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10 Fiction Picture Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2012

2012 may go down as the year of the picture book sequel. Aside from the Mo Willems offering I mention below, expect sequels to The Dunderheads, I Must Have Bobo, LMNO Peas, Say Hello to Zorro, Oh No!, Dinotrux, A Pet for Petunia and a whole bunch more.

Borrowing heavily (see: stealing) from A Fuse #8 Production (who recently posted 10 Middle Grade Novels I’m Looking Forward to in 2012), here is an unscientifically assembled group of ten picture books that have me excited for the coming year (or at least as far ahead as I see).

Are they any good? Who knows? My money would be on “probably”, but you’d be wise to investigate further before making any purchases.

But let’s get on with the list…

Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
June | Chronicle

“It’s a book!” “It’s a game!”. Coming from two proven picture book pros, you can count me (and I’m guessing, a lot of kids) in.

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
April | Hyperion
What, you expect me to not be excited for this? The next installment in the classic series is likely to hit the bestseller chart as hard as the storytime circuit.
Oink-a-Doodle-Moo by Jef Czekaj
June | Balzer + Bray
With 2011’s Cat Secrets, Czekaj cemented his status as a guy to check for – if for no other reason than to see what weird stuff he’ll next commit to page. This book, about a barnyard game of telephone, seems to suit his style quite well.
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu
June | Dial
If you’ve read Wonder Bear or Bunny Days, you know about the wildly creative Tao Nyeu. Her books mix cute and quirk like no one else. This book, containing four tales about friendship looks promising.
Another Brother by Matthew Cordell
January | Feiwel & Friends
This one’s right around the corner. There are other “new sibling” books out there, but Cordell takes things to a ridiculous extreme with this family of sheep. Plus this sucker already has two starred reviews, from Kirkus and School Library Journal.
Rapido’s Next Stop by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet
April | Abrams
From the creators of 365 Penguins (aka: probably the tallest book in your library). This story follows a delivery van through a city, with flaps lifting to show the inside of buildings.  Looks good from here.
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton
March | Candlewick Press
A good dog gone bad story with some of the boldest artwork you’ll see. While I think the whole retro illustration thing hits adults more than kids, I’m looking forward to see if the story is as striking as the visuals.
Larf by Ashley Spires
April | Kids Can Press
Larf is a Sasquach – perhaps the only one. And he’s pretty content with it. As a fan of Spires’ work on the Binky graphic novel series, this looks to have the same brand of gentle humor.
Wolf Won’t Bite by Emily Gravett
March | Simon & Schuster
Is any year complete without some Emily Gravett? A Brit with a catalog of some of the most memorable picture books of the last decade, Gravett gives us a trio of pigs and a wolf that won’t bite (at least that’s what the pigs say). This one may have potential read aloud implications.
The Obstinate Pen by Frank W. Dormer
April | Henry Holt
The author of Socksquatch brings more funny with this story of a pen that refuses to cooperate. Nothing like some good-natured jabs to get the kids chuckling.
Extra Special Bonus Pick:
Show Me a Story! Why Picture Books Matter: Coversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators
Compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus
April | Candlewick Press
Since we’re talking picture books here, I’m excited to take a look at this spring offering from Candlewick. Any time you get Willems, Weisner, Henkes, Raschka, Wells, Carle, and Oxenbury in one place, I’m listening. A collection of interviews assembled by children’s lit historian Leonard S. Marcus.
Anything I missed that you’re looking forward to?
(Top Image: ‘10‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/35468141611@N01/3641737380)
About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Eric Carpenter says

    What about Mac Barnett’s upcoming PBs?
    EXTRA YARN illustrated by Jon Klassen comes out today (1/17)
    Chloe AND THE LION illustrated by Adam Rex is out April 3.

    • Good point, Eric – those both have me intrigued as well. Particularly Extra Yarn, which has a trio of starred reviews to its name already.

  2. I love that you love the funny books! And the delicious grown-up-pleasing art! These all look great!

    Also, I’m looking forward to teaching my 5-year-old niece the word “obstinate.”

  3. Hey, thanks very much for that, Travis! I hope you’ll enjoy!

  4. Thanks for this great post! I made sure the picture books you’re looking forward to are on my Book Release Calendar. https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=5n3m4522bidf16damifeio1g7k%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/Chicago

  5. I Guess some of us are lucky: I’ve already read Wolf won’t bite. I’ve read it in Quebec (Canada) last September. It’s already translated in french. Can someone explain me how it is possible?

  6. Thanks so much! So many of my favorite illustrators (and authors) on that list, especially Gravett, Cordell and Nyeu.

  7. With all that Cybils reading, I’m still collecting my thoughts on THIS year’s books!

    I will say that I am glad to see the last book, of which I knew nothing until this moment and now can most eagerly await!

  8. What about Kevin Henkes’ new mouse book? I love his mouse books and continue to use them with my elementary classes. I am excited to have a new title to share.

  9. Great list – now I’m excited! I would add Three Ninja Pigs, by my friend and debut author Corey Schwartz to that list (illustrated by Dan Santat).

  10. Thanks for this list! I didn’t know most of these were coming out. Yay!