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?


Anonymous said...

The funny thing about Where the Wild Things Are is that my son is the only one in the house who never liked it. You should have seen my face & my husband's when son said it could easily go to the used bookstore. (It's on my shelf instead!)

I think you're right about Mike Mulligan, and here's why: I have NEVER, not as a child or an adult had any interest in heavy equipment (Okay, I did like Bob the Builder), and I LOVE this book and always have.

I think I may have to go see if I can narrow it down to ten at Fuse #8's blog.

Vaquerogirl said...

JUST ten? Why not ask to stick a needle in my eye!
Do they need to be picture books?
My top ten are-
Horton Hears a Who
Duncan and Delores
King Bidgoods in the Bathtub ( and he won't get out)
Mama Don't Allow
IN A BLUE ROOM ( I have no compunction about naming it one of MY favorites- it IS!)
Chicken Soup with Rice
A Bad Case of Stripes
George Hogglesworth(?)
That was fun!

Aileen Leijten said...

Thanks for bringing the top 100 list to my attention Jim, I almost missed it. Hope your well. Just linked to your blog from mine. Love following your posts.

Vaquerogirl said...

OK SF boy- This blog requires you to post! At least a few times a month- no matter what! We need to know what yu are getting up to!

So turn on the 'puter, think of something uniquely witty and Jimified and lets hear what you are doing...