Seeking Your Input – Picture Books


Recently, I spent a week hanging out with my sister and her family. My adorable, energetic 4 year old niece loves books. YAY! I am enjoying sending her books, and then getting to read them to her when I visit. While there. she brought me other books for me to read. Books I haven’t heard of by authors I’ve never heard of. That wasn’t too surprising because I don’t really keep up with picture books. But, I have to admit, I was a little appalled by what I ended up reading to her. One book used the word “stupid” in a name-calling way. I’m no prude, and I have no issues with 4-letter words in YA novels, but when reading to a very young child, I don’t want to introduce name-calling, mean words. (She already knew the word, as most 4yos do, but still!) Another book talked about robbers. My niece looked up at me and asked, “What’s a robber?” She already has issues with being scared of things so I didn’t know how to answer. She basically answered it herself and said, “Probably like a monster.” I didn’t say anything else except to tell her that she didn’t have to worry about them. Ugh. And then there were a couple more books that were just so poorly written that I wanted to fling them across the room.

In the next couple of months, I’ll be featuring some great picture books. Ones I love and wouldn’t hesitate to share with my niece. I’d love to hear your recommendations for pictures books, outside of the classics we all know and love. If you would be so kind, please tell me one or two pictures books you love and buy/recommend for youngsters and why. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems – Okay, I realize that most everyone knows about this book, but I do love it. I love the artistry and I love the sweet story of a child losing beloved stuffed animal, and then being reunited. A happy ending!

2. Except If by Jim Averbeck – I’m a sucker for cute and the dino in this story is more than cute! The story is clever and simple, following an egg that could hatch into a baby bird, except if it becomes a baby snake….and so on! Kids will have fun guessing the “except if” part and being surprised.

3. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen – I love this book about a bear searching for his hat and the animals who respond. I love the fun ending. I think for picture books, I love simple and humorous with great illustrations.

4. Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout – I featured this book and author here. I’ll bet this book would keep a child entertained on long drives! 😉

Other types of picture books I love are “story” picture books – the kind I don’t see a lot of these days. Multicultural books like those by Allen Say and Peacebound Trains by Haemi Balgassi.

And I love food-related pictures books, like Dumping Soup by Jama Rattigan

and Bee-Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park!

So, you see, there are so many wonderful pictures books out there to enjoy, to share, to buy! This is not my complete list of picture books I love/buy.  I suspect that many adults buy books by celebrity name or maybe it sounds like a good book, or maybe the story seems fine. I’d love to compile a big list of picture books that are worth the read, worth the time, worth the money – and I’d love your help! Thanks!

Come back soon for interviews with picture book authors!

29 responses »

  1. Thanks for including DS on this list! A couple of recent titles I like: Aunty Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic, I Had a Favorite Dress, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji. 🙂

  2. Because I’m too lazy to go upstairs and look at my shelf, a couple of old favorites, Green Wilma and Frank Was a Monster Who Loved to Dance (maybe that’s longer than a PB) There’s also this amazing wordless book, shoot, it’s not a picture book but I just thought of it when I was here and you might love. Valerie at Hicklbee’s shared it with me. I need to ask her what it’s called.

  3. Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine….can’t think of the author right now but I absolutely LOVED this book when I was young and loved reading it to my kids! Can’t wait till my toddler is old enough to enjoy it as well. I also love Caps for Sale can be read to little ones but is usually still enjoyed by young elementary aged too (still around but I’m amazed how many people do not recognize this title),

  4. So I come by after my lunch out to share my favorites, and see *Peacebound Trains* here, and you made me cry! You are the best! Love you!

    Okay, the titles I came to share: *The Whale’s Song* by Dyan Sheldon (paintings by Gary Blythe). Exquisite. Can’t count how many times I read this aloud to my girls. And the paintings are breathtaking!

    *Grandfather’s Journey* by Allen Say. What can I say? Masterpiece. Stunning, and so moving.

    Both of these titles are must-haves for every home library, in my opinion (whether the home has a child or not). Love-love-love.

  5. Thought of a couple more:

    *No Such Thing* by Jackie French Koller (illustrated by Betsy Lewin). This one was right up Louisa’s alley. Made her giggle so! Perfect bedtime read for those little ones who like a bit of a spooky read.

    *Someday a Tree* by Eve Bunting (illustrated by Ronald Himler). This is a quiet picture book that stays with you. I remember both my girls welling up with tears as they listened quietly.

    *Wemberly Worried* by Kevin Henkes. Another of Louisa’s favorites. This one is a perfect choice if your little one is about to start preschool or daycare. So cute! We love Wemberly!

  6. Great books — yes, seeing above, most anything by Kevin Henkes or Eve Bunting (and Mo Willems, as you note). I liked Mac Barnett’s Extra Yarn from this year, and I hope your niece doesn’t feel too young for Mother Goose. Love the edition Salley Mavor did last year. And Liz Scanlon/Marlee Frazee’s All the Places in the World — hope I’m not mangling the title. Frazee’s A Couple of Boys Have the Best Summer Ever is a riot. Thanks for being such a superb aunt — and friend!

  7. In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck, you got her that book and blue has been her favorite color since she was little.

  8. My boys love the following books:
    The Giving Tree (given to me by my Dad when I was little)
    We are Going on a Bear Hunt
    If you Give a Mouse a Cookie
    Llama, Llama Misses Mama

  9. Oh I thought of another one that I have to rebuy because my 17 year old daughter won’t let me use her copy to read to my two year old! LOL…. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub I think it’s by Audry Wood?

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