Top 10 Picture Books
It’s no longer Tuesday, and it turns out that the theme was really Top Ten Favorites of X Genre – but Cecelia over at the Adventures of Cecilia Bedelia put together an inspiring list of her favorite picture books. I put together this list of favorites yesterday, but didn’t quite manage to get it posted.
Picture books are a wonderful kind of book that can work better than any other for a broad range of ages – even books with texts written for the very, very young can be illustrated with details to keep the adult reading them interested. Picture books are some of the first books I started buying for myself in high school – I’d get my everyday reading from the library, but buy beautiful picture books to look at over and over again. These books are listed roughly in the order in which I’d introduce them to children, from babies to toddlers to preschoolers and early elementary-aged children, and includes books I remember from my own childhood as well as reading to my little brother, cousins, and my own children.
Hush Little Baby illustrated by Marla Frazee. (1999) One of the very first books we bought our son because, even as a baby, he asked for it daily for weeks. Frazee tells a funny story of desperate parents and a slightly well-meaning big sister, set in historic Appalacia.
Everywhere Babies by Susan Mayer. Illustrated by Marla Frazee. (2001) Beautiful rhyming text follows a diverse cast of babies through their first year. I could have put this one in my Tearjerkers list, too, because that first birthday party at the end gets me every time.
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. (1978) A charming book I’ve read to lots of small children. The text alone is simple enough for little ones, but the element of hide-and-seek makes it good for older ones, as well.
There Are No Cats in This Book by Viviane Schwarz. (2010) This is a more recent favorite – but when my children want a book renewed, and ask for it again months later, and it’s a hit read aloud both to preschool and 2/3 classes – you know it’s a solid picture book.
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis. (2009) This is another one we bought due to popular demand after borrowing from the library, and that was a hit with the classroom, too. In a charming blend of real life and imagination, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy find a superpowered way to find something they both want to play.
Animalia by Graeme Base. (1987) I bought this for myself a long time ago, when I was supposed to be too old for picture books. Base’s gorgeously paintings for each letter of the alphabet are so detailed that I spent hours looking at them, but the text aimed at more traditional alphabet audiences is a lot of fun, too.
Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman. (1983) This is my first favorite illustrators. The pictures are beautifully composed and detailed, but the people have such believable expressions, and there’s usually a cat or a small child looking directly out at you to draw you into the picture. Here, Little Red is completely believable as a four-year-old almost old enough to carry out an errand without getting distracted. This particular book has been a favorite with my children, but it’s also symbolic of the many other beautifully illustrated fairy tale picture books I’ve read and added to my personal library over the years. Maybe next time a list of favorite fairy tale picture books!
What are your favorite picture books? Or which genre would you choose to do a Top 10 of?