Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Favorites: Picture Books

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Back?  Good, 'cause today we're talking favorite picture books.  Yippee!

Not many people know this, but picture books are actually my favorite kind of book for pure joy.  I have novels that I've read and loved, (more on that in a couple of weeks), and I re-read them when I can and talk about them with other people, but a great picture book can make me crack a smile so big it's a wonder my jaw doesn't just drop right off.  So I thought I'd share some of my favorites, in no particular order.

THE GRUFFALO, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.  I love this book - I love the story, I love the rhythm of three, I love that it's in verse, I love that it circles back on itself, and I LOVE the twist at the end.  I also love reading it - the language in this book is superbly done.  And don't even get me started on the artwork - it's perfectly pitched for this age group.

FUNNYBONES, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg.  This is a book I read as a child, and although it is not in verse, it does have a rhythm to it which I love.  I love the way certain words are repeated throughout the story, and it's wonderful the way the kid is the one who solves the problems.  This is another book that circles back on itself at the end, which is great.

OLIVIA, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer.  This book makes me laugh out loud every time.  The contrast between the very, very understated text and the completely over-the-top illustrations really makes this book.  And who doesn't know a little "Olivia"?

I could go on, but I think I should stop at three and hand the floor over to you guys.

What are some of your favorite picture books?  What sets them apart from the rest?


  1. When I was a child I was switched from left hand to right. Coupled with the public school no longer teaching phonics this meant that I couldn't read. My older siblings had the benefit of phonics and they were right handed to begin with. When my Mother found out, she taught me to read, by then I was in third grade and competing with two older siblings who got consistent A's. She bought me 'The Little Engine that Could.' I don't remember the author. This book paved the way for the rest of my life.
    "I think I can, I think I can, I knew I could."
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  2. That's a GREAT book, and you have such a connection to it. Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. I actually don't remember any picture books from my own childhood, but I have dozens of faves from when my own kids were little.

    I love Where the Wild Things Are, Jelly Belly by Dennis Lee and a magically illustrated version of Peter Pan. :)

  4. Jemi, yes, Where the Wild Things Are is another fave of mine, too. SUCH a classic! I love that his food was still hot at the end - his mommy still loves him, even though he is a Wild Thing!

    I don't think I know Jelly Belly - I'll have to go look it up.

  5. "The Lorax" is one of my favorites. I memorized the story word for word and used to recite it at campfires at an env. ed. program I worked for.

  6. I love The Lorax, Paul! It has such a great message, but it doesn't feel preachy.