May went by in a blur. I set aside two weeks for jury duty, and only had to serve three days. But still it seems I couldn’t get enough done despite all the meeting-free days. Bean graduated from preschool and Lu is now finishing up first grade. We played with my parents’ new puppy, built a fairy garden, and opened up our Northern Minnesota cabin for the season.

On the Lu and Bean Read front, we decided to take a break from the podcast to rethink the format. We’ll start up again in a few weeks, but for now you can listen to old episodes here. We also launched our Summer Book Hunts, an activity that will help keep your kids reading all summer long. And we launched a partnership with Addison Reads, offering Summer Book Packs for kids of all ages. Use code LUANDBEAN for 10 percent off your order.

May 2017 picture books

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May 2017 picture books

In between all of that, we read some really great picture books this month! Here are the eight picture books we read most this month:

I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Felicita Sala


Art comes in many different forms, which is lucky for the young protagonist of this picture book, who says he can’t draw. His cars look like boxes and his puppies look like mush. So, he declares, I don’t draw, I color! He conjures up different emotions through hues, lines, and textures. He colors until he has created a masterpiece—just like him.

Martina & Chrissie by Phil Bildner and illustrated by Brett Helquist

Did you know that Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert played against one another 80 times over the course of their tennis careers? Do you know who won more of those matches? Martina & Chrissie chronicles one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sports, describing how the on-court foes developed a lasting off-court friendship.

Mine! by Jeff Mack

In Mine!, author/illustrator Jeff Mack uses one word to convey so much. Mine! depicts the universal toddler struggle of fighting over something even though you’re not quite sure why you want it. Two mice quarrel—Mine! No Mine!—over a rock. But does it belong to someone else? Oh well, they’ll have to find something else to fight over. Bean loves this book because as a pre-reader, she can read the whole thing to herself.

Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Maurer and illustrated by Mircea Catusanu

Tracy Maurer visited with us on episode 32 of the podcast so we had to check out her new book Noah Webster’s Fighting Words. This biography of the author of the first American dictionary is cleverly edited by Noah Webster himself. As we learn about Webster’s life from exceptional schoolboy to the description of his lasting influence on American English, Mr. Webster leaves little notes for the reader, reminding us that that he really was a man “full of confidence in my own opinions.”

Noisy Night by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Brian Biggs

A lot happens at night in a tall urban apartment building. People—and lots of other creatures, it turns out—are up all night singing, dancing, cheering and generally carrying on. But the old man who lives upstairs has had enough of this Noisy Night. Investigate the apartment building floor by floor to learn who is keeping the grumpy old man awake.

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

The third in a series of books exploring the side of nature we can’t always see, Over and Under the Pond takes us exploring the rich life above and below the water’s surface. A fantastic book for teaching perspective, we row along with a boy and his mother seeing them from near, far, above and below as they explore the world around them. Along the way, land animals, water fowl, fish and other creatures observe the pair’s trip. Gorgeously illustrated, the book also contains extensive author’s notes on the wildlife pictured.

We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

Fans of Auggie, the protagonist of R.J. Palacio’s renowned middle grade novel Wonder, will be thrilled with this new picture book. Auggie and his dog Daisy are back to share what it’s like to look different, this time for younger children. The picture book version doesn’t include the intense bullying that appears in the novel, but we still get a profound sense of sadness when other kids talk behind Auggie’s back or don’t want to play with him. The simple story reminds us that it’s our heart and soul that matter most, because We’re All Wonders.

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Liz Climo

You may think you want a unicorn, but you don’t. It sounds fun, but unicorns cause all kinds of problems. They leave a trail of glitter wherever they go, they leave the house in shambles, and worst of all, they travel in groups. This funny picture book will leave your kids chatting about all the sound reasons You Don’t Want a Unicorn!

What are you reading this month? Share your picture books of the month in the comments below.

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