2008 was a terrific year for the category of Children's Picture Books. Frankly, it was even tougher than usual to narrow the list down to the Top 10 for the Best Books of 2008. It also seems that the category is expanding to include outstanding picture books for middle readers (ages 9-12), tweens, teens and even adults. But, more about that in a future blog post...
Back in the summer when we announced our "Best of the Year So Far" round-up, one of our editors' picks was A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton from quality-centric publisher Candlewick Press. A Visitor for Bear isn't one of those super bright, slick kids books that screams "pick me up first!" It is a quieter book about friendship that possesses the pace and timbre of classic children's books of decades past. Denton's rendering of animals with distinct personalities in fresh watercolor washes reminds me a bit of animal stories by Arnold Lobel, Bernard Waber (Lyle, Lyle Crocodile), and James Marshall (George and Martha). When one reads (and re-reads) the book, the tale's light humor, clever use of repetition and charm bring up those warm fuzzy feelings of contentment, and childlike amity with really large animals (bears, crocodiles, hippos). When I picked up the book again this fall, I fell in love all over with the misanthropic bear and the very social mouse who pesters him into an awareness of the joys of platonic companionship. For the little ones and their grown-up reading partners, I hope that 2009 brings more books of the caliber of A Visitor for Bear--less noisy, more insightful, and more fun to read together.
There's more editors' and customer favorites in the Best Books of 2008 Store.
Editors' Top Ten Picks in Children's Picture Books
- A Visitor for Bear
- Icarus at the Edge of Time
- Bats at the Library
- Charley Harper ABCs
- Boogie Knights
- Wonder Bear
- The Way We Work
- Dinosaur vs. Bedtime
- The Retired Kid
- Smash! Crash! (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown)
Customers' Top Ten Picks in Children's Picture Books
- Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly
- Fancy Nancy at the Museum (I Can Read Book 1)
- Big Words for Little People
- Fancy Nancy and the Boy from Paris (I Can Read Book 1)
- Dirt on My Shirt
- Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words: From Accessories to Zany
- The Pigeon Wants a Puppy
- Read All About It!
- We the People: The Story of Our Constitution