Sunday, March 1, 2009

Favorite Picture Books of 2008

In no particular order...

Pete and Pickles
by Berkeley Breathed. The clever tale of an unlikely friendship between Pete, a practical pig, and Pickles, an eccentric elephant. After Pete rescues Pickles from the circus, he finds his life is a little more unpredictable than the life to which he is accustomed. What really makes this book special is the relationship between the illustrations (which are highly detailed) and the text. There's a plot line that runs only through the illustrating, inviting kids to use their imaginations to connect the dots between the pictures and the text. ($17.99 from Philomel)

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers. When a little boy finds an airplane in his closet (like you do) he flies it to the moon, and makes friends with a Martian who is similarly stranded. Working together, they engineer the means for their mutual safe trips home. The little boy is the same unnamed boy from the book Lost and Found and the penguin from said book makes an unnamed cameo in this new installment. This book is always a success at story time, keeping even the most restless child's attention for the entire duration of the story. And since the boy in the story is unnamed, any boy's name can be inserted while it is being told, which adds a nice personal touch. Because, really, what little boy wouldn't want to think he could fly to the moon and make a friend there to boot? ($16.99 from Philomel)

Wave by Suzy Lee. A wordless book depicting a little girl playing in the waves on a beach. Simply, yet evocative, this New York Times Best Illustrated book of 2008 invites kids to write their own words to the story. Similar to Wonder Bear, which also made the NYT Best Illustrated list, but with a more simple story line (little girl plays in waves, knocked down by waves, gets back up). ($15.99 from Chronicle Books)

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