Friday, March 27, 2009

Respect the Mighty Top Ten Picture Book List

Think you could list your top ten picture books ever written, in order? I didn't either. As I told a friend, when I read Fuse 8's call for our top ten lists, the very idea of narrowing down and classifying my love for all things picture book got me so sweaty with anxiety that I had to eat a box of Thin Mints instead.

But, like most things, when I actually sat down, it was kind of easy. Well begun is half done and all that. Here's what I wrote:

Okay, here is my list. I know I’d seem cooler if I had fewer classics and more obscurity, but these are the ones I love. Also, I did NOT include The New Girl…And Me or Two of a Kind, written by yours truly, even though they are clearly my favorites; this was not out of modesty, but because doing so would have required bumping Piggie Pie, which is so good to read aloud.

And darn you, Betsy Bird, for giving me nightmares in which Emily Gravett and Maurice Sendak haunt me chanting “Why not us?”

Jacqui’s Top Ten Picture Books

1. Goodnight Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann)

Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown)

Owl Moon (Jane Yolen) – To my mind, this is the most beautiful and poetic book ever, pictures or not. Every time I read it to a class, the whispers hush and the air tingles.

My Fierce Tiger (James Hepburn) – my very favorite book as a child, and just as good every time I read it now

Miss Rumphius (Barbara Cooney) – because I want my life to be summed up by seeing the world, coming home to live by the sea, and doing something to make the world more beautiful

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Mo Willems)

Close Your Eyes (Kate Banks) – because “Dark is just the other side of light. It’s what comes before dreams.”

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Crockett Johnson)

Llama Llama Red Pajama (Anna Dewdney) – because it makes us all giggle every time, and because when he wakes up afraid in the middle of the night, my toddler calls, “MAMA! My hab llama drama!”

Piggie Pie (Margie Palatini)

So, dear visitors to Jacqui's Room, what's on your list? And do you have opinions on mine?


C.R. Evers said...

Great list!

One of my favorite PB's is Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck.

And the Pigeon books by Mo Willams

And of course The New Girl by Jacqui Robbins.

Boni Ashburn said...

Nice solid list, Jacqui :) Miss Rumphius is a great choice- lovely book. I also adore reading Piggie Pie, but it didn't make my list- mostly because I am not personally the biggest fan of the illustrations (with my sincerest apologies to Mr. Fine) and I had to come up with reasons to keep books OFF, not put them on. There are just so many I love!

Jacqui said...

Christy, I don't know the Jan Peck book -- will look it up. And thanks :)

Boni, I had the same problem (Wolves!).

Mary Witzl said...

We liked Miss Rumphius too (I planted lupines just because of that book, though mine always got eaten by slugs), but my all-time favorite picture books are Graham Oakley's 'Church Mice' series. They are the funniest, best-illustrated picture books I've ever read and even adults can appreciate the humor. We also loved Alison Lester's 'Magic Beach' and so many more...even though our kids are grown up now, we still love picture books.

Every time we go to a bookstore, I look out for yours -- one of these days I'm going to find it!

Adrienne said...

Interesting to try to narrow it down...
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog is the one that made me laugh out loud in the bookstore, so I had to buy it. Another favorite of mine is The Mole Sisters and the Cool Breeze, by Roslyn Schwartz.

J. Thorp said...

Even in picture books, I'm not as well read -- but I've always had a soft spot for Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. SPOILER ALERT: The final illustration is classic -- check out the "Curious footnote" listed in this Wikipedia entry, which describes the ending and how it came about.

Thanks in advance for reposting my comment, J. I gotta dig that back out before Trevvy gets too old for it!

Jacqui said...

Mary, I tried to plant lupines also. I read Magic Beach a long time ago, I think. I'll look for it.

Adrienne, the pigeon is hilarious. I love the title of your other favorite. This is no good for my book budget!

Thorp, good choice. Going to wikipedia.

Vincetastic said...

This is a really great top ten list, I like your picks. Goodnight Moon is probably my number one, it is classic and timeless. I also enjoy Where The Wild Things Are, it's a little bit scary as a young child, but the story and images have stuck with me after all these years. Anyone can post their own top ten list to our site The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

Jacqui said...

Vincetastic, we love "Rumpus Rumpus" around here too.