BEA 2013: Picture Book Wonderland

by Amy Kraft on June 16, 2013


At this year’s BookExpo America, I came home with a back-breaking amount of books that I’m excited to read, but I was most excited by this year’s offering of picture books.


I declare the winner of this year’s BEA to be Bob Shea, with his new book Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. I love this book. Goat’s got a pretty good life, until that show-off Unicorn came into the picture. Goat is jealous of Unicorn’s ability to fly and dance and turn things into gold. But wait until Unicorn gets a load of what goat can do! Unicorn doesn’t think he’s so great, but he sure things goat is. Together they make an awesome team.


A close runner-up for BEA winner is Carnivores, the new book by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by one of my favorites, Dan Santat. A shark, a lion, and the big bad wolf all are a little ashamed about their carnivore tendencies. They try a whole bunch of things to change into plant-eaters, but who are they kidding? They need to embrace their nature as savage meat-eaters. Hilarious.


I ran into Betsy Bird, who has made the exciting crossover from librarian and book blogger extraordinaire to author! Her new book Giant Dance Party is adorable. Lexy loves to dance, but has the unfortunate problem of freezing like an ice pop every time she tried to dance on stage. She decides to be a dance teacher—a genius plan that will let her dance without dancing on stage. There’s only one problem. No one wants to learn from a kid. No one…. except giants! The giants show up for their dance lessons, and they just might need a little help on stage from Lexy when they freeze up, too.


Betsy Lewin has a sweet new real-aloud out, Thumpy Feet. Follow Thumpy Feet the cat as he eats and plays and sleeps. The text is full of language kids won’t be able to help but repeat, with each smacky smack and lick licky licky and flippy flip.


David Ezra Stein also has a new book out, Dinosaur Kisses. Little Dinah the T. rex hatched out of her egg and immediately tried stomping and chomping. Then she saw a kiss, but whenever she tried it it looked more like a WHOMP or a STOMP or a CHOMP. She just needs a dinosaur who can kis like her, and finds one in another T. rex who hatches. This could be a good book for toddlers who are learning what to bite and what not to bite.


Robot Rumpus is the latest from British author Sean Taylor. When Mum and Dad go out for the night, they leave the care of their daughter in the hands of seven robots. What could possibly go wrong? Well, anything that could be misconstrued by those who are programmed, starting with the alligator toy that’s mistaken by Wash-bot as a dangerous animal. My Facebook feed has been full lately with ethical quandaries about drones. Somehow this book is like a precursor to that discussion, but, you know . . . funny.


Hero Mom, by Melinda Hardin, is a lovely tribute to moms in uniform, made lovelier by the illustrations by Bryan Langdo. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bryan, and it’s always a treat to see his work in the wild.

I also have shelf full of chapter books that I can’t wait to read. I’ll let you know about them as I do! As I’ve said before, BEA stands for Books Everywhere! Awesome!

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