Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Favorite Picture Books

A co-worker is currently taking a Children's Literature course.  Of course, like most Children's Lit courses, her first assignment is to bring in a favorite picture book.  While she was searching through the library's collection, and telling my boss and me about the assignment, I started thinking back to some of my favorite picture books.  It's been like two decades since I read some of these books, but they've stuck with me through the years.  Here's a run down of some of my favorite picture books.

1. The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack

My mother likes to tell me that I always giggled with my father tried to pronounce the name of the river in this book.  Apparently the name Yangtze River was a bit of a mouthful for my poor dad.

I know I had this book read to me over and over as a kid, and I remember loving that little yellow duck.  This book was one of the first things I looked for when I started working at my library.

2.  Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Seriously, the expression says it all.  As an adult I have some days that are terrible, horrible, no good, and all around very bad days, and I always think of Alexander on those days.  For granted, I've never gone to bed with gum in my mouth and ended up with gum in my hair.  Nor have I ever lost out on the coolest pair of sneakers to one of my siblings (mostly because I was an only child), but I was always able to relate to Alexander and his horrible day.

3.  A Bargain for Frances by Russel Hoban

Who can forget Frances, and how she learns not to let her friends screw her over?  Seriously, this is a lesson I need to be reminded of very often, and I should probably buy myself a copy of this book and read it at least once a week.

4.  Serendipity books

All of these books taught a lesson, or had a moral.  But, they were still awesomely illustrated and fun.  I've included a book from the series that I loved when I was younger, that's come under fire since I was a child.  Catundra is a fat and mean cat, who as he works on improving himself physically, also improves himself spiritually.

Yes, we need to love children, and our families unconditionally, and too many people these days have "body image" issues.  But, truth be told, being physically fit is good for you.  And being able to be proud of yourself for losing weight, and being healthy, is a good thing.  So the haters can keep on hating, but I love Catundra, and many other of the saccharine-sweet books brought to use by the most rockin purple dragon thing ever (Barney can suck it!).

5.  Helga's Dowry by Tomie dePaola

This is the first picture book that I read to myself.  I remember sitting in the elementary school library and reading through this book mentally thinking "WTF is a dowry??"  The fact that this book made me think, made me question, and made me learn, along with the fact that the book is written by the awesome Tomie dePaola made me remember this book.

6.  Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Now this isn't a book I read as a child, but instead it's one I was introduced to while working here at the library, and I couldn't help it, I fell in love.  The Pigeon, he is teh awesome.  I even now am the proud owner of a stuffed pigeon, his name is Pidgey.  The pigeon has many adventures, over multiple books, and he has taught me that there are still great picture books being published every year, and that a great picture book will appeal to the child that's still inside every adult.

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