2016 was another great year for picture books. I didn’t read as many as I usually do, but overall the quality of my picture book reading was up because I was more selective (rather than going to the library and grabbing a bunch of books at random).
My very favorite book of the year was Brendan Wenzel’s They Saw a Cat. I wrote about it in my Favorite Books of 2016 post earlier in the week.
Princesse CamCam uses such delicate cut-paper art to tell a wordless story about a fox who seeks refuge from a winter storm in Fox’s Garden.
I really struggle with reading Ballet Cat books aloud: I end up laughing so hard that I totally mangle the read-aloud. Especially since no one I ever read these books to thinks they’re quite as funny as I do. But I know I’m right: Dance! Dance! Underpants! is one of the funniest books of 2016.
Cumulative stories might be delightful to children, but they’re often a little bit boring to me. There is nothing the least bit boring about One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, however. The use of language is so fresh and engaging, and Brendan Wenzel’s illustrations are so funny and detailed.
I was skeptical about School’s First Day of School, but I shouldn’t have been. Adam Rex creates a rounded and engaging character in the school and Christian Robinson’s illustrations are perfect, as always.
Darkly funny, even a bit macabre, A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals had me laughing from the title. This is one I know my college students will appreciate.
A book that quietly, beautifully, explores loneliness, friendship, and what it means to live a purposeful life with exquisite illustrations by Erin Stead.
When Green Becomes Tomatoes features wonderful seasonal poetry by Julie Fogliano and charming illustrations by Julie Morstad.
The White Cat and the Monk is one that I keep thinking about, months after first reading it. Smith’s illustrations are remarkable, and the simple text by Bogart has a lovely meditative quality.
Such a strong and surprising conclusion to Klassen’s brilliant trilogy. Not what I was expecting but absolutely what I needed.