I'm the biggest thing in the ocean by Kevin Sherry. Kevin Sherry is the local hero behind the achingly cool Squidfire t-shirts. And I have to say, great illustrators do not always great kids' books make (I better type fast, I think the Syntax Squad is about to break down my door), but I have read this book out loud to a batch of under-tens, and the one joke, which takes the entire book to set up, lands like a dumptruck full of firecrackers. Rolling on the floor laughing they were. And they loved the achingly clean and clever illustrations, which you've got to expect from Mr. Squid, all the way.
Me! Me! ABC, words by Harriet Ziefert, characters by Ingri von Bergen. Little flat soft stitched-vinyl toys saying "Admire me!" "Buckle me!" "Call me!" A little too modern-daze self-referential / neurotic for your average 4-year-old, but your 34-year-old otaku brother will love it. Can widdle Ethan say, "chokeproof brand extension"? (Love those funny Daddy Types!)
Ryan Heshka's ABC Spookshow. Ho boy, that Ryan Heshka is Mister Sophisticato - he's like Seth on, like, too much Prozac. Prozac mixed with uppers, maybe, for that happy-frantic feeling. I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm expecting that they'll have a copy for me at Atomic Books.
365 Penguins, by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet. I want the pages of this book, done all in black, orange and blue, printed up as fabric so that I can have a skirt. The illustrations are energetic, dense, blocky, expressive, retro, and somehow strike me as Scandinavian, even though the authors are French (or possibly Belgian). The story is cute too, with arithmetic problems that you can do (or not) and a brief environmental message at the end.