10 picture books we love

It’s become something of an annual tradition for me to blog the children’s books we’ve been into. It reminds me of this book I had as a kid, called “School Days” where I was supposed to log my best friends and favorite books and shows and all that in every different grade. I wish I would have, because being home schooled, all the grades really run together and memories have no dates. But instead, it had an entry in fifth grade (best friend: Sarah Gilbert) and the rest of it was blank. So I’m doing for them what I didn’t for me. I guess that is parenting, in a nutshell: improving the future off what you know from the past.


The first is a new book. Most of the books we read are older, because I am nostalgic and I pick. But this one we got for a present and it is great. Fun for kids and adults alike. Bruce the Bear likes to eat eggs and he was cooking up these gosling eggs when they hatched and he became their mother. He tries to get rid of them. Adults identify with grouchy Bruce and his sarcasm. Kids root for the goslings.

Finally we are reaching an age where Brandon can sit through a Bill Peet book. They are classics and they are fantastic. But they are loooooong. But if you’re going to pack a lunch and read a kids’ book, you might pick this one. Eli is an old lion who has lost his mojo. Again, adults identify.

For Holden, my train lover. I remember as a kid this book being really long so we must have an abridged version because we have a board book that is short and to the point. The theme of little creatures/things/people doing big things runs pretty rampant in picture books, but this one does it among the best. You feel the struggle and the triumph. And for days afterward you’ll be chanting, “I think I can, I think I can…”

Again, a throwback from my own childhood. I love love love this book. It was confusing as a kid, this Arthur (monkey) and the more popular Arthur (aardvark) each having a book series. I would vacillate between them, but found this Arthur more mature, and thus I liked him better. In this book, he is saving up money and creates his own business. It is a fantastic book to teach the young about money: spending and saving. And about entrepreneurship. I think some college-level business courses could teach this book.

I stayed away from this cult classic because it also is long. Well, it has a lot of pages, but it’s really not that long. Once I finally read it, I agreed that yes, it is worth the hype. Every child should own it.

William Steig has so many children’s books. We own a few, but this one Brandon likes the best. It’s playful and silly. And I like Steig’s illustrations. I’m not sure why, exactly, as they’re not traditionally pleasing, but I do.

A newish book Brandon stumbled upon at the library. He loves it and Steve and I always agree to read it because it is just the right length (length is very important in life). I do get tripped up each time I read the ice cream flavor, however. Also, after reading this many times, Steve saw on Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram that she reads this book to Penelope. So there’s that, whatever that is.

The illustrations in this book! Oh I love them so much. No wonder it won the Caldecott award. Very deserved. The story is also good. Amos McGee goes to the zoo each day and completes his routines with animals. Then one day, he is sick so the animals board the bus and do for him what he usually does for them. It’s sweet. And there should be more children’s books with elderly people in them.

Holden loves this one. It’s OK. I actually like the story just fine. But I have a real problem with the illustrations. It certainly didn’t win any Caldecott award, let’s just say. Whenever I read it, I picture better illustrations turning this into one hell of a book. But alas, the publisher missed the boat on that one.

I love books that have new ideas. This one is just that. Animals live in civilized towns full of apartments and cars. They walk upright and wear clothes. Then one day Mr. Tiger decides to change shit up. He walks on all fours, takes off his clothes. He finds himself ostracized from civilization so he goes to live in the wild. One day, civilization and him meet in the middle and they all learn to live among each other. It’s poetic and political all at once.

Previous children’s books blog posts:

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