2015 has been quite the year for picture books! It is tricky to pick favorites but these are some of mine . . .
ACE DRAGON LTD. by RUSSELL HOBAN & SIR QUENTIN BLAKE
I think this one might very well make my all-time top ten list. For starters it has a dragon who wears wellingtons. Brilliant! This book is hugely humorous (SPOILER gold being spun into straw to save the day!), adventure packed (a couple of battles, a moon landing, and some fire-filled stunts), and has a real classic charm to it. This is the sort of book I aspire to make.
THE DAY THE CRAYONS CAME HOME by DREW DAYWALT & OLIVER JEFFERS
This book is hilarious! Clever, fun, and a perfect follow-up to the first book. Pea Green crayon or, er, I mean Esteban has got to be my favorite. He's pretty much my hero.
GOODNIGHT ALREADY! by JORY JOHN & BENJI DAVIES
This is a fantastic read-aloud sort of picture book. Lots of fun, great pacing, and the illustrations . . . I'm officially a big fan of Benji Davies. The Storm Whale is also a new favorite of mine.
IMAGINARY FRED by EOIN COLFER & OLIVER JEFFERS
I like that while 32 pages is still the standard picture book length there is an increasing amount of picture books that step outside it. The text and illustrations in this 48 page picture book work perfectly together and I wouldn't have minded in the least if it had been still longer. The simple palette added a classic element and worked brilliantly for making the imaginary and magical stand out. Also was a fan of the half-tone dots.
LOUIS I KING OF THE SHEEP by OLIVIER TALLEC
I've been a fan of Olivier Tallec ever since I first came across the Rita & Whatsit books. His sketchy lines say so much and his distinctive style I find hugely appealing. This book manages to tackle some big concepts in clever ways and is one I find myself returning to frequently.
LEO: A GHOST STORY by MAC BARNETT & CHRISTIAN ROBINSON
Christian Robinson . . . I'm thoroughly charmed by his work. His color palette for this book with the blues, blacks, and grays fits fantastically with the tone of the story and despite such a limited palette the illustrations are playful and have an energy to them that is both nostalgic and new. As ever Mac Barnett's text sets the illustrations up so well. I'm completely taken with this book.
UNDER A PIG TREE: A HISTORY OF THE NOBLE FRUIT by MARGIE PALATINI and CHUCK GROENINK
This one caught me by surprise. It isn't often that a non-fiction-ish book grabs my attention, but the running joke in this book works so well and sets up some fantastic illustrations.
RUDE CAKES by ROWBOAT WATKINS
This book has it happening on so many levels. Great concept, full of fun randomness, and so funny that the helpful message of the book avoids being didactic.
SPECIAL DELIVERY by PHILIP C. STEAD & MATTHEW CORDELL
I already had a soft spot for special parcels and sending mail and then this book came out just as I was finishing my book IT CAME IN THE MAIL . . . and now I might be a bit obsessive. Great read-aloud, genius-level interplay between text and illos with perfect page-turns, and the RANDOMNESS of it all puts it into a special category for me. This is one I can't to read with my kids some day. This is the sort of book that lives on for years. A classic in my mind and I bet for many others.
THE LITTLE GARDENER by EMILY HUGHES
I've gotten lost in these illustrations on a number of occasions already. Add a story line that speaks to the power of small acts to make a big impact . . . this book is a winner. Inspiring and captivating!
Still need to get some presents for kids (or adults) for the holidays? Or for yourself? I don't think you could go wrong with any of these titles. There are also a number of brilliant books that critique group pals of mine have come out with this year. My next post will focus on those! Book love!