I love books and I especially love children’s picture books. I’ve put together my top 10 favorites in no particular order of importance. I like them all just the same. If you haven’t had the chance to read any of them what are you waiting for? You should just do it! 🙂
1. The Pagemaster by David Kirschner, Ernie Contreras and Jerry Tiritilli (Illustrator) Description: Books didn’t really interest ten-year-old Richard Tyler. As far as he could tell they didn’t cause mercury poisoning, earthquakes, or any of the host of other things that Richard was afraid of. This all changes, however, when Richard meets the Pagemaster, keeper of the books and guardian of the written word, and is plunged into a land where the world’s greatest stories have become reality. Upon entering the realm of classic literature, Richard watches kindly Dr. Jekyll turn into the maniacal Mr. Hyde; comes face to face with Long John Silver, the meanest, most black-hearted pirate who ever sailed the seven seas; and is swallowed whole by a firebreathing dragon.
Timid and overcautious, all Richard wanted was to get out of a rainstorm and call his parents. Instead, he is given an adventure that will change his life forever. Joined by three unlikely companions-library books who have come to life-Richard is forced to confront his fears and find the courage he didn’t know he possessed. What began as a young boy’s quest for home and safety turns into a voyage of personal growth, friendship, and an appreciation for the power of books. Heeding the advice of the Pagemaster, When in doubt, look to the books,” Richard learns lessons about literature, life, and humanity.
My review: I was in college in the early nineties when I first discovered this book. It was the cover that got me first. I looked at all of the illustrations inside and loved it. It’s about a young boy who is afraid of everything. After he gets a library card, he goes on amazing adventures reading books and his life is never the same! There was a movie based on this book in the nineties starring Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, and Leonard Nimoy. It wasn’t the best animated movie but I enjoyed it. I am not sure if you can find this book anymore so check your local library first or Book Closeouts online.
2. Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell (Illustrator) Description: Silly, cranky, excited, or sad–everyone has moods that can change each day. Jamie Lee Curtis’s zany and touching verse, paired with Laura Cornell’s whimsical and original illustrations, helps kids explore, identify, and, even have fun with their ever-changing moods.
My Review: I was working at a bookstore at the time when I discovered this book. It’s a great idea for a picture book and it makes me laugh every time I read it. I was skeptical at first. This was about the time when Madonna and other actors were getting into writing books for kids. But I love this one. What a great way to talk to kids about all of the different moods we have.
3. God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Laura J. Bryant
Description: When a charming polar bear cub climbs into bed one night, she asks her mama a very important question–one that little “human cubs” often wonder about too: “Where did I come from?”
As Mama Bear tucks her young cub under the quilts, she gently, tenderly, and reassuringly communicates the message loving parents everywhere (bears and non-bears alike) want their little ones to hear: “We wanted you very, very much, and we are so very glad because…”God gave us you.”
Perfect for bedtime, naptime, storytime, or anytime, God Gave Us You provides a valuable opportunity to build children’s self-esteem every day and assure each one that he or she truly is a welcomed, precious, and treasured gift from above.
My review: Finding this book one day was purely coincidence. I was awaiting the birth of my first child and wandered through a bookstore looking at picture books. I wanted to buy one for her. I saw this in the discount bin and picked it up. I am so glad I did! What a sweet story. This is a great book to teach children about where they came from and the anticipation of those awaiting that child to be born. It’s sweet. I read this book to my daughter when she was first born each night and it’s one of her favorite books now.
4. The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Bumbeau and Gail de Marcken (Illustrator)
Description: A quiltmaker helps a selfish king learn that giving is the true secret to happiness. The heartwarming, strongly moral tale supports important values, and the detailed illustrations, featuring dozens of lovingly rendered quilt patterns offer hours of delight.
My review: As I was putting together this post I rediscovered this book. What a great story. What do you do when you have everything and you are still unhappy? This timeless theme of giving is good for us all to keep in mind. The illustrations are amazing. All of the different types of quilting squares are represented inside the cover of the book. It made me cry. The author was actually signing at the bookstore I was working at so I have a signed copy!
My Review: This is the book I give away the most whether to my nieces and nephews, friends or even to my husband when we were dating. What kid doesn’t imagine going to far off lands and places to escape the current situation they find themselves in? I love the illustrations in here. I’ve seen the animated version of this and also the movie that was based on the book. I think it did a great job of capturing the imagination in all of us. I read a post once on a blog that tattoos of the “wild thing” are very common. This book reminds me just how cool books can be.
6. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
“On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
‘Life will never be the same.’
Because there had never been
anyone like you…
ever in the world.”
So begins the enchanting tale On the Night You Were Born. Geese fly home to celebrate. Polar bears dance. The whole world comes alive with thanksgiving. Before the tale ends children will be wiggling their toes and whispering their names in joyous celebration of their own unique wonder.
My review: A few years ago at Christmas time I got a package in the mail from my mom. Inside was this book. One for myself and each of my two daughters. I immediately sat down to read the book. I started with a message inside from my mom that said she would read this to me when she visited next. I cried through the whole story. As a mother this is such a sweet story. The day you were born was a celebration and this book makes reference to the one and only you! A great gift even if your children are older. My daughters have the board books and they love for me to read it to them at night before bed.
7. You Are Special by Max Lucado and Sergio Martinez (Illustrator)
Description: Max was interested in helping children understand their value – not from the world’s perspective, but from God’s. Wemmicksville is a land created by Eli, the “God” figure of the story. He creates each Wemmick in Wemmicksville uniquely, each with its own look and personality. Each story and video is a new adventure with the citizens of Wemmicksville. Punchinello is the central character, along with his friends Lucia, Splint, and Chip. When Punchinello strays from Eli, he begins to have problems. Only when Punchinello stays close to Eli does he clearly see how to walk through his life in Wemmicksville.
In this heartwarming tale, Eli helps Punchinello understand how special he is-no matter what other Wemmicks may think. Children will learn a vital lesson-regardless of how the world sees them, God loves each of them just as they are.
My review: I was working at a bookstore at the time when this book was first released. I remember on several occasions selling out of all the copies we had in the store and constantly reordering to replenish our stock. I wondered what made so many people buy this book and bought one for myself. For anyone who has ever felt unloved or not so special because they were not a shining star will love this message. Even though we may not be the piano player or the debate team captain, God made us special just the way we are. Each of us has a purpose and I think that is so important for all of us to learn and remember.
8. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Description: Illus. in color. A baby bird is hatched while his mother is away. Fallen from his nest, he sets out to look for her and asks everyone he meets — including a dog, a cow, and a plane — “Are you my mother?”
My review: If I am asked to remember a favorite book from my youth this is the one that sticks out the most. What a cute story of a baby bird trying to find his mother. It’s a great teaching tool for kids to understand that there are all kinds of mothers out there for dogs, cows, etc. I love how children’s picture books teach us something. I’ve been reading this one to my kids and my oldest now has it memorized so she can turn the pages and read them to us from memory.
9. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd
Description: In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room — to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one — the little bunny says goodnight.
My review: What a fun book for kids and adults alike. This is a great book for winding down at the end of the day and getting ready for sleeping. I love the poem and frankly I love books with moons in them! 🙂
10. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram
Description: “Guess how much I love you,” says Little Nutbrown Hare. Little Nutbrown Hare shows his daddy how much he loves him: as wide as he can reach and as far as he can hop. But Big Nutbrown Hare, who can reach farther and hop higher, loves him back just as much. Well then Little Nutbrown Hare loves him right up to the moon, but that’s just halfway to Big Nutbrown Hare’s love for him.
My review: This is another book I love giving out as a gift. In fact all of the books on my top 10 list have been gifts to loved ones at one time or another. This is by far the sweetest story between a parent and child. The ways in which we can show our love to each other as parent and child try to top each others show of affection. This books makes me cry and my children love it. I tell them this is how much I love them!
Honorable Mentions: I could’ve made this a top 25 list but I didn’t want this post to drag on. The honorable mentions are excellent reads too! The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale, Strega Nona, Stellaluna, Frog and Toad Are Friends, Oh the Places You’ll Go, and Green Eggs and Ham.