Ten terrific picture books from 2012
Almost everyone enjoys a top ten list. As well, almost everyone will have different choices for their top ten lists. Here is my list of ten great picture books from 2012 (so far).
Oh, No, George by Chris Haughton has engaging text and eye-catching pictures. There are two characters, George, a dog, and Harry, the dog's owner. Harry asks George questions and the narrator asks the reader questions. The questions allow the reader to participate in the story.
This hilarious book will have you and your child laughing at George's struggle between behaving properly and following his impulses.
The font used in Demolition by Sally Sutton is large and will help young readers with print awareness and letter recognition. The book is written in poetic language using quatrains. The illustrations are done with pigmented inks and use hard, straight lines for the construction scenes and more colourful, curving lines for the playground scenes.
Your toddler or preschooler will love this fun, action-packed book. "I like books!' is the phrase your child will shout after reading Demolition.
Gem by Holly Hobbie is a wordless book that will have the youngest child developing their own narrative skills and telling the story. Holly Hobbie uses realism and soft, delicate textures in her illustrations. Gem, the main character, is a toad. Hobbie uses lines of fence and road to draw the reader's eye in to consider where Gem might go next. Almost the only hard, sharp lines in the illustrations are when a car tire whizzes past only a few inches from Gem.
A gorgeous book to spend some time exploring.
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett is a tale about kindess and generosity. Jon Klassen, the illustrator, uses colour to reflect the character's emotions. There is a predictability to the text that young readers will appreciate. After each of her projects, Annabelle "still has extra yarn." This phrase repeats and young readers and listeners will be able to shout it out by the end of the book.
A beautiful book about the role happiness, sharing and kindness may play in our lives.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer is the story of William's life as a young teenager when he taught himself to build a windmill and bring electricity to his Malawi village during a period of drought and famine in 2001. The illustrations in this book are done with oil paint and cut paper and have a beautiful vibrancy to them.
The text tells a more complex story that appeals to school-age children. William's story reminds readers to persevere and to try to reach their goals in life.
Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio tells a story and gives the reader craft projects. The illustrations are done with pencil and coloured in digitally. The pacing of DiPucchio's text is immaculate, timed perfectly with the "drama of turning the page." There is a description of Chloe finding the perfect doll for her friend's birthday in the toy store and as the reader turns the page, Chloe turns around to see her least, best friend buying the very same doll for the very same party.
Readers can go to Crafty Chloe's website to find the crafts. DiPucchio's story-telling is reminiscent of Kevin Henkes.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce is located in the Toronto Public Library's advanced picture book collection which appeals to children in grades two and up. The books is based on the Academy Award-winning short film of the same name.
A beautifully illustrated story of characters who really love books.
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul Zelinsky is an alphabet book with a twist. Because Z is for Moose plays with the order of the alphabet, it appeals to readers who already know the alphabet and can appreciate the hiliarity of moose's actions and how funny it is when Moose interrupts the proper order of the letters.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is an amazing concept picture book. The young reader learns about the many shades of the colour green and pages near the end have room for a discussion of other colours. The simple text means that there is room for the child to express his own thoughts about each page.
My final choice for a great picture book from 2012 is Wave the Flag and Blow the Whistle by Ronda Armitage and published by Egmont in the UK. It's a child-friendly story of two children and their grandparents who take a train trip to the countryside. The text includes bits of familiar nursery rhymes, exciting sounds from the train and questions for the reader.
The illustrations are realistically done and include lots of interesting and fun details.
I hope your young readers enjoy some of these books!