A lot of customers come in asking for new releases in picture books, especially if they are buying presents and are trying to avoid getting something the child already has. Although I’ve been in the industry for years, keeping up with ‘what’s new in picture books’ is a Sisyphean task. Most people are familiar with the classics; new books don’t stay on the radar for very long; the competition is fierce; and only very few picture books gain a lasting status.
We do have a new book in our Fall window that surprised me, though. Initially I didn’t pay much attention to Those Darn Squirrels Fly South, written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, but when I finally got around to reading it, I laughed several times (Clarion, $16.99). Ostensibly about migration, as evident from the title, this books is also about friendship and aerodynamics. The illustrations excellently undercut the text in clever and snort-worthy ways. Salmieri has given each of the squirrels a delightful, independent personality, but they also function as a cohesive collective and can perform actions (giving a hug) as a singular unit. The old man’s fist shaking (those darn squirrels!) is tempered with their obvious affection for him (cf. the hug) and I look forward to seeing more of their (mis)adventures.