I once heard an editor say she wanted the following in pictures books:
- unique settings
- memorable characters
- emotionally engaging
I doubt every picture book needs humor or a unique setting, although those are great of course, but I bet the ones that last are the ones where we remember the characters and our emotions are stirred.
In honor of the first annual Picture Book Month, here is a sampling of picture books where characters have pulled my emotional strings in one way or another:
These I first read to my daughters:
• Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
• Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban; illustrated by Lillian Hoban
• Crictor by Tomi Ungerer
• Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion; illustrated by Margaret Graham
• Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
• Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
• The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
• Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
• The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
One my youngest daughter loved, that I actually found a bit odd:
• Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch; illustrated by Sheila McGraw
These I first read to my grandsons:
• First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg; illustrated by Judith Dufour Love
• Library Lil by Suzanne Williams; illustrated by Stephen Kellogg
• The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman; illustrated by Marla Frazee
Others I love:
• Big Bad Wolves at School by Stephen Krensky; illustrated by Brad Sneed
• Coyote Steals the Blanket by Janet Stevens
• Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
• Mrs. Biddlebox by Marla Frazee
• The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill; illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
• See You Later, Alligator! by Laura McGee Kvasnosky
• The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner; illustrated by Jonathan Lambert
After making this list, I’ve come to the conclusion I’m not reading enough recent picture books. Time to visit the bookstore!
Here are some Best Picture Book lists:
49 brilliant picture books from the past 5 years as chosen by award winning illustrators
Best Picture Books 2010: David Wiesner, Jon J. Muth, Louise Yates and Other Spectacular Illustrators Honored – 10 from the Huffington Post
The Best 25 Picture Books of 2010! – books4yourkids.com
From ‘Brothers Grimm’ to ‘Stuck,’ the 11 Best Picture Books of 2011 – The Atlantic
Best picture books of 2011 – Lindsay Weiss on babycenter.com
Are you sharing your favorite picture books? Or giving them as presents next month?
One thought on “Picture Book Month”
Classic picture books are still great, but you left out one I think is important. I’ve read Where the Wild Things Are to hundreds of kids and almost all of them loved it and wanted to hear it again.
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