Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Top Ten Picture Books

Fuse#8 over at SLJ is compiling a list of Top 100 Picture Books and asked folks to give their input by sending her their top 10 favorites of all time. Here's my list:

I am going to have to disqualify my own book, because of course I love it best of all, but it is with a parent’s eyes, and I know that really my little Johnny won’t be president someday... Oh and I am sure if you asked me next week, this list would change. I guess I'm just fickle that way.

1 - Where the Wild Things Are So elegant, so short, so much fun. The “per word” delight level on this one is very high.
2 - Outside Over There I love the lyric language and I am all for scaring the pants off children.
3 - Kitten’s First Full Moon When this one came out, I told my friends, “If there is any justice in this world, this will win the Caldecott!” Thank God it did.
4 - Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel It is the little kid in me voting for this. As an adult, I have no idea if the book is good. As a child I LOVED it. And the thoughts of children ought to count for something in the world of children’s lit, shouldn’t they?
5 - Millions of Cats Because when I read it as an adult, I was transported directly back to Miss Rita Lewandowski’s kindergarten class and anything that can do that must be powerful.
6 - Little Golden Books Can I do that? It isn’t a single title that was marvelous, but the whole collection. I especially liked “Scruffy the Tugboat” and the one about the cat who jumped into a dish of blue dye. And wasn’t it cool the way, if you put them on the shelf in order, the spines made a picture?
7 - Tuesday Flying frogs. Need I say more?
8 - No, David! I defy you to read this book without laughing. And the ending: perfect! I am getting to the point where I just don’t know.... So...ummm...

9 - Just a Minute Who could have imagined a visit from Death would be such fun?
10 - Harold and the Purple Crayon Just because...

Most of these were written decades ago, which just goes to show how hard it is to be a picture book writer today. We compete with the past and parent’s sense of nostalgia... Hmmm... Why did I choose this career again?