The Tiny Tale of Little Pea, by Davide Cali, illustrated by Sébastien Mourrain (Kids Can, 32 pages, $18.99, ages 3-5)
Little Pea is so small he sleeps in a matchbox and his shoes are dolls’ hand-me-downs. But when he starts school, it seems he is too little. How will he ever make his way in life? Affectionate and optimistic, this offers all the delights of picturing a tiny person in a big world.
Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (Scholastic, 32 pages, $23.99, ages 4-6)
“Why am I me? If I were someone else, who would I be?” Good question! A girl and boy each ponder the unanswerable as their train speeds through an urban landscape. Vivid colour and human variety fairly flood these pages, deepening wonder and making this a beautiful book to muse on.
Yak and Dove, by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Esmé Shapiro (Tundra, 56 pages, $22.99, ages 4-7)
In the spirit of Frog and Toad and George and Martha, here are three short stories about two great friends — told completely in dialogue, making this a joyously tricky read-aloud, as well as funny and wise. Shapiro’s art creates a lavish, quasi-Tibetan fantasyland, a charming world of its own.
Feather, by Rémi Courgeon (Enchanted Lion, 36 pages, $25.95, ages 6-9)
Feather’s sick of being stuck doing chores for her dad and brothers, so she quits piano and takes up boxing. Once she’s won a prize fight, things change in her family . . . and Feather can go back to music. Courgeon’s art and design is spectacular — subtle, clever and in-your-face, as befits tenacious, musical Feather. Excellent.
Coyote Tales, by Thomas King, illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler (Groundwood, 60 pages, $16.95, ages 5-9)
Two trickster tales in one elegant and funny little volume. Coyote’s clued-outness and egotism make for sly slapstick humour (skunk pillow, anyone?) and noisy forest politics as Coyote sings down the Moon in one tale, and steals everyone’s suits in another. Stylish penand-ink drawings pick up beautifully on Coyote’s outsized personality.