Arlo's Book Club: Back to School

For Red Cap Cards:

Arlo is at it again, with some fantastic book picks for your kiddos' burgeoning imaginations, in this edition of Arlo's Book Club. If you're gearing up for the start of school too, and are out picking up pencils, notebooks, and five thousand glue sticks, make sure that you swing by the book store or local library to check these out as well. Our theme is Back to School--but we all know that not everything worthwhile is taught in the classroom. Museums, parks, different countries and cultures, or the outside world can offer an education that is just as important as what is taught in school. Read on for more:


School's First Day of School
by Adam Rex, with pictures by Christian Robinson
Roaring Book Press, 2016
Suggested ages: Preschool-Grade 1

We are so proud of our own Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson, for this amazing (and adorable) achievement. School's First Day of School tells the story of Frederick Douglass Elementary, a brand new elementary school who has first-day jitters about having kids attend classes inside of him. Related through conversation with his special friend, the janitor, this creative story is fabulous for any kid who is nervous about starting school, making friends, or expressing their feelings in a group. 


One Thousand Things (Learn with Little Mouse Series)
by Anna Kövecses
Wide Eyed Editions, 2015
Suggested ages: Preschool-Grade 1

This little gem most likely works best for the younger set, but even as adults, we are enamored by the illustration and modern, quirky aesthetic that One Thousand Things displays. Written and illustrated by Hungarian graphic designer, Anna Kövecses, this book teaches children ways to distinguish some common terms, phrases and concepts--one thousand, to be exact. 


There Is a Tribe of Kids
By Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press, 2016

Suggested Ages: Kindergarten - 3
Winner of the Kate Greenaway award, There Is a Tribe of Kids was written and illustrated by famed illustrator of classic picture books like The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! and The Stinky Cheese Man & other Fairly Stupid Tales. It follows a child on his journey to a "tribe of kids." On the way he learns the terminology for different groups of animals and other natural wonders, through experience and wonder. A beautiful book.


The Teacher's Pet
by Anica Mrose Rissi, with illustration by Zachariah O'Hora
Disney-Hyperion, 2017
Suggested ages: 4-7 years

Zachariah O'Hora lends his bold & bright illustration style to a new story in, The Teacher's Pet, with words by Anica Mrose Rissi. In this story, the children's teacher, Mr. Stricter, is slightly confused about what constitutes the perfect classroom pet. Kids will feel empowered by having a narrative edge over the grown-up character in the book, and the details are laugh-out-loud. Tongue-in-cheek warning: spicy language abounds with terms like "farts" and "snot-rocket." Love this one!  


A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum
By Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud
Chronicle Books, 2017
Suggested ages: 6-9

We've included one of Cali & Chaud's previous installments of the "A Funny Thing Happened..." series in one of our previous Arlo's Book Clubs (see here) and were excited to find out that another book in the series had been released. A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum picks up with another tall-tale told by extremely unreliable narrator, Henry, about his trip to the museum. The book is over-the-top with wild museum antics and parents can tell kids about certain exhibits as they read through the story. The perfect trickery: kids will learn while laughing!


Children's Book Inspiration: Botanical Worlds

For Red Cap Cards:

"The Wild Flower's Song" by William Blake

As I wander'd the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a wild flower
Singing a song.

I slept in the Earth
In the silent night,
I murmur'd my fears
And I felt delight.

In the morning I went
As rosy as morn,
To seek for new joy;
But O! met with scorn.

We are especially fond of all things wild: foliage, botanicals, wildflowers, umbrage. Nothing is more beautiful than nature's palette, and in turn, artistic depictions of it. Today, we are excited to show some love to artists of the botanical--whether they be floral designers, artists, or picture book illustrators. Look below for some of our favorites, and make sure you go for a walk outdoors soon to soak it all in.

First up, Pittsburgh's The Farmer's Daughter Flowers, whose Instagram is a constant source of floral inspiration. We were so inspired by their photos, that we paid homage to them in Carolyn Gavin's Red Cap Cards collection:


by Emily Hughes
Emily Hughes's story about a feral girl who is taken from her "wild" life and placed into modern society is full of glorious landscapes and visual worlds that are brimming with beautiful foliage and woodsy willows. Hughes is a genius at capturing devil-may-care landscapes, and this one takes the cake.


Miss Rumphius
Story and pictures by Barbara Cooney

This classic picture book tells the tale of Alice, who finds her way through travels and life experiences to her life purpose: planting beauty (via purple lupine) wherever she goes. Barbara Cooney is a master illustrator (you can see her Master's Showcase here) and she depicts the North American tundra with colorful precision. 


by Blexbolex
This stunning, modern children's design book offers illustrations on all matter of the seasons, from firefighters to snow, to Spring Fever and torrent. The modern depictions of the natural world are fascinating! Plus, this one allows children' imaginations to grow and connect concepts via a main theme.


The Dead Bird
by Margaret Wise Brown with illustration by our own Red Cap Cards artist, Christian Robinson

This classic M.W. Brown picture book features a story that focuses on the opposite of natural growth: natural death. In the story, children witness nature's ebb and flow, from life, to growth, to death, and to a return to the earth. The children pick flowers to place on the little dead bird's grave, and we learn about the beautiful process of death and dying.


A Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson with illustration by Gyo Fujisawa
Another classic, this collection of poems includes sweet stories about childhood, the outdoors, and the magic of the world. The illustrations by Gyo Fujisawa are meticulously curated, with details to rival your own garden.


Over in the Meadow
by John Longstaff with illustration by Feodor Rojankovsky
Over in the Meadow is an illustrative journey through the meadow and the homes of the animals who live there. From foxes to birds, to spiders and chipmunks, the animals and insects of the meadow rely on this botanical wonderland for their livelihood. Gorgeous illustrations by Feodor Rojankovsky detail prose by John Longstaff.


I Can Fly
by Ruth Krauss with illustration by Mary Blair
Another example of modern illustration comes from this classic Golden Book by Ruth Krauss, with illustration by Mary Blair. Mary Blair is a favorite of ours (see her Master's Showcase here), and we love her bold and modern depictions of the lively outdoors. Pastel florals, vibrant meadowscapes, and colorfully simplistic arrangements make I Can Fly come alive. 


Arlo's Book Club: Fresh Pickings for Spring


Brand new books are blooming all around, and we are excited to present you with another edition of ARLO’S BOOK CLUB! This time around, we are looking at fresh pickings for Spring, and focusing on character. Character is perhaps the most important element in children’s storytelling. It teaches kids about the world and people around them, how to make good decisions and how to be brave and silly. We picked a few books that exemplify how creating a great character can really take the reader soaring. Take a look, and happy reading!


by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
The newest collaboration from MAC BARNETT and our own Red Cap artist, JON KLASSEN, is about a mischievous little triangle and the lengths he’ll go for a laugh. We also meet his foil, a Square, who teaches kids a valuable lesson about going with the flow. Of course, we’re in love with the illustration–classic Klassen, conveying depth and expression with darker, shaded colors, plus a few pops of icy blue that refreshes the page. Pick this one up right away!


by Carson Ellis
We could go on and on about the merits of Du Is Tak? by CARSON ELLIS. The story is centered on a group of insects who live in a colorful and intricate outdoor world. The real character in this book, however, is the language. The little bugs speak no human language, and we as the reader are tasked with using the illustration to decode their speech, like a child might learn to decode ours. By the end of the story, we are fluent in their language. A brilliant, fantastical story.


by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson
It’s finally here! The “sequel” to GASTON by Kelly DiPucchio and Red Cap Cards artist, CHRISTIAN ROBINSON, is entitled Antoinette, and tells the story of Gaston’s future spouse and her quest to find herself. We get to see more of the city of Paris (fun!) and follow Antoinette as she finds out that everyone has a talent, and that hers is very important. We’re so glad to see these sweet faces again.


by Margaret Wise Brown with illustration by Greg Pizzoli
It’s difficult for Margaret Wise Brown to do wrong in our eyes, and we were delighted to see that her story was recently refreshed and reprinted with illustration by our pal, GREG PIZZOLI. North, South, East, West tells the story of a sweet little bird who leaves the nest for adventure and then finds her way back home. This one is for anyone with a wandering soul.


by Keith Negley
A little boy is suspicious that his dad used to be cool. How do we know? We get a glimpse of a few hints: a motorcycle collecting leaves in the driveway, a drum kit hidden away in the closet, sleeve tattoos and loud music. Bursting with color and sweet-as-can-be, this story allows the reader in on a secret that little boy never does figure out: that his dad used to be “cool” but would give it all up for love. We adore this one from author/illustrator, KEITH NEGLEY.