Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top 100 Picture Books and Chapter Books

Betsy Bird at Fuse8 is once again running her top 100 picture books and chapter books poll! I think I missed out on the picture books the first time around and found it insanely hard to choose - so I just meandered through my list of favorites for staff picks and my LibraryThing account and then looked at my shelves and...total luck of the draw, I just filled them in as I came.


1 Make way for ducklings by Robert McCloskey (charm, humor, and ducks. What more could a reader want?)
2 The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley (the original of course, not the new edition, which is ok but just isn't quite the same. Admittedly a little dated in the clothes and styles, but still as slyly funny and absorbing as ever)
3 Round Robin by Jack Kent (one of our library patrons has a tattoo of Round Robin. It's the only time in my life I've seriously considered getting a tattoo...Everything you need for a classic - bold, memorable pictures, a repetitive text full of child-like logic, and lots of hopping)
4 Corduroy by Don Freeman (A classic that never grows old)
5 There are cats in this book by Viviane Schwarz (I was completely bowled over the perfect combination of words, pictures, and movable parts in this book. Irresistible)
6 On our way home by Sebastien Braun (The exquisitely simple text is perfect for reading aloud to a very young child but what really makes this book stand out - and continually pops it on my librarian's favorites shelf - is the glowing, light-filled illustrations and the warmth shown between the parent and child bear.)
7 Handa's Surprise by Eileen Browne (This was a discovery of mine last year and it deserves to be better-known. Counting, interesting fruits, animals to spy, and a cheerful, rollicking tale have made this a favorite at our storytimes!)
8 Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff (Pure, giggling, yelling, fun. No matter how many times I read it aloud, it always gets an enthusiastic and gleeful response)
9 Tiger who came to tea by Judith Kerr (Of course if a tiger came to tea he would eat everything. An extremely satisfying book that has stood the test of time)
10 Otto the book bear by Katie Cleminson (I know, it's only a few months old. And it's one of those adulating libraries books which I usually hate, since they always come off fake. But this story has held every group - including a group of esl families listening to a translator - spellbound. Cleminson's lovely watercolor and ink illustrations, paired with her simple but enticing plot move the reader from happiness to sorrow to the joy of finding one's true place and making friends. Sniff. So beautiful.)


Fiction Middle Grade
1 The River at Green Knowe by L. M. Boston (To me, this is the most magical of all Boston's lovely stories. She perfectly captures the sense of amazement and awe of children exploring a fantastic world and the long, joyous days of summer exploration.)
2 Bill Bergson and the White Rose Rescue by Astrid Lindgren (Combines the best idyllic, small town adventures with a spice of true danger. The characters are real and funny and the action heart-stopping!)
3 Look through my window by Jean Little (The book that inspired the name of my blog and personal library. I love the excitement and trials of adapting to a new family dynamic and the gentle growth of friendship between Kate and Emily. Jean Little's ability to capture children's emotions and inner lives keeps her titles relevant no matter how old they are.)
4 Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum (This is my favorite of the Oz books. Dorothy's sturdy acceptance of her wild adventures, the strange creatures, and above all those marvelous dinner pail and lunch box trees never fail to capture the imagination)
5 Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol (Funny, clever, and addictingly devourable)
6 Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon (Expertly blended illustration, comic, and text, Vernon's wacky sense of humor makes this book laugh-out-loud funny for all ages, no matter how often you read it)
7 Lexie by Audrey Couloumbis (This is a fairly new title, but so funny, sweet, and wonderfully written that it bounced right onto my favorites list. I read the galley with my sister the night I picked it up at a conference and we both laughed, cried, and sighed with satisfaction. The author combines issues of a blended family with growing up and a classic beach vacation theme. Julia Denos' delicate illustrations are the icing on the cake, which is delicious all the way through.)
8 The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (What can I say? It's a classic.)
9 Smarter than Squirrels by Lucy Nolan (This is a fairly new beginning chapter series, but it continues to grow in popularity. Clever enough to entertain both children and adults, painlessly teaches beginning readers about voice and narrative conventions, and will make the whole family giggle)
10 Small persons with wings by Ellen Booraem (Another modern classic! The author has created a truly unique voice in prickly Melly, a character whom both girls and boys can sympathize with as they go through the awkward transition from child to adult. Clever world-building, funny and poignant moments, and an engaging plot will make this a favorite for a long time to come.

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