BookExpo America (BEA) is to the publishing business what ComicCon is to adults who like wear costumes: Ground Zero. Every year thousands of publishers, authors, distributors, and retailers gather to promote and peruse the latest and greatest in everything from cookbooks to the next 50 Shades Of Grey. The 2015 BEA just wrapped in New York City, and it was swimming in kids’ books. Here are 9 clever, quirky titles that are about to be in heavy bedtime rotation in your house.
Book-O-Beards: A Wearable Book
Part of a series of board books that engages the next generation of readers with “the original interactive technology:” a die-cut hole. Other titles include the Book-O-Masks, Book-O-Teeth, and Book-O-Hats, all of which are awesome, but only the beard book lets you come up with with your own names for “The Lumberjack” and “The Pirate” — like “The Happy Hipster” and “The Ron Swanson.”
Book-O-Beards: A Wearable Book by Donald Lemke and Bob Lentz ($8)
Who Done It?
Your kid will get an early primer on facial expressions and body language as they try to answer questions about the most adorable police lineups ever assembled. They’ll discover all kinds of hilarious clues on each page, though some of the crimes are easier to decipher than others — “Who couldn’t hold it?” comes to mind.
Who Done It? by Olivier Tallec (Available October 13)
Colossal Paper Machines
This book would look great on your coffee table, but the oversized, moving models of badass vehicles made from its pages will look even greater on your kid’s toy shelf. This ought to buy you a little time before you have to pony up for an actual 3D printer.
Colossal Paper Machines by Phil Conigliaro ($18)
Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook
The ultimate Christmas classic Home Alone turns 25 this year, and regardless of how old that makes you feel, an illustrated adaptation is a better celebration of that milestone than another remake. The book also makes it possible for your kid to enjoy the tale of Kevin McCallister 12 straight times without violating your screen time policy.
Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook by Kim Smith (Available October 6)
The Flat Rabbit
Spoiler: The titular character is, in fact, road kill and remains that way throughout the book — there’s no Wile E. Coyote reanimation happening. But that shouldn’t stop you from reading this touching tale with your kid. It handles a sensitive, existential question kids will invariably ask in a way that’s insightful, charming, and never talks down to them.
The Flat Rabbit by Bárður Oskarsson ($13)
Ages: 4 and up
Speaking of character-building discussions led by award-winning children’s book authors, the third installment of this series by Kathryn Otoshi teaches the values of friendship and self-discovery. You probably could handle that on your own, but you probably couldn’t do it using only brushstrokes of numerals on white pages that manage to succeed as both minimalist art and captivating storytellers.
Two by Kathryn Otoshi ($15)
Ages: 4 and up
The Little Gardener
This book uses the hard work of gardening as a metaphor for the importance of persisting despite the odds, and requires considerably less work on your part than teaching your kids that same lesson with an actual garden. Also, author Emily Hughes’ debut, Wild, was critically praised as a 21st century version of Where The Wild Things Are, so you can probably trust her.
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes ($14, Pre-order)
Why Dogs Have Wet Noses
Next up from acclaimed Norwegian children’s book author Øyvind Torseter and Brooklyn-based Enchanted Lion Books is a brand new take on an old story. Apparently, the only animal on Noah’s Ark that didn’t bring a mate was a scruffy old dog … who just happens to wind up saving the whole enterprise (before somehow getting written out of the Bible).
Why Dogs Have Wet Noses by Øyvind Torseter and Kenneth Steven ($12)
Henri Matisse: Meet The Artist!
The most recent in a series that introduces kids to master artists through intricate pop-ups, slide-outs, and other movable pieces. Presumably, the forthcoming installment starring Van Gogh will teach your kids to join you in horrible “I’m all ears” puns from a very early age.
Henri Matisse: Meet The Artist! by Patricia Geis ($20)