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)
- 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)