With a list of children's and early readers titles, Shelf Awareness concludes our series on upcoming books for the summer and fall that independent booksellers around the country are most looking forward to. Installments on young adult and middle grade, nonfiction and fiction (part one and part two) ran over the past four issues.
Leading today's list is When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin. Ben Coffin, a former foster kid and a shy bookworm, finds an abandoned pup on Coney Island. Ben names the dog Flip, and caring for the dog leads Ben to making friends with a girl named Halley. Halley convinces Ben to collaborate with her on a novel, but soon Ben's home life begins to unravel. Becky Anderson, owner of Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Downers Grove, and La Grange, Ill., said the book's combination of friendship, family, loss and lots of humor make it a "read for everyone." It will be available on June 7 from Dial Books.
In Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson (Walden Pond Press, June 21), Topher, Brand and Steve are students of an amazing teacher named Ms. Bixby. She's the kind of teacher who makes kids really care about school and feel good about themselves. The three boys are surprised when Ms. Bixby announces that she won't be finishing the school year and decide to give Ms. Bixby a perfect last day. Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., recommended the book, saying its tearful moments are more than matched with moments of adventure.
Author Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrator Anne Wilsdorf have reunited for Sophie's Squash Go to School (Schwartz & Wade). Arriving in stores on June 28, Sophie's Squash Go to School is a sequel to 2013's Sophie Squash and follows Sophie as she goes to school for the first time. She brings her best friends--two squash she grew and named Bonnie and Baxter--but no one else is interested in making friends with squash, and she'll have to work at making friends with other children. Suzy Takacs, owner of the Book Cellar in Chicago, Ill., chose this charming children's book.
Next up on today's list is the picture book My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley, the story of a new father who no longer plays in a band, rides a motorcycle or gets new tattoos, and a son who thinks his dad is still really cool. "When I first read this book, I thought, finally--a picture book other dudes can purchase for their friends on the way to becoming new fathers," said Jill Saginario, bookseller at Papercuts J.P. in Boston, Mass. "The perfect baby shower gift for the men and women in your lives with a self-deprecating sense of humor and an inward cringe every time they catch glimpses of their Harley gathering dust next to their minivan." It'll be out from Flying Eye Books on July 12.
Writer Jory John and illustrator Bob Shea, the creators of the picture book I Will Chomp You!, have teamed up again for Quit Calling Me a Monster!, coming from Random House Books for Young Readers on August 23. Quit Calling Me a Monster! is about Floyd Patterson, who, despite his best efforts, can't get people to see past his pointy teeth and shaggy fur. A choice of Christine Onorati, owner of WORD Bookstores in Jersey City, N.J., and Brooklyn, N.Y.
On August 26, the story of Little Elliot and Mouse will continue with Little Elliot, Big Fun by Mike Curato. Elliot and Mouse take a trip to the amusement park, and at first Elliot isn't having much fun at all, until Mouse helps Elliot overcome his fears. This followup to Little Elliot, Big City and Little Elliot, Big Family will be available from Holt.
Kate Beaton, the author of The Princess and the Pony and Hark! A Vagrant, returns on September 13 with King Baby (Arthur A. Levine Books). Recommended by Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshop, this picture book is a hilarious take on what happens in every household when a new baby arrives. Said Anderson: "The illustrations are a riot and truly express the way a baby becomes a king or queen!"
Penguin Problems is the first collaboration between Jory John, author of I Will Chomp You! (and the aforementioned Quit Calling Me a Monster!), and Lane Smith, author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. In Penguin Problems, a disgruntled penguin levels with the reader that life in Antarctica is not all that it's cracked up to be. According to Anderson, Penguin Problems will have "adults laughing right along with kids." It'll be in stores on September 27 from Random House Books for Young Readers.
On October 4, author Kate Hoefler makes her picture book debut with Real Cowboys. Illustrated by Jonathan Bean, Real Cowboys offers a poetic and heartfelt look at cowboys and the notions of them as rough-and-tumble wild men. Jill Saginario of Papercuts J.P. praised the book's "inclusive, fully saturated retro-style" illustrations, adding that they are a "perfect complement to this amazing picture book breaking down misconceived ideas about the ultimate manly men." Look for Real Cowboys on October 4 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.
Written by Cynthia Voigt and illustrated by Paola Zakimi, Teddy & Co. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, November 1) follows a group of lost toys that includes Teddy, a bear with philosophical tendencies, a hungry snake, an elephant who cooks, an introverted penguin and two goofy pigs. When two new toys arrive--a rabbit and a beautiful doll--their community drastically changes. Suzanna Hermans of Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., called Teddy & Co. an instant classic. Said Hermans: "I absolutely loved it."
Rounding out today's list is Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins. In this illustrated work of nonfiction, Jenkins uses creative, accurate infographics to show readers the number of animal species around the globe, the collective weight of all the insects in the world, the immense distances that animals can travel and much, much more. Sure to be a hit with animal lovers, Animals by the Numbers will be out from HMH Books for Young Readers on November 1. --Alex Mutter