(My) Top Ten Picture Books

A columnist for SchoolLibraryJournal.com asked for contributions to the Top Ten Pictures Books of all time.  http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1790000379/post/1950041395.html


I sent my list in and now that she’s compiled all 100 titles (and slowly unveiling the list), I thought I’d share my list.

10.eloise1  Eloise by Kay Thompson.  I think I love Kay Thompson almost as much as I love Eloise. Kay said one of my favorite quotes:

I’ve discovered the secret of life: a lot of hard work, a lot of sense of humor, a lot of joy, and a whole lot of tra-la-la!

I think Eloise embodies that quote must as much as Kay must have.  Here is Kay in the movie Funny Face:  

Eloise reminds me what it’s like to be young and think the world revolves around you. The illustrations reflect the “think pink” point of view. And I rawther love Nanny.

9.  pigeon Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. It’s newer than most on my list, but the simple drawings and sneakiness of the pigeon are just fun.

8.  owl-babies Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.  Three owls waiting for their mom to show up trying to convince themselves they aren’t afraid.  Who will forget Sarah and Percy and Bill just wanting their mom?  The repitition and real-ness make it well-loved.

7.  owl-and-the-pussy-cat The Owl and the Puzzy Cat by Edward Lear. Look, a pea green boat.  I think this is probably the only real poem I’ve ever memorized. Jan Brett’s pictures make it real for me. Now I know what a runcible spoon is.  and I want to sail a way for a year and a day with my husbandand discover the land where the bonga tree grows.

6.  tuesday1Tuesday by David Wiesner.  This is my sole Caldecott and wordless picture book choice.  It’s fun. The characters are larger than life. There is no moral to the story, it’s just flying froggy fun.

5. goodnight-moonGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  Hello funny colored book. Hello loved-by-children everywhere. 

4. monkey-faceMonkey Face by Frank Asch. This is not a book loved for its pictures. This is about the story and animal faces and momma love. This is perhaps my favorite story time flannel board.  I’m not even sure it’s in print anymore.

3. chicka-chickaChicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin and John Archambault.  I picked this title over other Bill Martin titles for one reason only.  Every time I see a palm tree (and that isn’t that often) I skit skat skoodle doot flip flop flee. When the title first came out, I was working in a children’s bookstore and it took me a while to understand the book. I truly didn’t think it would catch on as a vehicle for learning the alphabet.  Ha, it’s almost a franchise. It’s wonderful.

2. busy-spider The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.   I think this is the perfect picture book… farm animals and their sounds, repetition, tactile, movement. And Eric Carle. Perfect.

1.miss-rumphius2  Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.  This title came out the year I graduated high school. I didn’t know about it for another ten years and still I want to be just like Alice when I grow up. I want to travel places, bring books to people and make the world a better place. Alice is my hero.  It isn’t a preschoolers book. It’s not a story time title.  It’s an offering of love. 

What about you? What are your top ten favorite picture books? Why?

SH 4.09


About SH

I'm a children's librarian in the western suburbs of Chicago. I've been involved with children's literature since working in a children's bookstore in 1990.
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