My Ten Favorite Picture Books

January 31, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 24

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is All about the visuals: Graphic Novels, Comics, or in my case, Top Ten Favorite Picture Books


It was really hard to come up with my top ten, because there are so many wonderful picture books. My list could have been more than twice this long! I decided to limit it to one book per illustrator, so even though I may have more than one favorite by a particular illustrator, only one made it onto the list. I also limited it to true picture books, rather than chapter books with illustrations. (That’s a post for another day!)

I couldn’t rank them, so I’ve put my choices alphabetically by title. All were chosen because the story or text is as wonderful as the illustrations.

Title links take you to Goodreads; review links are at the end of each entry (if I’ve reviewed the book.)




  • The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes (DuBose Heyward; illus. by Marjorie Flack) I’ve loved this book about a country rabbit who longs to be an Easter Bunny since I was tiny. Once I grew up, I had to search for a copy of my own. (Review)
  • Ginger Jumps (Lisa Campbell Ernst)If you can read the end of this delightful story without tearing up, you have a harder heart than mine. Ginger is a small circus dog, training to make a very big jump. But all she really wants is a child to belong to. (Review
  • The Light Princess (George MacDonald; illus. by William Pene du Bois) MacDonald’s fairytale about a princess unaffected by gravity (in both senses of the term) finds a perfect match in Pene du Bois’s illustrations — so much so that I don’t really recommend any other version (although I admit that the text has been trimmed a bit.) Sadly, the du Bois version is out of print, but it’s worth tracking down a used copy if you can. I’ve loved this book since about third grade.
  • The Little House (Virginia Lee Burton) A little house is slowly engulfed by the city (and then rescued) in this classic favorite from my childhood.
  • Make Way for Ducklings (Robert McCloskey) Another classic, and another favorite from my early years. How can you resist?
  • Melisande (E. Nesbit; illus. by P. J. Lynch) I’ve loved this fairy tale since I was a child, but only discovered P. J. Lynch’s beautifully illustrated version about a year ago — and almost immediately bought a copy.
  • The Midnight Farm (Reeve Lindbergh; illus. by Susan Jeffers) Jeffers’ lovely illustrations are a perfect match for Lindbergh’s poetic, soothing text, as a farm child learns what happens “in the dark of the midnight farm.” We read this over and over to Robin when she was small.
  • Over and Over (Charlotte Zolotow; illus. by Garth Williams) Most of you will know Garth Williams’ illustrations from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, but I think the ones he did for Zolotow’s book about a young girl learning the cycle of the year are equally enchanting. This is another of those books I’ve loved since I was tiny. Since my own copy disappeared in a move, I had to hunt down a used copy to read to Robin — and to keep for myself.
  • Time for Bed (Mem Fox; illus. by Jane Dyer) Another of Robin’s (and my) favorites, this charming book pairs Dyer’s beautiful pictures with engaging rhymes like “Time for bed, little mouse, little mouse. Darkness is falling all over the house,” as baby animal after baby animal is snuggled into sleep.
  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer (Jan Brett) I love Jan Brett’s illustrations, and at least five of her books would make a top 20 list, but I chose this title because I love the story as much as the pictures. Teika learns that patience and kindness work much better than sternness in training the reindeer to pull Santa’s sled. The illustrations are inspired by Swedish (and possibly Norwegian?) folk art. (Jan Brett review: A Celebration of Jan Brett)

Bonus pick: 

  • The Princesses I Know (Ayla Wild) is about princesses who go out and do things: canoe, climb mountains, dance in hiking boots… You’re not likely to come across this self-published book in bookstores or libraries, but it’s near to my heart. The author/illustrator was the student leader of Robin’s orientation course at college — a 3-week wilderness hiking trip. The book was part of her senior project. And that princess who dances in hiking boots? That’s Robin.  (Review)


24 Responses to “My Ten Favorite Picture Books”

  1. Berls

    Make Way For Ducklings! That’s such a sweet book and despite being quite old, my kids loved it last year. I had forgotten about it… I may need to look it up for this year. I remember connecting it to a math lesson, but I forget how. Maybe addition/subtraction? hmmm to the drawing board I go!
    Berls recently posted…Top Ten… all about the visuals #TTTMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      McCloskey’s illustrations are marvelous. How did the man managed to write and draw so well?! Have you read Blueberries for Sal to your kindergartners? That’s another good one.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I need to look at some of Mem Fox’s other books. I really love Time For Bed, and I think we have a couple of others, but I know she’s done quite a few.

  2. Mariela

    Very cute!
    I did not do a list today for myself, I asked my daughter if she wanted to help and list her favorite books!
    I never read a comic book.So The only ones I read were the VA and Percy Jackson graphic novels. But we did something a little different. Allyson added some comics she read on her list.
    Also check out our easy to enter Valentine’s giveaway!

    My TTT.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I think the only way to get “The Princesses I Know” is to order it from, and it’s pretty expensive for a paperback picture book (because it’s print-on-demand.) But it’s a favorite of mine because Robin’s in it, and because I love the whole idea — these are young women facing things that challenge them (fear of heights or water, an injury on a multi-day hike, the challenge of learning social skills when you’re autistic, or just the challenge of a 3-week wilderness trip.) It’s all drawn from Wild’s experiences participating in and leading student groups in the wilderness, and each little vignette shows how strong and capable these young women are.

      I miss reading picture books to Robin, too. So I’ve decided that I will just read them anyway, when the mood strikes me. I’ve been borrowing the occasional new one from the library, too. A really good picture book should be as enjoyable for adults as it is for children, especially if the art is really gorgeous.

  3. Greg

    Time For Bed looks so cute! And Make Way for Ducklings. The Wild Christmas Reindeer might be neat too with the Scandinavian inspired art. These all look like wonderful picture book!
    Greg recently posted…Top Ten Graphic NovelsMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      If you haven’t encountered Jan Brett’s picture books yet, she’s definitely worth checking out. 🙂 And Make Way for Ducklings is a classic, beautifully written and illustrated (and full of humor as well.)

  4. Danya @ Fine Print

    I love George MacDonald (The Princess and the Goblin is one of my favourite children’s chapter books), but I haven’t read The Light Princess yet. Clearly I need to track it down! Jan Brett is fantastic, of course. Such iconic illustrations!

    How amazing is it that Robin inspired a picture book? Wow! 🙂
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Review: Nevernight by Jay KristoffMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Oh, if you love MacDonald, you really should read The Light Princess. There’s another version with his full text, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak, but it’s just a small paperback. For reading to children, I’d definitely stick with the Pene du Bois version, even if the text has been abridged here and there. It’s worth tracking down — try ABE Books.

  5. Stephanie

    The Country Bunny! As soon as I saw the cover, it triggered nostalgia. I haven’t probably thought about that book since I was 10 years old. It was one of my faves too, though obviously not as steadfast as you because I’d forgotten about it. It does have gorgeous illustrations!
    Stephanie recently posted…REVIEW | Ordinary Grace by William Kent KruegerMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Actually, I forgot it for a while also, even though I loved it as a child. My childhood copy got lost in a move, or perhaps was given to my cousins. I thought of it when Robin was young, but didn’t actually buy a copy until she was in middle school or early high school (I think.) It’s funny; when I was little, I did pick up on the feminist aspect of the book, probably because a) I was a girl and b) my mother is a feminist. But the racial-equality aspects of the book went completely over my head until I read a review of it four or six years ago.

  6. Charlie

    I’m unfamiliar with many of your picks! I think the only one I know is The Wild Christmas Reindeer. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It’s so good! I could never quite manage to read the end without choking up a little. But then, I’m one of those people who cry during Hallmark commercials…