18 May 2009

My personal Top Ten Picture Books

Way back in March, librarian and School Library Journal blogger Elizabeth Bird put out a call for nominations for a list of the 100 best picture books. On 2 April she started listing the results in order from 100, with the number one selection announced last week. Between her well-researched, informative poll results and the Battle of the Kids Books, which was taking place at the same time, SLJ has been compulsory reading (which it generally is. But in this case I'm talking first-thing-in-the-morning-right-after-checking-your-email viewing.) I guess my guru status could be called into question, because only two of my top ten made the list, and I'm not even a fan of the book that was chosen as numero uno. And I'm distinctly underwhelmed by the Top Ten in general (can you say canon?) However, it was a highly entertaining and thought-provoking exercise, and I sincerely hope she at some point undertakes to organize a Top 100 Easy Reader poll (easy readers were not eligible for inclusion in this poll.)

Here is my personal Top Ten, with links to the only selections that made the ultimate list:

1) Hey Al By Arthur Yorinks My all-time favorite picture book and I never read it until I was an adult. Infinite wisdom at under 500 words.

2) Grandfather's Journey by Alan Say. I have been an ex-pat myself and then returned home. I have never read anything which expresses the desire for two homes as well as this book does.

3) Jenny's Birthday Book by Esther Averill. Here by default, because The Fire Cat wasn't eligible!

4) Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. One of the few picture books I remember reading as a child. I think one thing that attracted me was the cover with the two dogs, black and white opposites of each other.

5) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Voirst. I first had this book read to me when I was in the sixth grade, and I was convinced that it had been written for me.

6) Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham. Another adult discovery and one of my favorite storytime books.

7) Terrific by Jon Agee. Because it gives me a chance to do my parrot impression!

8) Mole Music by David McPhail. Yet another adult discovery--I don't have many memories of picture books, mainly early readers (so I am eagerly looking forward to THAT poll.) I love the gentle wisdom of this book.

9) Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
by Dubose Heyward. I loved the pink cover, the gorgeous illustrations, and it was a gift one Easter, when I got chicken pox, so it was the only nice thing that happened to me that Easter!

10) The Tooth Fairy by Peter Collington. I love the idea of the industrious tooth fairy collecting teeth and actually putting them to good use.


ReadingTub said...

I thought I was the only one who doesn't think of Max as a life-long friend! I'm glad there's someone else.

Kara Schaff Dean, the Yankeerat said...

There are others of us out here! I keep telling myself that "Where the Wild Things Are" must have been extraordinarily subversive in its time and has no doubt paved the way for picture books today that either challange readers or present likeable ant-heroes. And taking that into consideration, I do not think it resonates with readers now nearly as much as it does with its parents. It is a perennial NYT best seller--probably one of the most frequently gifted books out there. I suppose it remains to be seen if the film version changes that and increases its popularity with its target audience.

Kara Schaff Dean, the Yankeerat said...

that should read "anti-heroes"!

Vincetastic said...

Hey Kara, this top ten list is fantastic. Thank you very much for the recommendations. I am part of a program in San Francisco called that reads anc tutors elementary school students and picture books are one of the best ways to engage them. You can post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

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