A group of farm animals and other creatures find A Home in the Barn (Harper, $17.99) as winter arrives in this newly-published work from Margaret Wise Brown, who punctuates gentle prose describing the animals coming together with a memorable rhyming verse repeated throughout. Calming scenes of animals at rest contrast with moments of activity (a pony jumping, a calf being born) that will pique young readers’s interest, especially in the hands of the legendary Jerry Pinkney and his detailed and engaging illustrations. This charming book will foster a sense of warmth, safety and togetherness for the entire family. Ages 3-5.
Lu (Atheneum, $16.99), the self-assured co-captain of the Defenders, unexpectedly faces some hurdles as the track season winds down: he’s about to become a big brother, he’s made a startling discovery about the relationship between his father and his coach, and he’s suddenly having difficulty jumping actual hurdles. It’s going to take more than a little lightning if Lu truly wants to win it all. Jason Reynolds triumphantly concludes his Track quartet with a humorous and heartfelt story about facing your fears and finding the family that you didn’t know you had. Ages 12-15.
Sally Warner’s accessible EllRay Jakes series now has a little sister of its own! See the world through Alfie Jakes’s eyes in Absolutely Alfie and the Furry Purry Secret (Puffin, $5.99 PB/Viking, $14.99 HB) and Absolutely Alfie and the First Week Friends (Puffin, $5.99 PB/Viking, $14.99 HB). Shearry Malone’s playful illustrations add extra appeal to Alfrie’s quest to break her family’s NO PETS rule, as well as her attempt to bring two friends together at the beginning of a new school year. Ages 6-9