I, like many of you who live in the children's book subculture, tuned into the Today Show a couple of weeks ago to hear who won the Newbery and Caldecott Awards. Most of you know that the producers of the Today Show shunned the highest awards in children's literature in order to feature the brilliant and talented Snooki. I'm not going to rehash the controversy that ensued over the Today Show decision. You can read about it all over the internet ... but I did want to mention that the award winners are on the NY Times bestseller list. Snooki's book? Nope.
I'm proud of the big award and honor winners--especially Erin Stead who won for illustrating A Sick Day for Amos McGee--which is a sweet, gorgeously illustrated story. But, I'd like to highlight a few of my favorites from last year that didn't win the big awards ...
Oh, and these aren't in any order, and this is not scientifically done. I simply grabbed books off of our nightstands and bookshelves--the books that we have read over and over and over.
CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS written and illustrated by Peter Brown.
Full disclosure--I adore Peter Brown. I went to one of his breakout sessions at the LA SCBWI Conference a few years ago, and not only was he charming, he taught me how to make a picture book dummy. Plus, he has a wicked sense of humor.
Children Make Terrible Pets is one of those fun, silly picture books that leave you giggly all over. In it, a tutu-wearing bear named Lucy happens upon a small child in the woods and decides that he would make the perfect pet. After much begging, Lucy's mother lets her keep him, but Lucy finds out quickly just how much trouble a pet can be (especially a human one). And, the ending is hilarious. No spoilers here, though. Go and get this book!
HENRY IN LOVE written and illustrated by Peter McCarty.
This book is quieter--both the story and illustrations--but it is the sweetest and most perfect little story of adoration and love that I've ever seen. It starts and ends with a blueberry muffin, and the story is infused with subtle anticipation. Love it.
CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
This book is perfect for someone looking for a picture book that has a little more text. It's beautifully written in the style of an older fairy tale, and it stars a young boy who gives up everything to take the princess a cake for her birthday. He runs into obstacles along the way as his beautiful cake loses its special decorations in ways that are sometimes scary and sometimes silly. This one is truly a story that is best read aloud (and read over and over again). The illustrations are quirky and fun.
BIG RED LOLLIPOP written by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
I especially love this book because I have three daughters, and the book shows sisters having to deal with younger siblings. In this book, the oldest girl's mother makes her take her little sister with her to a birthday party--which is NOT okay. The ending is completely unexpected but exactly right. And, oh my goodness, the illustrations are some of the most beautiful that I've ever seen (and, how about that incredible eye-catching cover?). Sophie Blackall is a master.
Hope you have a great week!