Some familiar faces and well-known authors return this fall with new adventures, guiding young readers through their first steps beyond picture books.
Let’s Have a Sleepover! by Norm Feuti (Scholastic, Sept. 3): Hedgehog has invited his friend Henry to his first sleepover. Exciting! But Henry is anxious about sleeping in a tent in Hedgehog’s backyard and a bit embarrassed about needing to bring his teddy along. Feuti’s colorful illustrations and compassionate storytelling are well matched for young readers anxious about that first night away from home.
Rafi and Rosi: Music! by Lulu Delacre(Lee and Low, Sept. 17): Delacre’s two sibling tree frogs are once again exploring their native Puerto Rico, this time taking in three of the island’s native musical styles: bomba, plena, and salsa. Music is a perfect subject for the pair, and as with the previous books in the series, Delacre thoughtfully blends details of Puerto Rican history and culture along with her characters’ antics.
Snail & Worm All Day by Tina Kügler (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept. 24): Kügler’s playful (if slow-moving) pals return in three brief, witty tales involving a bad day, a sleepy turtle, and a bedtime story. The pair’s upbeat and silly repartee is sure to provoke a few giggles, and Kügler gives the duo’s patch of the wild a sprightly, inviting feel.
Who Is the Mystery Reader? by Mo Willems (Hyperion, Oct. 1): Willems’ rambunctious batch of squirrels—Zip, Zap, Wowie, Zowie, and the rest—have come back determined to start reading. Along the way, they pick up a few lessons about the history of writing and bookmaking and share a few intentionally groanworthy jokes. (“What is the best way to start reading?” “With a letter ‘R’!”)
Penny and Her Sled by Kevin Henkes (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, Oct. 29): Penny, Henkes’ gentle but adventurous mouse heroine, is ready for winter fun, but Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. What can you do with a sled when there’s no snow? Penny works out a few clever compromises that help her manage her disappointment. Kirkus calls it a “charming tale that’s acutely in touch with a child’s thinking and emotions.”
Mark Athitakis is the author of The New Midwest and a regular contributor to Kirkus.