Archives for category: Best Of
Where’s Walrus?
Where’s Walrus? The Cover Shot

So… I fell off the blogger wagon. Pretty hard. But I’ve got more free time now, and finally decided I should start this up again. I had a lot of fun doing this and stopped because I stopped being around kids books all the time, and I really miss it. So I’m going to make a conscious effort to visit my bookstore friends more often and get on this again.

A week or two ago, (I mean, May of 2011, obviously…) I was at the Kids’ Desk on a Sunday, when I noticed tons of brand new picture books on display. Naturally, I was excited. I grabbed a stack of the most promising ones, and brought them back to the desk. These are the best of the lot, that day anyway.


Where’s Walrus, by New York Times (among others) illustrator Stephen Savage, is a wordless picture book about an escaped walrus, and a zookeeper who won’t give up the search. It is, of course, the reader’s duty (and pleasure) to find walrus in every spread. Though s/he isn’t hard to find. This book was very fun to look through.

walrus dancing cancan cabaret

Walrus Spread

Walrus in a fountain

Walrus Winks
Walrus Winks

It is wordless, so there is only a little bit of typography in this book. That being said, I was impressed by what there was, even the copyright page was pretty (it was set in Gotham, so that helped). It made me think about how important it is to make your type nice, especially if there is little of it.

This Plus That

This Plus That

This Plus That, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, with illustrations by Jen Corace, is a really fun one. It is full of “little equations” very nicely put together by Rosenthal. Such as “chalk + sitting = school” &“chalk + jumping = hopscotch.”smell of pancakes - alarm clock = weekend

Oh, Amy, I only wish that were true…

Birthdays & Sprinkles

Birthdays & Sprinkles

Yes, Amy. Anything is better with sprinkles. Life’s little truths summed up perfectly for the rest of us.

Purple Little Bird

Purple Little Bird

#3Bird & Vase!

Lightbulb Bird!

Lightbulb Bird!

Find out what Purple Little Bird (by the multi-talented Greg Foley) learns, and how he implements it. (PS: This is a great color learning book, with an actual story and a sweet message to go along with it.)

Amanda & Her Alligator

Amanda & Her Alligator

#4I gave you a little sneak preview of this one last week. It’s Mo Willems, doing what he does a lot… Writing funny picture books. This one, Hooray for Amanda & her Alligator!, is no exception. It’s got stories, like George & Martha, like Sylvie & True, short stories that together, tell a story. Just a story about a girl and her gator. And it’s funny. And the illustrations, like Amanda lying on her back reading, they’re great.Amanda lying on her back reading

More Amanda being a normal kid

I love the way that it looks so silly, and you think, “what a weird kid!” until you remember reading, completely draped over the furniture, in the strangest positions, and you realize that it’s just too familiar. This is REAL, guys.It’s full of funny little instances of surprise, jealousy, failure, triumph, friendship, you name it—you got it. This book has it all. Much like life.


The Tree House, by Marije & Ronald Tolman was an instant hit at the kids’ desk. Another in the wordless book trend that’s been happening, this one is rich in color and imagination. A tree house through the seasons, watch how it changes. I’d love to look at this book with a child and listen to their observations.

Here are a couple of images from inside.  The scale of the book is pretty large for a picture book, so I focused on smaller parts of the whole illustration. This is one you’d really benefit from holding in your hands (although, I say that about every book, to be fair); the quality of the paper is good, there is so much to find in each illustration. These pictures here are some of my favorite things that I found.

Detail, with books

Flamingo Detail

Detail of Sky with Flamingo

The Tree House came out in May of 2010 from Lemniscaat USA.

Seasons, by BlexbolexI keep meaning to talk about this one. So incredibly beautiful. French comic artist Blexbolex‘s beautiful screenprints are evocative and straightforward. I love the simple way he captures something as mundane as a t-shirt. It evokes “a smile in the mind,” as the designers say.

I love how he puts things that go together next to each other, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. It’s a bit of an exercise, in a fun way. Word association. I’ve sold this one to several people as a baby book, a family gift, or even one simply for adults. It works on so many levels. Not very often one can say that.

Seasons was published in April 2010 by Enchanted Lion Books.

Mr. Elephanter by Lark Pien

Mr. Elephanter, a sort of elephantie nanny

This is another of my favorites. Mr. Elephanter is a sort of nanny to the little elephanties. He cares for them, sets them down for naps, and takes them to the zoo. After banana pancakes, of course. The elephanties say things like “poom” and “fwee” and I love them. I also love the hand done type and the beautiful illustrations. Those joyful elephanties make me almost as happy as Mr. Elephanter’s mustache. Thank you, Lark Pien for such a lovely little world.

More pictures from inside:

Mr. Elephanter came out in September and was published by Candlewick Books.

The Chicken Thief, by Beatrice Rodriguez

Running through the forest, scooping up the fieldmice...

There’s been an awesome wordless book trend, and this is without a doubt my favorite of those that came out last year.

The Chicken Thief, by Beatrice Rodriguez, published by Enchanted Lion Press, May 2010.

A chicken is stolen underneath the noses of her barnyard friends (and protective rooster partner) by a fox. A chase ensues, with a surprising ending that is a joy to watch as it unfolds. Loose, colorful, evocative illustrations, reminiscent of William Steig and Quentin Blake.

More pictures from inside.

Henry in Love, by Peter McCarty

Peter McCarty on the subject of love

I love Peter McCarty’s illustrations. Jeremy Draws a Monster is another of my favorites in this same style, but he is also well known for the more subdued softness of Hondo & Fabian.

I love the line with the power to be seen through milk cartons, the same line that drives my favorite coworker absolutely crazy. Henry in Love, from Balzer & Bray gets my vote for best school lunch, as well as best interspecies first love picture book.