Beginning Top Ten-ing

Worst title I’ve come up with yet? Perhaps… Anyway, I was going to try and do a quick WTSG newsflash for my posting today but I couldn’t pull together any fascinating news at the last minute. Also, we’ve been somewhat busy this evening and despite the fact that I enjoy blogging, patrons take priority. So, for a quick posting, just to try and stay regular, I thought I might share my first Top Ten list. I was inspired the other day when I heard about this fun blog called The Broke and the Bookish. They do a cool thing called Top Ten Tuesdays where they choose a different theme every Tuesday and then fill out the list with items that fit the theme (all book related of course). The coolest part is that they invite other bloggers to join in the fun and post their lists to the site. This week, just to get a list out there on this site, I won’t be participating in their theme. Instead, I’ll simply post my Top Ten Picture books, since that fits the more resource-oriented goal of this blog. I submitted this list to A Fuse #8 Production a couple of months ago when she was compiling her Top 100 Picture Book list but not all of mine made it onto the list. So I’ve decided to share them here in all their glory. Fuse #8 also did a Top 100 Chapter Books so I’ll release my contribution to that one as well and we’ll also get the other staff here to share their faves (both picture and chapter) so we can eventually archive them here on Were the Stories Good on a separate page.

Anywho, here’s the list:

  1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
    Some argue that Sendak did better work than Wild Things during the span of his career and while I agree on some level that this is true, I think his other books appeal to people on different, individual levels. In truth, there has never been a picture book made that has reached so many people on so many levels like Wild Things. I mean, we are all a little mischievous, we are all a little bit adventurous (even if only in our hearts), and we all have a deep longing to be taken care of and fed good things to eat.
  2. The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
    It’s hard to pick any Dr. Seuss title, as his entire work should make up the top 40 of any best picture book list. For me though, The Butter Battle Book is an excellent example of both Dr. Seuss’ incredible talent with words and his ability to incorporate poignant messages of humanity into his stories.
  3. Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
    Mo Willems is a modern master of the picture book and this follow up to his classic Knuffle Bunny is a perfect example of his genius. Willems’ use of humor mixed with simple line work that conveys the emotion in the story more clearly than any words ever could makes this a great read aloud as well as one that can be enjoyed quietly. My favorite page is when the character Sam is introduced and only takes up one tiny corner of a blank, two-page spread. He looks so lonely and scared the audience immediately identifies with him. Balance that page against his two-page, giant-font tirade that nearly knocks Leonardo over and one can easily see how Mo Willems has a wide emotional spectrum as well as perfect comic timing at his command. Some say he’s the modern Dr. Seuss, but in truth he has carved out his own niche in the picture book realm.
  4. Snow by Uri Shulevitz
    A beautiful, simplistic book that captures the wonder a child sees in the world around and juxtaposes it starkly against the dreary, dark world we jaded adults often live in.
  5. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster; Illustrated by Chris Raschka
    This book is for everyone who has a grandparent that helped them understand that the world is filled with everyday magic that we can see if we just take the time to look.
  6. My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
    Incredible, bright illustrations and a funny story about the things we go through for our friends. Books don’t get simpler- or better.
  7. Snip Snap by Mara Bergman; illustrated by Nick Maland
    Perhaps the best read aloud book I’ve ever shared with anyone. I always get impromptu applause whenever I read this book with a story time crowd. I’d love to say that was because of my reading but I really know that it’s all due to Bergman’s wonderful mixture of dramatic verse and audience inclusion.
  8. Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey
    One of the funniest picture books around with unique and intriguing artwork that captures the feel of a child playing with his favorite toy perfectly. This is a story that never gets old, no matter how many times you read it.
  9. Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop by Chris Raschka
    My two-year-old son loves this book. The beautiful rhythm of the words and the zany, sometimes confusing illustrations that are exemplary of Raschka’s style never fail to draw him in. I’ve recommended it to other parents of young children and they all return to the library extremely pleased. Something about this book just resonates with their kids.
  10. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
    I feel this story helps show how we are all connected through our mutual appreciation for acts of bravery and wonder. Plus, Gerstein’s illustrations use a perspective that make my legs tingle when Phillipe begins his historic stunt.
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