I Am Not a Fish! by Peter Raymundo (4 June, Dial Books for Young Readers)
Jen’s review: This book is such fun! It’s about a jellyfish who attends a support group for creatures whose names belie what they really are. Like starfish who aren’t actually fish. It reminds me of a song from my childhood: ‘Please Don’t Call Me a Koala Bear’, which is about a koala bemoaning the fact that people keep calling him a bear even though he’s not a bear at all (even as I type this sentence I have that song in my head). This book, like the song, is about identity, self-acceptance, friendship, and belonging. The book is also a lovely introduction to marine life and sea creatures, with interesting facts that are hidden within the story and dialogue. The illustrations are bold and bright and are part of what makes this book fantastic.
Book of Flight by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sam Brewster (5 June, Phaidon)
Jen’s review: This is a stunning book. It presents ten different animals that fly as a guessing game (‘Guess who is the fastest flyer.’ and ‘Guess who is the most acrobatic flyer.’) The information is presented in a way that is engaging and easy to read, and it is a great book of animal trivia and interesting facts. The highlight for me was the illustrations: detailed, beautiful, tactile. Each animal has a drawing of its skeleton on the question page, and the answer page includes a full spread of the animal in its natural environment overlaid with a textured finish of its skeleton.
Hum and Swish by Matt Myers (11 June, Neal Porter Books)
Jen’s review: This is a story about Jamie, who is on a beach building something. People keep asking her what she is making along with other pointless questions and all she wants is to be left in peace. But the sea understands. Jamie and the sea are friends. Hum, and swish. Someone else comes along, also creating something. She doesn’t ask questions. And Jamie and the artist spend a quiet afternoon together, each absorbed in her own project. This is a book that celebrates peace and quiet and being left alone, which is something that I really empathise with right now.
The Peculiar Pig by Joy Steuerwald (18 June, Penguin Young Readers)
Jen’s review: This is a cute and charming story of a dachshund puppy name Penny who grows up with a pig family. Her siblings make fun of her and point out all the ways that she’s different until one day when it’s her differences that saves the day. One of the things I love most about this is how mama pig keeps saying she doesn’t care that Penny is different, and she loves all her babies all the same. This is a lovely picture book about accepting and celebrating our quirks and differences, and also about how wonderful it is to be unconditionally loved.