April 22, 2009

My (Not-Quite) Top Ten

I have been really enjoying a Top 100 Picture Book Countdown and have decided to make my own Top 10 List. It's really hard! There are so many books I have come to love as an adult and I just don't remember a lot of picture books from childhood. I was one of those that started reading chapter books really early on and felt I was too grown up for picture books. And (sorry mom) because I was the youngest of three I don't remember being read a lot of picture books. I remember my mom reading aloud chapter books on trips but because she was reading to three kids with six years between them they were older books. So, I am approaching this list from the eyes of a mother, teacher and librarian.

The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.
I had to include a Margaret Wise Brown book because I so dearly love most of them. And while Goodnight Moon is a staple this one is the dearest to my heart because Carter loved it when he was little. I read this too him so many times!

Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis.
There are so many reasons I love this book. It's illustrations are great, you have to hold it vertically rather than horizontally, and it's hysterical. Twisted, but so funny. I love reading it to people who have never seen it before. Their reactions are classic.

Beauty and the Beast by Mercer Mayer.
The Little Critter books became popular after I was all grown up, but I will always hold Mercer Mayer's older books close to my heart. I am talking about There's a Nightmare in My Closet, Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp Thing, stuff like that. This is one I recall from childhood. I loved the paintings in this book and would check it out probably once a month from my library just to look at the pictures.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.
Again, an author that has so many wonderful books that you can hardly just pick one! But, this is probably my favorite. I remember a college professor talking about this book and thinking that I needed to buy that one for myself. It is just such a cute story!

The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss.
I love most of his. Horton, Yertle, the Sneetches, so really this is just a heading for Dr. Seuss. But since I have to pick a book, it is The Sleep Book because I used to read this to Carter and Max when they were tiny and I was rocking them to sleep. The writing just flows so I felt like I was singing.

I Love You the Purplest by Barbara Joose
I tell people I named Max after Where the Wild Things Are, which is 1/3 of the true story. Another third goes to this show and the main character, but the last third goes to this book. This is the story of two little boys, Max and Julian. Julian is the color blue and Max is the color red (not literally, but that's how the mom compares them at the end). We already had a "Julian" in Carter when I was pregnant with Max. The calm, obedient type of child. I mean when I told Carter it was time to use the potty he said "okay" and barely ever used a diaper after that. So, I doubted we would get so lucky twice, and I am glad we didn't. My Max is like the Max in this book, red and not easy to control. But why would I want to, he is wonderful the way he is! For Christmas one year, without having any idea that I had used this book as a name inspiration one of my friends bought it for me and had gone through and changed all the Julians to Carter in the book. Awesome!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Where the Wild Things Are
These are two that I love, but sometimes I feel I love them because I am supposed to. But, I know that when I am a grandma there are certain stand-bys I will make sure that all my grandchildren have and these are two of them. What makes them true, great children's books are the illustrations. The stories are okay, but the pictures are fan-freaking-tastic.

**This list was way harder than I thought. I am not sure I did it justice and to narrow down 10 books (which I didn't do) was too hard. So I didn't number them and I know that if I were to truly examine my list I would make several changes, but this is a good start!**




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