Here we round up new and forthcoming children’s titles, including a book about an unlikely pageant contestant, another about a monster in love, a picture book featuring odd sisters, and a penguin who faces his fears.

Week of December 19

Rot, the Cutest in the World! by Ben Clanton. Atheneum, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4814-6762-9. In this picture book, Rot is not the cutest in the world. He’s a “mutant potato” with stick legs, four straggling hairs, and a substantial unibrow. What he does have is confidence, and when he sees a sign advertising the Cutest in the World Contest, he’s in.

Valensteins by Ethan Long. Bloomsbury, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-61963-433-6. The monsters and animals from 2015’s Fright Club are back, and one of them, Fran K. Stein, has love on his mind.

Lucy Loves Goosey by Linda Joy Singleton, illus. by Rob McLurkan. Little Bee, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-4998-0396-9. This picture book is a story of unrequited sororal love: Lucy (a dog) reveres Goosey (a goose), and considers her a big sister.

Week of December 26

Be Brave, Little Penguin by Giles Andreae, illus. by Guy Parker-Rees. Orchard, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-338-15039-1. A young penguin faces his fear in this rhyming tale from the team behind the bestselling Giraffes Can’t Dance.

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-544-93205-0. In this YA novel, when Lily (who has ADHD) and Abelard (who has Asperger’s syndrome) get sent to the vice principal’s office after a classroom incident, something sparks between them and leads to an unexpected romance.

I Love You for Miles and Miles by Alison Goldberg, illus. by Mike Yamada. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-374-30443-0. Forget comparing thee to a summer’s day—Goldberg’s first children’s book uses a truckload of vehicle metaphors to convey the heights and depths of a mother’s love for her child.

This Is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins, illus. by Lucy Ruth Cummins. Chronicle, $14.99; ISBN 978-1-4521-5374-2. Higgins (A Rambler Steals Home) follows a boy’s unconventional courtship of one of his classmates, presenting her with a few humble gifts that are a far cry from mass-produced, glitter-laden cards.

The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-5247-7226-0. Publishing ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March, this picture book focuses on one of the most recognizable images from the demonstrations: the pink knit hat.

Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99; 978-1-250-16872-6. In this picture book, newcomer Neal entreats readers to recognize the power that words possess.

Love from Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. Warne, $8.99; ISBN 978-0-241-30134-0. This pastel-palette picture book features original artwork by Potter, in which the lagomorph lauds love.

How Many Hugs? by Heather Swain, illus. by Steven Henry. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99; ISBN 978-1-250-06651-0. Do more arms mean better hugs? That’s the question raised in this lighthearted contemplation of animal intimacy, a picture book in rhyme, which is Swain and Henry’s follow-up to All Kinds of Kisses.

For more children’s and YA titles on sale throughout the month of December, check out PW’s full On-Sale Calendar.