Picture Book Month 2013: The Finale: Part 2 – Future Releases


If you’re new to T.A.A. and missed our earlier posts during Picture Book Month 2013, check them out below- 


Picture Book Mania 

(Inaugural Post for T.A.A.’s participation in Picture Book Month 2013, and other more writer-centric events)

Picture Book Month Spotlight #1: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Picture Book Month – Author Spotlight #2: Katie Davis


Picture Book Month – Author Spotlight #3: Two Lost Lights of 2013

You can also find our spotlights and more picture book treats and tributes on our Pinterest board-



If you missed Part 1-

http://talkinganimaladdicts.com/picture-book-month-finale-part 1


Today is the last day of Picture Book Month, and T.A.A. wraps up with whetting your appetite for picture books due out in 2014*-

 (*As with many things book related, the release dates listed here are subject to change, and not all titles have an eBook version at the time this post was originally written)



A Day with the Animal Mechanics


A Day with the Animal Mechanics 

by Sharon Rentta

Publisher: Alison Green Books

(An Imprint of Scholastic)

Pub. Date: May 1, 2014

For the little “Fixer Upper” in your life.




Written by Jenny Offill 

Illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

(An imprint of Random  House Children’s Books)

Pub. Date: March 11th, 2014


Kids with nontraditional pets will get a kick out of Sparky, a sloth that despite being slower than turtles, and more sedate than your eccentric cousin thrice removed after Thanksgiving has more to offer than what the cover image above leads you believe. 

UPDATE: Check out our full review!




By Tim Warnes

 Publisher: Tiger Tales/Little Tiger Press

Pub. Date: March 1st, 2014


Author-Illustrator Tim Warnes brings us cautionary tale with a twist. The “Old Chestnut” style to the illustration certainly helps my anticipation of this March 2014 release.


Jacob's New Dress

Jacob’s New Dress

Written  by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Illustrated by Chris Case

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Pub. Date: March 1st, 2014


As those who know me well know, I’m an advocate for N.T.B.M.


(Non-Traditional Boys and Men)

In the spirit of the song, “William’s Doll” (From “Free to be You and Me“) co-authors Sarah and Ian Hoffman bring readers a story that despite any potential controversy it sparks, touches on something every boy and man who was “Different” has to face, but all too often, in a negative and abusive context.

In a world where girls and women the world over are breaking boundaries and redefining what it means to be a girl or woman today, boys and men have been left behind (And LEFT OUT) of the local and increasingly GLOBAL conversation in this age of redefining their non-standard gender identity.

Even if your son/brother/nephew/etc. isn’t like Jacob, this book might be wise to keep on your eyes on when it launches early next year. Trust your Literary Rat on this one…I’m a non-traditional man and proud of it!




How to Cheer Up Dad

By Fred Koehler

Publisher: Dial 

Pub. Date: March 20, 2014


We need more Father-Son Stories in general. Enough said. (Until I review it, of course!)


Here Comes the Easter Cat




Written by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Claudia Rueda

Publisher: Dial

Pub. Date: January 28, 2014


It seems dogs aren’t the only rivals for this cat given the title of the latest from author Deborah Underwood, best known for “The Quiet Book” and it’s companion “The Loud Book.” Easter may be many months away (At the time this post is being written) but it never hurts to plan ahead with seasonal titles.


UPDATE: Check our review!


The Driftwood Ball



 The Driftwood Ball

   By Thomas Docherty

    Publisher: Templar Publishing

     Pub. Date: January 1st, 2014









Thomas Docherty’s next solo outing continues the grand tradition of “Going Your Own Way” by using the classic setting of a exclusionary social event with a fresh approach. This is one dance off I DON’T want to miss! (Says the Literary Rat with two left hind paws…)


For more on Thomas Docherty (And his author wife, Helen) check the links above for our author spotlight article featuring their previous solo and collaborative work.


Busy Bunny Days - In the Town, On the Farm & At the Port


Busy Bunny Days: In the Town, On the Farm & At the Port

By Britta Teckentrup

Publisher Chronicle Books 

Pub. Date: February 25, 2014


Think of Richard Scarry’s “Busy Town”

meets Disney’s “BunnyTown” and you have

a rabbit lover’s utopia in picture book form.

(Fun Fact: Your Literary Rat [Though not Chinese] was born in the “Year of the Rabbit” and I’ve had mixed feelings about that…)






By Elys Dolan ()

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Pub. Date: February 25th, 2014


As loyal T.A.A. readers know, I’m working on a fairy tale style novel (Working Title: The Baroque Weasel) but while my weasel is a hero, this picture book by author-illustrator Elys Dolan uses their classic role as a gang trouble making upstarts who try to take over the world.

Will they succeed? We’ll have to wait for February 2014 to find out…

UPDATE: Check Out Our Review!

Babar on Paradise Island

Babar on Paradise Island

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: May 13, 2014

Much like other classic series such as Madeline and The Berenstain Bears, an extended family has carried on where the original creators left off, and the pachyderm who became King is off on yet another adventure, but will paradise turn out to be a foreboding misnomer?  



by Charlie Sutcliffe

Publisher: Tate Publishing

Originally Published: October 3rd, 2013 (U.K.)

(U.S.) Pub. Date: April 1st, 2014


First released in the U.K. in October 2013, Author-Illustrator Charlie Sutcliffe makes his picture book debut in the U.S. in 2014.

FINALLY, a potential male counterpart to Eloise and Madeline. Not sure it’ll rhyme as in the case of the latter…


Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century

Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century

by Jane O’Connor

Illustrated by

Robin Preiss Glasser

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pub. Date: April 8, 2014



The DIY Diva/Fashionista is back and fancier than ever.

What better than a wedding to bring the appropriate glam and big vocabulary to the table. Nancy may not always “Keep it Simple” but she always keeps things sensational!


I Am Otter

I Am Otter (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray 

(An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Pub. Date: April 29, 2014

Just like a certain “Wimpy Kid” this character began as a niche online experiment by author-illustrator Sam Garton, and is now entering the print book world in April 2014! Fans of Calvin and Hobbes and Katie Davis (The Latter of which was spotlighted for Picture Book Month 2013) will be in stitches when Otter struts in!

UPDATE: Check our review!

This is only a TASTE of the many picture books we have to look forward to in 2014. They’ll all available for pre-order now. (For those of you early bird shoppers)

If you’ve got an upcoming release that you’re excited for, or any comments on the books mentioned above, please share in the comments below. T.A.A. LOVES hearing from you, our precious readers.

Thanks for spending Picture Book Month with T.A.A. We’ll be back for 2014 and beyond. 

Regular blog posts will resume Monday, December 2nd, 2013. Until then, stay safe as Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. continues, and as always-

May the fantastical fauna be with you.


P.S: Also take time to check out the 

OFFICIAL website for

Picture Book Month:http://www.picturebookmonth.com


UPDATE (12/3/13)piboidmo2013-winnerbadge-700x700

I got to 30 IDEAS in

PiBoIdMo 2013!

Picture Book Month – The Finale: Part 1 (New Voices in 2013)



As Picture Book Month draws to a close for another year, I want to spotlight some new faces, places, and voices that have graced bookstores, libraries, and e-readers* in 2013-

 (*Some Books aren’t available in ebook format at the time this post was originally written)

The Snatchabook (U.S. and U.K. Edictions) 3

U.S. Cover (Left) U.K. Cover (Right)

The Snatchabook

Written by Helen Docherty Illustrated by Thomas Docherty

(U.K. Alison Green Books, October 2013) (U.S. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky)

I discovered this on November 1st, 2013, at the START of Picture Book Month, when I was out book browsing, and while I couldn’t get the book at the time, what I read (4 pages) convinced me I MUST buy before year’s end. I will be getting it soon and look forward to a review.

I always feel a bit awkward when I review or highlight a book in rhyme, since when done poorly, really makes a story clunk (I’ve tried, trust me it’s quite a task to challenge oneself with, the literary rat has WARNED you!), and it’s certainly HARD to debut as a new author with a rhyming text, especially if you are NOT also the illustrator (If an agent or editor believes in the project overall,  so long as the rhyming is at least 70% solid, IMHO. Don’t quote me, I don’t yet have an agent, but I’m trying to be positive here!)

My point is this: Like Julia Donaldson from our first spotlight, Helen NAILS the rhyme scheme of her book, which is looser than many rhyme-centric narratives, but works all the same.

Thomas Docherty’s illustrations really brings life and warmth to the world where beloved books go missing, and characters have a Seuss-esque quality to them, and I promise you, I  don’t throw down that kind of statement lightly.

While Thomas Docherty has written and illustrated  6 picture books of his own (And Illustrated “The Snorgh and the Sailor” written by Will Buckingham), “The Snatchabook” is his second collaboration with his wife, and  author, Helen Docherty!


Helen and Thomas (Tom) Docherty

(Helen Docherty, left, Thomas Docherty, right)


Their first book together (Before they were married) was “Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure” (Illustrated by Tom, the story co-written Helen) was released by Templar Publishing in 2010, in the U.K. (U.S. Release in 2011)

Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure


Now we go from one love story to another.


From one between people, to that of our fantastical animal friends on which this site homages, but it’s also a love story to a place you can actually visit (Should finances allow…)-

 Herman and Rosie

Herman and Rosie

By Gus Gordon

(Released by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Macmillan in October 15, 2013)


Like London, Italy, Paris, and more recently India and/or Japan, books have always had a storied history with an ongoing playlist of love songs to iconic settings (Real, imagined, and all in-between) and picture books are no different. In fact, with SO MANY love songs to a specific place, it’s HARD to stand out, but I believe “Herman and Rosie” is one such stand out.


For me, of the many love songs to New York (Real or Surreal), this book DOES jump out in the most positive sense.


There’s something about the vintage feel that I’ve always responded to, long before I even knew the history behind it, which only enriched my appreciation as I got older.


When I first saw the cover for this book, I almost wanted to weep with joy, because it’s unabashedly old-fashioned, in a tune when being modern is often meant to mean “Simplistic to a fault.”


I’m not bashing simplicity, when it’s right for the story, whether words or text, but I don’t want simplicity to overly dictate stories that frankly demand some finesse and sophistication-

Fancy Nancy

The Fancy Nancy series is what immediately come to mind. Nancy’s “DIY” fashion/interior design spirit wouldn’t have the charm and impact if it had been taken too literally.

Jane O'Connor and Robin

(Robin Preiss Glasser, left, Jane O’Connor, right)

As author, Jane O’Connor has said in interviews, she made the point to series illustrator, Robin Priess Glasser (via NECESSARY art notes) that Nancy’s “Fancy” was less idealized Martha Stewart/Mary Engelbreit, and more playful and resourceful.


Like those old cartoons of kids playing knights wearing pots on their heads to affect those iconic helmets.


Much like how many people are living more financially stringent and (Arguably, at times) frugal, and general embellishment is seen as a sin of the early 21st century.  (I’m exaggerating a bit, but it does FEEL that way sometimes)


But Gus Gordon’s first children’s book reminds me, and I hope others, too, that “Dated” details aren’t always the “Kiss of Death” we often attach to non-modern things in general.


While many young readers (And even their parents born LONG after the ’80s) will not necessarily know that black half moon poking out on the cover is a vinyl record, and that the overall design from the front and back over reminds me of the now “Old School” way people enjoyed music.


Back in the day, if you couldn’t play the piano or a violin (Or the Oboe, as in Herman’s case), vinyl records and their players (From the Gramophones of  to the suitcase-style record players from the ’60s and ’70s) was the way to go to enjoy music without going to a live concert, Broadway show or movies in the oft-debated “Golden Era”, but despite the dominance of music downloads and CD sales peaking in the ’90s (My childhood) vinyl records (From 21st Century artists) are STILL coming out, and here’s why-


As many audiophiles know, vinyl records actually best preserve the highest quality (Uncompressed) audio when thoughtfully produced, which outside of archival preservation for historians, is a tangible reminder that not everything vintage is obsolete and unloved.


While the art style is clean and not what some would call “Busy or Gaudy”  it avoids the “Minimalist” movement in books these days, I don’t just mean minimalism in terms of text (Which I have certain thoughts on that I will share at a later time) but in how the illustrations manage to feel modern yet warm at the same time.


Like Frog and Toad, Mole and Ratty, and more recently brother-sister duo Judy Moody and Stink (This may be “Talking Animal Addicts” but we embrace humans here, too!), I hope Herman and Rosie has as beloved and prosperous legacy for young readers now, and for any literary rattlings of my own that one day will emerge.


Check back tomorrow for part 2 of our finale by highlighting some picture books T.A.A. has their eye on in 2014!


Until then, may the fantastic fauna be with you.


Picture Book Month Spotlight #1: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Picture Book Month – Author Spotlight #2: Katie Davis

Picture Book Month – Author Spotlight #3: Two Lost Lights of 2013


You can also find our spotlights and more on our Pinterest board-


P.S: take time to check out the OFFICIAL website for Picture Book Month-




P.P.S: If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of

the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by

clicking on the affiliate cover images above.