Picture book sequels and series additions pubbing this summer and early fall include timely, concept-driven titles and familiar characters from recent years, as well as decades past.

Anno’s Denmark

by Mitsumasa Anno (Aug. 1, Beautiful Feet Books, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-893103-76-4).

The first title in Anno’s travelogue picture book series, Anno’s Journey, was published in Tokyo in 1978. The Hans Christian Andersen Award winner has since created five subsequent titles, each unfolding in a distinctive international setting. In his sixth, the author-illustrator evokes the rich storytelling tradition of Denmark. Throughout Anno’s highly detailed, “scenes” of Danish countrysides and timeless cities, readers will spot characters and motifs from many fairy tales and dramatic works.

Barkus: Dog Dreams

by Patricia MacLachlan, illus. by Marc Boutavant (Aug. 7, Chronicle, $14.99, ISBN 9781-4521-1676-1)

Book two in the Barkus series sees the titular long-eared, goggle-eyed dog and his girl companion in five episodic chapters, each featuring a clear and engaging story arc. Boutavant packs personality into his bright, quirky art, while the blend of chapter and picture book formats offers a stepping stone for early readers.

Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses

by Susan and James Patterson, illus. by Hsinping Pan. (Aug. 27, Little, Brown/Patterson, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-316-48628-6)

The Pattersons previously collaborated on Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017), which introduced readers to sophisticated words. In the sequel, the authors name and describe lesser-known animals, such as the potoo bird, which “looks like a tree branch when it sits still,” the tree kangaroo, and the Tonkin monkey. Pan’s animal caricatures create an eye-catching display.

But Not the Armadillo

by Sandra Boynton (Sept. 4, Little Simon, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-4814-8100-7)

The sequel to Boynton’s 1982 board book, But Not the Hippopotamus, has been a long time coming. The first book featured a hippo character that was reluctant to join the crowd. On the last page of that book, Boynton introduced another outlander, Armadillo, who stars in this new story. As Bookshelf previously reported, 2018 is a big year for Boynton, who has a number of other books hitting the shelves.

Noodleheads Find Something Fishy

by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss (Sept. 4, Holiday House, $15.99, ISBN 978-0-8234-3937-9)

The titular “Noodleheads” are pretty much what they sound like. But with their big, expressive eyes bulging out of their macaroni heads, the moniker doesn’t give their cuteness justice. In their third early chapter book rendered in a graphic novel style, Mac and Mac take a fishing expedition. Geisel Honorees Arnold, Hamilton, and Weiss add an educational element, with authors’ notes about the origins of each chapter vignette.

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness

by Anastasia Higginbotham (Sept. 4, Dottir Press, $18.95, ISBN 978-9843-4000-7)

Higginbotham’s Ordinary Terrible Things series continues with a discussion of whiteness. In an introduction, the author explains that she wrote the book for her white sons in response to a memorable quote from Toni Morrison. Higginbotham’s series tackles weighty issues through collage artwork featuring children and adults, and through honest, plain-spoken examination. “Skin color makes a difference in how the world sees you and in how you see the world,” she writes. The series, which is published by a small press with a feminist focus, has been consistently well-reviewed.

Holes in the Sky

by Patricia Polacco (Sept. 11, Putnam, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-5247-3948-5)

Polacco first introduced the characters Trish (based on Polacco’s childhood self) and warm-hearted Miss Eula in Chicken Sunday, which was published in 1992. The author offers another autobiographical picture book that picks up with Trish as she adjusts to an unfamiliar California neighborhood in the aftermath of losing her beloved Babushka.

I Am Neil Armstrong

by Brad Meltzer, illus. by Christopher Eliopoulos (Sept. 11, Dial, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-7352-2872-6)

Meltzer’s bestselling Ordinary People Change the World Series continues with this biography of astronaut Neil Armstrong. As with other installments, Meltzer emphasizes that Armstrong was once a child with ordinary dreams that came into fruition through dedication and hard work. Eliopoulos illustrates in accessible, cartoon graphics and in comic spreads. The small format titles provide an accessible window into history for younger readers.

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise

by David Ezra Stein (Sept. 11, Candlewick, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-7636-8842-4)

Chicken’s first outing—Interrupting Chicken (2016)—earned Stein a Caldecott Honor. In the sequel, the eponymous bird is delighted to have learned a new concept from his teacher, “the elephant of surprise,” and is eager to locate said elephant in his storybooks. Though his father informs him that it’s actually “element of surprise,” that doesn’t stop Chicken from interrupting each story his father reads with an elephant encounter. Stein again shows mastery in building suspense before each humorous reveal.

Giraffe Problems

by Jory John, illus. by Lane Smith (Sept. 25, Random House, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-5247-7203-1)

Edward, the titular giraffe in John’s follow-up to Penguin Problems (2016), has a lot on his shoulders: specifically a lot of neck. Edward mournfully compares himself to other animals and is convinced that everyone is staring at him. Cyrus—a turtle—has just the opposite problem. With school starting, readers may find much to relate to in the animals’ tendency to compare themselves with others.