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The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors

Chris Barton (Charlesbridge)

The unlikely subjects of this fascinating picture book biography exemplify ingenuity and dedication to chasing one's dreams.

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The Curious Garden

Peter Brown (Little, Brown)

With humor and some showstopping spreads, Brown offers a green fable about the rebirth of a city, without a hint of preachiness.

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Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales

Lucy Cousins (Candlewick)

Moving beyond the geniality of Maisy, Cousins expertly draws out the primitive emotions at the core of Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and six other beloved stories.

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Dinotrux

Chris Gall (Little, Brown)

Few things are more kid-pleasing than trucks and dinosaurs--put them together in a raucous, prehistoric hybrid and you have picture-book gold.

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John Brown: His Fight for Freedom

John Hendrix (Abrams)

Hendrix's powerful, exaggerated imagery in this picture book biography is ideally suited to the life of this controversial American abolitionist.

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Stagecoach Sal

Deborah Hopkinson (Disney-Hyperion)

Blithe storytelling and slyly humorous art give this story of an utterly confident, quick-thinking 19th-century heroine plenty of pioneer spirit.

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The Lion & the Mouse

Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown)

Not a single word from Aesop's fable of friendship appears in Pinkney's version, set in the Serengeti. This isn't a problem since the lovingly detailed interplay between the protagonists says it all.

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Otis

Loren Long (Philomel)

Long's story of the friendship between a tractor and a young calf exudes a comforting sense of nostalgia and a gentleness of spirit.

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Crow Call

Lois Lowry (Scholastic Press)

Newbery Medalist Lowry's first picture book, drawn from a childhood story about her father's return from war, is poignant and quietly moving, with a timely resonance.

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Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World

Marilyn Nelson (Dial)

Gloriously evocative poetry and paintings create a stirring tribute to an all-female swing band that made spirits soar during an era of war and prejudice.

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Duck! Rabbit!

Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Chronicle)

A simple, fixed design and two combative, off-screen voices make this book and its central optical illusion--is that animal a duck or a rabbit?-- a delight.

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All the World

Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Marla Fraz (S&S/Beach Lane)

A subtle undercurrent of interconnectedness and a spare elegance make this picture book more than just a gentle ode to families of all shapes, sizes and kinds (which it assuredly is).

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