Some of the Year's Best Picture Books, 2017

These titles were featured in our 2017 Winter Newsletter, recommended by Bookshop Santa Cruz staff.

Perfect pacing again (Mr. Henkes) as an unlikely friendship cracks into the open in this amusing-for-preschoolers (and amusing for the adults who read to them) picture book. A surprisingly moving journey in a seemingly simple story. And funny. Did I mention that? Ages 3–6. - Ga

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Egg Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062408723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - January 3rd, 2017

Follow along as we gently, dreamily behold each of the elements that make a house a home, from the front door “once a colossal oak tree” and the bricks “once mud that oozed around roots” to the window that “was sand once…melted to glass.” Misty, almost velvety, watercolors reveal both the history and the now of this home, as we come to see how our own house fits into the world outside our door. A cozy bedtime read. Ages 3–7. - Michelle

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This House, Once Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781481442848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - February 28th, 2017

Much more than a tongue twister, this sweet and joyful picture book astounds and astonishes with each successive read aloud. Wary for just the briefest moment, the dog and the hog leap into play, whirling and reeling around each other and right off the pages. Has there ever been a more perfect word pairing—or animal pairing—than greyhound and groundhog? Ages 2 and up. - Michelle

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A Greyhound, a Groundhog Cover Image
By Emily Jenkins, Chris Appelhans (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9780553498059
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Schwartz & Wade Books - January 3rd, 2017

Here’s a triptych of picture books by verbal-visual stuntman Jon Agee. These are each one-joke books, but they are very, very good jokes. Ages 3–8. - Ga

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Milo's Hat Trick Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735229877
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - September 12th, 2017

Here’s a triptych of picture books by verbal-visual stuntman Jon Agee. These are each one-joke books, but they are very, very good jokes. Ages 3–8. - Ga

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Terrific Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735229884
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - September 12th, 2017

Here’s a triptych of picture books by verbal-visual stuntman Jon Agee. These are each one-joke books, but they are very, very good jokes. Ages 3–8. - Ga

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Life on Mars Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399538520
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - February 28th, 2017

Read this aloud as if you’re King Arthur or Lancelot preparing to battle for the good of all. A zany, perfectly illustrated origin story of the game rock paper scissors. If only all war games were this one. Ages 4–8. - Ga

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The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors Cover Image
By Drew Daywalt, Adam Rex (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062438898
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 4th, 2017

Words taken from the influential novel set us deep in this tale of passion and revenge, only to find the story is actually set in a bathtub as a young child enacts the drama of Moby Dick. It’s bedtime, and a parent pulls the plug, wraps the child in towels, tucks them in bed and, upon request, sings a ballad that begins:

Wide are the waters of the deep blue sea

Great is the whale that got away free...

Grades K–2. - Ga

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Mighty Moby Cover Image
By Ed Young, Barbara Dacosta (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316299367
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 1st, 2017

In late-Renaissance Italy, while restoring musical instruments for Prince Ferdinando de Medici, Cristofori dreams of and invents an instrument that can play as quietly as a clavichord and as loudly as a harpsichord. Priceman’s gouache and ink illustrations create a whimsical, musical energy. Grades K–3. - Ga

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The Music of Life: Bartolomeo Cristofori & the Invention of the Piano Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781481444842
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - April 18th, 2017

Long before dawn, a boy and his father wake and quietly, companionably, drive to a pond at the city limit to fish for supper. In melting blues, deep red, occasional gold, and crisp inked outlines, we see the small fire the boy starts with a single match, the shared sandwiches, and the father’s face as he speaks to his son of a different pond in Vietnam where he and his brother fished together. Returning home, the boy helps his mother clean the fish, and both parents leave for work. In the evening, with his older siblings laughing and delicious food on the table, the kitchen bulb tenderly illuminates our narrator and his family. Grades K–3. - Ga

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A Different Pond Cover Image
By Bao Phi, Thi Bui (Illustrator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781623708030
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Capstone Young Readers - August 1st, 2017

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