam and zebras graze in the Serengeti. This is the breathtaking setting of Jerry Pinkney's wordless telling of The Lion & the Mouse, Aesop's tale that celebrates kindness and courage. 

Is your young reader rambunctious and confident like a lion, or more quiet and unassuming like a mouse?  The beauty of Aesop's classic tale The Lion & the Mouse is that neither of these personalities is more admirable than the other, for both are celebrated in their own way. 

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Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal, The Lion & the Mouse is exquisitely illustrated in watercolors that enhance the underlying gentleness of the story.  The only words are the occasional onomatopoeia of wildlife sounds as well as the putt putt of the hunters' truck. This is a book to savor and linger over and cherish. Enjoy! 

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Annie and the Wild Animals

by Jan Brett

For four of the five years of Off the Shelf's existence, we have featured a Jan Brett book in at least one of the winter months. This pattern was completely unintentional, but makes sense with the snowy, usually Scandinavian settings of her stories. So, you can tell it's winter as we bring you another treasure, Annie and the Wild Animals

Annie is feeling restless after a long winter. Her loneliness is made worse when her cat Taffy disappears, seemingly for good. In hopes of finding a new friendly pet, Annie bakes corn cakes and places them on the edge of the forest. Come along on a snowy, end of winter adventure to find out if Annie's corn cake plan succeeds! Full of Jan Brett's signature illustrations, Annie and the Wild Animals is a delightful story for young readers to enjoy on long winter days (or any time of the year). 

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Ellie

by Mike Wu

What's an elephant to do when her zoo is in trouble? Each of her friends has a special talent that they use to help their beloved zoo from closing down. Ellie has lots of enthusiasm but struggles to discover her helpful gift, until one day she discovers a paintbrush...

Ellie is an endearing picture book by Mike Wu, a Pixar animator who has worked on The Incredibles and  Toy Story 3, among others, and who definitely knows the way to capture the imagination of young readers. Ellie shows us that we all have special gifts, and that we can all make a difference, no matter what those gifts are. 

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Black Dog

by Levi Pinfold

We often hear you have nothing to fear but fear itself, but sometimes (quite often, in fact), that fear takes on a mind of its own and plays tricks on us. This phenomenon is explored in Levi Pinfold's charming picture book, Black Dog.
One day, a large black dog arrives outside the Hope family's home.  As each family member reports their sighting of the dog, the unexpected visitor grows with gargantuan proportions. It takes the smallest member of the family, named Small of course, to show the true nature of the beast. 
Childhood quite often is a time of fears, whether of storms, the dark, or even dogs. But young readers will enjoy the fact that Small is the hero, the one member of the family who shows no fear and keeps things in perspective. Whatever your young readers fears are, sharing this book together just may help to shrink the size of the monsters under the bed. 

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Sneakers, the Seaside Cat

by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by Anne Mortimer

Sneakers, the Seaside Cat is the story of "a little fat cat" who travels with his family for a seaside vacation. Sneakers uses all his senses to explore new experiences, from the roar of waves and the rolling in of the fog to all the curious animals that inhabit the sand and water. 

Margaret Wise Brown is one of our all-time favorite picture book authors, with her characteristic rich descriptions and child-friendly narratives. Whether your young reader has experienced the beach or not, this story will bring it alive, so you can almost smell the salty sea air and feel the sand beneath your feet. Enjoy!

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The Problem with Chickens

by Bruce McMillan
illustrated by Gunnella

There's nothing quite like exercising chickens to draw us into a story, and that's only the beginning of the appeal of The Problem With Chickens! The fine feathered fowl in this delightful book have personality plus. When the ladies make a simple plan to get more eggs, these precocious chickens give the ladies more than they bargained for.

Not only do the illustrations induce giggles galore, but they also depict the traditional culture of the book's Icelandic setting.  Enjoy a trip to the Icelandic countryside and discover how these imaginative ladies solve The Problem With Chickens!

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Gaston

by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Christian Robinson

If you have followed Off the Shelf for very long you will know that we love dogs and dogs booksGaston, of course, is no exception. We love Gaston (the dog) because he is boisterous and goofy but is full of love and does his best even though he seems out of place among his siblings. We love Gaston (the book) because it is about celebrating differences and being happy where you are. You and your young reader are sure to find your own reasons for loving this delightful book (please share!), and pulling it off the shelf will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step! 

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Telephone

by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jen Corace

Some of the most memorable moments of childhood are the funny little things kids will often unintentionally say. Whether it is mixing words up or putting their own twist on a word (we will still pull out Lexie's "sul-de-cat" when she really meant cul-de-sac) kids language skills and listening skills often are not in sync.

In Telephone, author Mac Barnett  revisits the old game of Telephone and shows the craziness that happens when Peter Bird's mother sends the message out through other birds that it is time for Peter to come home for dinner. Guaranteed giggles from young readers as they follow the message from one bird to the next and how that message changes.

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