TOP TEN CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS OF 2010
Every year, thousands of new picture books are published. Many are excellent. Some are outstanding. And a few are in a category all their own…to be read and savored, over and over again, by adults and children alike. These are the books that will be the classics in the decades to come. These ten books are my choices for the must-read children’s picture books published in 2010.
1. SHARK VS. TRAIN written by Chris Burton and illustrated by Tom Lichtenhedd
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – ISBN9780316
A boy with a toy shark faces off against his companion who is holding a toy train. Awesome cartoon illustrations depict the distinct personalities of the two competitors and will have young children cheering from both sides. In some of the battles, the shark has the upper hand and in others, the train. And neither is very good at keeping quiet in the library.
2. THE QUIET BOOK written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska
Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Children – ISBN9780547215679
Exploring the many different kinds of quiet with understated text and subtle yet engaging illustrations, this book will soon become a favorite with little ones. Various young animals – bears, rabbits, mice, owls and others – are placed in situations that will strike a chord of recognition with young children. In the “first one awake quiet” a young rabbit is doing his morning stretches. In “right before you yell, ‘Surprise’, quiet”, three animals hide behind a couch. This is a book that will rank right beside GOODNIGHT MOON as a perfect book to read before bedtime.
3. CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Jon Muth
Hyperion Books for Children – ISBN9781423103004
This beautiful book is a journey through the seasons and through the natural cycle of the emotions of a friendship. When City Dog ventures into the country one spring, he meets Country Frog who teaches him “jumping and splashing and croaking”. Summer finds the two companions together with Frog learning “sniffing, fetching and barking”. In the fall, because Frog is tired, they play remembering games, recalling all the things they did in the spring and summer. When winter arrives, City Dog goes looking for Country Frog, but cannot find him. When spring returns, City Dog meets a chipmunk who asks him the same question he had asked Frog – “What are you doing?” And City Dog gives the same answer Frog had given him, “Waiting for a friend…but you’ll do.”
4. ART AND MAX written and illustrated by David Wiesner
Clarion Books – ISBN9780618756636
Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Although Arthur (Art) is an experienced painter, Max is just a beginner and his first attempt at painting has unexpected results. This is a wonderful book for all young children who may question their ability as they grow up to master certain tasks and skills.
5. THERE’S GOING TO BE A BABY written by John Burningham and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Candlewick Press – ISBN9780763649074
A young boy learns that he will soon have a new brother or sister. Young children will identify with his conflicting emotions over the next several months as he and his mother talk about the new baby while walking in the park, visiting the zoo and going to the bank. The author and the illustrator are husband and wife in real life and have created a wonderful book for siblings-to-be.
6. LITTLE PINK PUP written by Johanna Kerby
G.P. Putnam’s Sons – ISBN9780399254352
This is touching and true story of Pink, the runt of his litter and Tink, a new dachshund mom who adopts him as one of her pups and nurses him back to health. Simple text and full-color photos will make this book a favorite with very young children.
7. FARM written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper
Orchard Books – ISBN9780545070751
The author brings a farm to life with lyrical writing and beautiful illustrations. The book takes readers through a year of farm life with planting, chores and good and bad weather. Young children will enjoy the involvement of the farm children in their daily tasks and perhaps gain an appreciation for the hard work that results in the food we eat every day.
8. THE CHICKEN THIEF written and illustrated by Beatrice Rodriguez
Enchanted Lion Books – ISBN978159700929
When a fox runs off with one of the hens, bear and rabbit interrupt their peaceful lunch in the garden to join rooster in his chase to recover hen. The fox seems always to be a step ahead, tenderly clutching the pretty white hen. Is the fox intending to eat the hen or does he have something else in mind? This wordless book will be enjoyed by children and adults alike, especially the surprise ending.
9. OLIVIA GOES TO VENICE written and illustrated by Ian Falconer
Atheneum Books for Young Readers – 9781416996743
Olivia is back – on a trip to Venice. She has to dodge pigeons in the Piazza San Marco and barely stays afloat on a gondola ride. Full of curiosity, Olivia appeals to the very young, but even parents will appreciate the comic ending when Olivia finds the perfect souvenir – a stone – and a bell tower collapses.
10. BIBIOBURRO: A TRUE STORY FROM COLUMBIA written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Beach Lane Books – ISBN9781416997788
Luis, a schoolteacher with a passion for reading, shares his over-abundance of books with the children in the remote villages of Columbia. With two burros, he makes the trek across mountainous terrain and perseveres, even when challenged by bandits along the way. Spreading literacy one child at a time, Luis reminds all of us of the pleasures books bring and the difference one individual can make.
Do you agree? Any favorites from 2010 that I missed? As soon as I can, I’ll post my choices for the top ten all-time favorite children’s picture books. What would be your top choice…the book you loved as a child and want to read to your children and grandchildren?