Picture book sequels being released this winter include the return of squabbling friends, trouble-prone characters, and identity crises.

Thunder Pug

by Kim Norman, illus. by Keika Yamaguchi (Sterling, Jan. 8, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-4549-2358-9)

In Puddle Pig, Norman introduced Percy the pug, who acts a lot like his best friend, Petunia the pig, especially when sitting in a mud puddle. In the second story, when Petunia becomes a prize winner, Percy tries on a new identity—that of a caped superhero. Yamaguchi captures the unlikely duo’s buoyant personalities in her light cartoon art.

Lola Dutch: When I Grow Up

by Kenneth Wright, illus. by Sarah Jane Wright (Bloomsbury, Jan. 15, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-68119-554-4)

Lola Dutch is a girl with a 1920s-style bob, who lives with a comforting group of animal friends. In the follow-up to Lola Dutch, she can’t decide what to be when she grows up (an opera singer? a judge?). The world is full of possibilities, the collaborators suggest, but sometimes the best thing to do is embrace the moment.

Where Is My Balloon?

by Ariel Bernstein, illus. by Scott Magoon (Simon & Schuster, Jan. 22, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-5344-1451-8)

In I Have a Balloon, Owl and Monkey grappled with feelings of covetousness and jealousy over a red balloon. In their second book, told entirely through dialogue, Monkey accidentally pops the balloon and offers potential stand-ins (an orange pillow, red chair, and fire truck). Readers will have fun calling Monkey’s bluff, until the moment of truth leads to a blow-up, then a solidifying of the characters’ friendship.

Misunderstood Shark: Friends Don’t Eat Friends

by Ame Dyckman, illus. by Scott Magoon (Orchard, Jan. 29, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-338-11388-4)

In Shark’s second deep sea story, following Misunderstood Shark, he’s still trying to clean up his bad reputation. It doesn’t help that he just ate Bob, a jellyfish and host of “Underwater World with Bob.” Magoon illustrates in a fun, cheeky cartoon style, but readers will also learn some intriguing facts about sharks and the ocean.

The Good Egg

by Jory John, illus. by Pete Oswald (HarperCollins, Feb. 1, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-06-286600-4)

A bespectacled egg is a “verrrrrry good egg.” The egg proves it with anecdotal evidence, while also lamenting how hard it has been to keep other eggs in line. John offers a good-humored allegory about letting go of the need to be perfect, in this follow-up to The Bad Seed, in which a change of perspective led a character to a newfound sense of self.

William Wakes Up

by Linda Ashman, illus. by Chuck Groenink (Disney-Hyperion, Feb. 5, $17.99, ISBN 978-148472283-1)

In Winter Nap, Ashman’s child character napped alongside his gentle, woodland companions in his cozy cabin. Now, it’s spring, and time for William and his snoozing friends (including a bear, chipmunk, porcupine, and groundhog) to “rise and shine” and welcome the season with a picnic.

Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants

by Tammi Sauer, illus. by Dave Mottram (Doubleday, Feb. 5, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-5247-1933-3)

The loquacious protagonist first introduced in Wordy Birdy takes a camping excursion with her forest friends, who are long accustomed to her chatty nature. Wordy Birdy may be exasperating, but she saves the day by befuddling a cougar who visits their campsite. The returning cartoon characters remind readers that friendship is about accepting someone for exactly who they are.

What If…? Then We…Short, Very Short, Shorter-than-Ever Possibilities

by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illus. by Fred Koehler (Boyds Mills Press, Feb. 12, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-62979-909-4)

Using conditional statements, Dotlich poses a fantastical set of scenarios for two polar bear friends. The fun, outlandish, and sometimes scary circumstances demonstrate the bears’ ability to adjust to new circumstances, show bravery, and find strength through friendship. Dotlich’s second book in a series, (following One Day, The End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-Than-Ever Stories) invites readers to imagine their own possibilities, while exploring the concept of cause and effect.

The Hi, Jack series by Mac Barnett and Greg Pizzoli has been postponed until later in 2019.