Our Favorite Picture Books

Barbara Bockman

Broken Feather by Verla Kay
One of my favorite picture book authors is Verla Kay. I will
choose Broken Feather to tell about because it illustrates the reason I hold her in such high regard. And as a matter of fact, Verla Kay autographed my copy of this book when I met her at the SCBWI Conference in Miami. Ms. Kay tells interesting historic tales that bring to life certain aspects of American history that everyone might not be aware of. Broken Feather is written in Verla Kay’s signature concise, highly informative poetic style. In Broken Feather, she fictionalized the opening up of the West as it pertained to, and interrupted the lives of, the Native Americans. It is poignant and beautifully illustrated in relief-block prints by Stephen Alcorn.

Francis, the Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie dePaola: Book CoverFrancis, the Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie de Paola
This book is illustrated in Tomi de Paola’s gently colored pictures that, though stylized, seem to take the me right into the story, as do all his other books. This is a case in which the writer has to choose carefully what to include in the book because more material is available than is possible to include.

MadelineMadeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
I never tire of reading Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Although the rhythms and rhymes are not always perfect (or maybe it’s my reading that isn’t perfect), the story is cute and the illustrations offer a beautiful travelogue of Paris. Colored pages are interspersed with charcoal drawings. This might be an example of the publisher saving money in production. Madeline is the heroine who is a bit more daring than her schoolmates, the one who is braver, and the one who is adventurous; she pushes the envelope.

The Snowy DayThe Snowy Day  by Ezra Jack Keats
Ezra Jack Keats is a man who has never lost the little boy inside himself. The Snowy Day shows the delight a little boy gets from the simple joys of playing in the snow. The mixed media of paper-cut collage and water color are child-like in their imperfection but expressive in conveying emotions. Besides the pleasure of playing in snow, the boy, Peter, is sad when the snowball he brings home melts. But, undaunted, the following day, he invites a friend to go out and enjoy another snowy day.

Spot Goes to the CircusSpot Goes to the Circus by Eric Hill
Eric Hill’s Spot books are so much fun, I can’t imagine a child who wouldn’t be charmed by them. Spot Goes to the Circus is bright in primary colors and simple line drawings. There’s extra fun in the “open the flap” feature. The book even has a plot: Spot loses his ball while at the Circus with his dad and makes friends with some of the resident animals by the time he finds the ball.

Mirka Breen

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss: Book CoverThe Carrot Seed by Krauss and Johnson
The purity and simplicity of the telling. This is an exemplary distillation.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: Book CoverThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This book is the reason I write for children. I was moved by it to question conventional perceptions.

Shhhh by Kevin Henkes: Book CoverShhhh by Kevin Henkes
Nice interactive book. My kids were so taken with it, and I continue to be riveted by the page-turns.

Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman: Book CoverSomething from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
This book is the perfect marriage of art and words. That it’s an old Jewish folk tale adds charm for me.

Tim and the Blanket Thief by John Prater
A perfect psychological tale about overcoming fears. I still read it when I need it.

Mark Ceilley

Flip, Flap, Fly! by Phyllis Root: Book CoverFlip, Flap, Fly! By Phyllis Root
This is another fun and delightful story for children ages 2-4.  It has wonderful rhyme, meter and alliteration. This is an excellent example of how page turns can be used in picture books. I never tire of rereading this book!

Koala Lou by Mem Fox: Book CoverKoala Lou by Mem Fox
I love the warm relationship between Koala Lou and her mother. I also like the repeating line: “Koala Lou, I do love you!” After taking a vacation to Australia and holding a koala, this book has a very special place in my heart.

Olivia by Ian Falconer: Book CoverOlivia by Ian Falconer
This is a fun “character” book. It’s a joy to follow along as Olivia enjoys outrageous adventures.

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann: Book CoverOfficer Buckle and Gloria by PeggyRathmann
(a Caldecott medal winner)
A delightful story about friendship with some safety tips for kids. It’s funny, clever and tightly written. Every word is carefully chosen.

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root: Book CoverOne Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root
The rhyme, repetition, alliteration and use of language is cleverly written in this counting book. This book inspired me to write my Gerry Giraffe story!

Tina Cho

Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord: Book CoverHot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord
This is a very bouncy, fun book that our family enjoyed since we had a pet hamster.

Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems: Book CoverKnuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems
My kids & I love this book because they, too, have a special blankie or stuffed animal. We can relate!

Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth by Lucy Bate: Book CoverLittle Rabbit’s Loose Tooth by Lucy Bates
This was one of my childhood favorites because Little Bunny had so many choices of what to do with her teeth. I still have my 1970’s copy with my name written from when I was little!

The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah: Book CoverThe Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah with Kelly DiPucchio
This was my favorite picture book of summer 2010. I thought it was a perfect example of picture book structure, and I loved the storyline about two girls tasting a lunch from another culture.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: Book CoverThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I love to teach this book to children and do all kinds of activities. Eric Carle is one of my favorite authors/illustrators.

Evelyn Christensen

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst: Book CoverAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
If you’ve ever had a really rotten day, you don’t need for me to explain why this is one of my favorites.

Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy: Book CoverBubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy
Mahy is an expert when it comes to writing in rhyme! I was thoroughly charmed by her creative word choices and her fabulous, fun verses.

The Cow in the Silo by Patricia Goodell
As far as I know this is the first picture book I owned. It was given to me when I was three. I still have it today—held together with two pieces of white adhesive tape. All the white spaces in the illustrations are colored purple, because as a child I thought the illustrator had just made a mistake and had forgotten to color them. It’s a delightful story. I used it whenever I taught a farm unit to my K-2nd graders, because it’s such a wonderful exercise in problem solving. I didn’t realize until I was looking it up on the internet today that it was based on a true story of a cow that got stuck in a silo.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood: Book CoverThe Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
This book just tickles my funny bone. I love Wood’s expressive illustrations. I think the whole premise of the book is ultra creative, and the fact that I like strawberries doesn’t hurt either.

Noah's Ark by Peter Spier: Book CoverNoah’s Ark by Peter Spier
This book was given as a birth gift to my firstborn. I have always loved the detailed illustrations and am fascinated by how much story Spier conveys through them—and how much humor.

Diane Kress Hower

Colors of the Day by Ruth Gembicki Bragg
I found this book tucked in a book pile at an antique store. What a treasure. The author artist follows a 24-hour period through the use of color and words. The author illustrator captured childhood imagination through color, viewpoint, and scale that supported her wonderful choice of words and great pacing.

David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon: Book CoverDavid Gets in Trouble
By David Shannon
Bright. Bold. Clear. Emotion driven. The empathy that is brought out through this book is wonderful.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give... Series) by Laura Joffe Numeroff: Book CoverIf You Give A Mouse A Cookie By Laura Joffe Numeroff, Illustration by Felicia Bond
This picture book is a sweet, simple classic book that where the rhythm and the words sustain the reader, a favorite of my children during their growing up years.

Old Coyote by Nancy Wood: Book CoverOld Coyote by Nancy Wood
Illustration by Max Grafe
This is a recent find of mine. The juxtaposition of the soft incredible watercolor and the story of an aged coyote who knows he is going to die is perfect. The telling of death without fear through a wild animal’s viewpoint is well done.

Old TurtleOld Turtle By Douglas Wood,
Illustration by Cheng-Khee Chee
This classic speaks to my heart through the images and words. The scale of the illustrations and placement of the type capture emotion and create a rhythm that makes this picture book a page turner. The words and the art are incredible.


Published on December 31, 2012 at 10:52 am  Comments Off on Our Favorite Picture Books