Monday, March 24, 2014

Picture Book Authors, a dozen of them

I often think about writing a picture book list. You know the one, the one where a mom of little writes down the top 100 picture books ... but I just can't do it. I can't. There are so many fabulous ones, and I'm certain I've only read a small sliver of them. I do however, have favorite authors. And in no particular order, here's a list of who and why.

Dr Seuss -- Because he is Dr Seuss; need I say more? We love The Cat and the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?. But I can't wait until my kids are old enough for The Sneeches and other genius wonders.

Eric Carle -- The Very Hungry Caterpillar is fabulous, and his Bear books are equally fabulous. I think I have Brown Bear, Brown Bear; Panda Bear, Panda Bear; and Polar Bear, Polar Bear all memorized. I read them over and over and over to my kids during the first couple years of their lives. I will note, however; that Carle illustrated those for Bill Martin -- the author who brought us Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Mem Fox -- Your little ones will know they are special when you read them her stories. Fox has a way of sharing love through words. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes practically brought tears to my eyes each time I read it with my brand new baby Reid. Time for Bed has been one of Nell's favorites. And Reid loves Sleepy Bears. All are fabulous cuddle stories.

Anna Dewdney -- Dewdney is best known for her Llama Llama series, which we love, but Dewdney has other books worth checking out, like Nobunny's Perfect. Dewdney's artwork always captivates children, and her rhyming is smooth. What I like most about her is the life skills her stories teach. She keeps the message clear and simple, all while delivery a fabulous lesson.

David Shannon -- Though his David series have made him famous, we prefer Alice the Fairy and Good Boy, Fergus! Like David, they are silly stories told with lively pictures. Profound morals and enchanting rhymes are not part of Shannon's skill set, but I've learned kids need silly books and books full of imagination just as much as they need life lessons.

Sandra Boyton -- Speaking of silly, Sandra Boyton is queen of silly stories. I don't even know how to pick a favorite Boyton book. I personally don't love any of them, but my kids could hear But Not the Hippotpotamus a thousand times and never tire of it.

Iza Trapani -- Trapani doesn't stand out in my mind as a must read author, but I can't ignore her talent for turning classic nursery rhymes into plot driven stories. Her retelling of The Itsy Bitsy Spider and How Much is that Doggie in the Window? are my favorites; Reid enjoys all of her work. She makes singing childhood songs a joy.

Eric Hill -- I'm not sure how much credit Hill gets for creating Spot, and I'm too lazy to look it up, but I do feel it necessary to mention how much my kids love the Spot books. What's not to love about a smiling animal hiding behind every flap?

Nancy Tillman -- Neither of my kids have requested her books (or even sat through them), but I love her work. It's nice to feel depth as you gaze upon her beautiful artwork.

Virginia Lee Burton -- I want to include Burton as my throwback author. Though her stories are clearly set in her generatoin, they manage to be timeless. Reid is madly in love with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

And though this is a list about authors, I feel compelled to say I love the stories David Catrow illustrates. I suppose when your art skills are that fabulous you get to be picky about what you put your name on, and Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon may just be the greatest picture book of all time. Ain't Gonna Paint No More and Where is my T-R-U-C-K are delightful as well.

There really isn't enough time during childhood to read all the beautiful picture stories that are available. I don't even plan on getting to all the top 100 lists. But when I do browse through the library book shelves, there are some names I always want to bring home. This list is just a dozen of them.

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