The first title they talked about was Let’s Play by Herve Tullet. He’s the artist behind interactive books like Press Here and Mix It Up. Each book is very clever and fun. Children are given instructions like “Press this dot”, and when they follow and turn the page, they see the result of their efforts – the dot has moved or changed color or some other surprise. Let’s Play follows a dot through an exploration of emotions.
Next up was Are We There Yet? by Nina Laden and Adam McCauley. Straightforward premise: as a mother drives her kid to their destination, he constantly asks “Are we there yet?” The richness of the book comes from the illustrations, which feature some pretty wild locations and backgrounds that readers will want to explore, even if the kid in the car can only focus on where he’s going. There’s no narrative text to distract from exploring the worlds in the book. This would be a great one for kids who like to make up their own stories.
Tell Me a Tattoo Story was easily my favorite book presented by Chronicle. Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler created a beautiful celebration of a son getting to know his family history by asking his father about the tattoos on his body. The illustrations are stunning, the story simple and sweet. I can easily think of several parents who would love to have this book. It’s exactly the sort of book that would appeal to Millennial parents.
Sometimes all I want from a picture book is colorful, bright graphics and a cute story. That’s exactly the description of Mamasaurus, a “lost mother” book starring dinosaurs. Stephan Lomp’s art is so appealing, and you can never have too many dinosaurs. I’m quite excited about this one.
For those of us who need a reason to laugh at American presidential campaigns – and by the time this book comes out next spring, there will be many of us craving a break - President Squid answers the call. Aaron Reynolds and Sara Varon have created a sea creature determined to run for President. He boasts of his many qualifications for office. This is another great read-aloud book for kids, and of course it’ll be very relevant in 2016.
One of the intriguing chapter books showcased was Once Was a Time, a story about time travel and friendship. A scientist unlocks the secret of time travel during World War II, but to protect the knowledge from the Germans it is entrusted to his daughter Charlotte, who escapes into the future. Charlotte becomes determined to reunite with her best friend Kitty, wherever she may be in her new timeline. An interesting premise, no?
When I was a kid, fandom wasn’t quite as rampant as it is now. I mean, we got obsessed with things but I don’t think it was the industry that it is today. It’s just so much easier for fans to connect and communicate with each other now. I mention this only because fandom plays such a critical role in Gena/Finn, a story told through text messages, blog posts, e-mails, and journal entries. It connects two young women who are obsessed with a TV show, but their initial friendship quickly deepens as they find connection in a digital age.
The last book was Flora and the Peacocks, and it was extra-special because the author, Molly Idle, was at the preview to share it with us. She showed up some of her art (more of it was hanging in a display, which was REALLY cool) and talked about her work. The book just looks stunning. Like her previous Flora books, this is a wordless story featuring a little girl who loves to dance and two avian companions. Flora must successfully navigate jealousy and make a friendship with three succeed.
Flora and the Peacocks
After the preview we were able to browse the rest of Chronicle’s current frontlist books, which is always fun. There are a lot of cute books coming up this holiday season! The original art from several spring books was on display. I love looking at the art up close, so that you can see the illustrator’s technique really clearly. As we prepared to leave, we were handed a goodie bag containing several ARCs, including some from the presentation, in a cool Chronicle Books reusable bag.
All of these books will be hitting store shelves in March and April. I can’t wait!