THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2012
This marks my fourth annual list of the best picture books of the year. This also marks my last year of compiling this list as a professional story-time lady. Working at the bookstore, weekly story times were always my favorite part of the job. I loved trying out books on the kids (who, on the whole, sat rapt no matter what I read) and I especially loved finding lesser known books to share with my little listeners. Besides the chagrin I feel at the loss of event that was part of my life for seventeen years, I am a little nervous about my abilities to share the best in picture books with you without the opportunity to test drive them on a live audience, so to speak. However, there is a lovely little independent bookstore near my office and I think I might just start heading over there once a week for their story time so I stay in touch with the people these books are being written and illustrated for.
I tried to keep my list to 20 books and failed. So, to make it seem not-so-long, I have divided it into categories!
14 PICTURE BOOKS I JUST LOVE -
FOR THE ART AND THE STORY
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
MATTHEW CORDELL SPECIAL MENTION
These three books would have made it onto this "best of list" anyway, but I just thought it was so cool that this spectacular author/illustrator had FOUR picture books out this year, three of which I reviewed here and read at story time and love to bits!
BEST WORDLESS PICTURE BOOKS
I think that Enchanted Lion has this genre covered, especially while Arthur Geisert keeps making books!
BEST ROBOT BOOKS
Need I say more?
BEST HALLOWEEN BOOK (or anytime book) OF THE YEAR
The rhyme and pace of Nathan Hale and Rick Walton, as well as the illustrations, are spot on and they parody Ludwig Bemelman's MADELINE in the best spirit possible.
BEST INTERACTIVE BOOK
Alan Ahlberg returns to the glory of the JOLLY POSTMAN books that he wrote and his wife Janet illustrated. This time, daughter Jessica takes over the illustrating and does a lovely job.
BEST CONCEPT BOOK
A brilliant example of what a creative mind paired with fantastic design can do with an old theme.
BEST PICTURE BOOK FEATURING A
SURREALIST ARTIST AS A CHARACTER
DB Johnson is a genius when it comes to taking an adult figure from the world of art, history or philosophy and making the person and concept they are best known for (as he did with Henry David Thoreau in his Henry books) interesting to kids.
BEST PICTURE BOOK FEATURING A BEAT WRITER AS A CHARACTER
This book captures wonderfully the exuberant love of his country and joyful freedom of travel that Jack Kerouac experienced and channeled into his book On the Road.
BEST PICTURE BOOK THAT INTRODUCES WORLD RELIGIONS TO KIDS
A spectacular journey through the Muslim world and holidays, gorgeously illustrated.
BEST NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK
This beautifully written and delightfully illustrated book tells the story of Julia Child's Parisian cat, Minette.