Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
Because of an Acorn is a basic nonfiction picture book illustrating the connections that exist between all living things. The minimal text is great for preschoolers, though it is not enough in every instance to drive home the connection the authors are trying to make. (Miss Muffet needed a lot of explanation and clarification as we read.) The illustrations are immersive and appealing, and they portray the realities of the natural world (a hawk capturing a snake, for example) honestly, but not too graphically. I liked the book better upon a second reading, but I felt that I could have used a bit more text in the main part of the story. There are detailed notes at the end of the book, but they were too dry even for me, let alone for a child.
Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Real Cowboys by Kate Hoefler, illustrated by Jonathan Bean
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Finally, They All Saw a Cat has an interesting concept, but the text is derivative of Margaret Wise Brown (see Four Fur Feet) and the illustrations, though wonderfully appealing, are just not enough on their own to sustain a picture book. All along, it feels as though the rhythm and repetition of the text are building up to something, but at the climax of the book, when the cats sees his own reflection, there is no satisfying resolution. The reader is left there at the height of the story, waiting for something more - and it never comes. This would have worked much better as a wordless book. As I've said in many picture book reviews on Goodreads, not all illustrators should write. Wenzel should really do the illustrations for a book authored by a talented writer. This is probably going to win the Caldecott - or at least receive an honor - but that will be a disappointment for me.