Tracey’s Dozen (or so) Favorite 2012 Picture Books
First of all, a very merry Christmas greeting from the bloggers at Mackin Books in Bloom. We hope that you are enjoying the holiday season with your friends and family!
I thought about asking my fellow blog writers if I could do a “Favorite 100 Picture Books of 2012,” but I figured they would just roll their eyes at me. Picture books are the hardest for me to narrow down, because I love them so much. I couldn’t even get this “Top 10” list down to a dozen. Could you?
Happy by Mies Van Hout. 9781935954149. 2012. PS-1.
Children are often confused by any emotions beyond happy, sad, mad, and bored. The expressions on the brightly colored fish in this picture book go beyond these basic feelings, showing kids how they look when they are nervous, shy, furious, brave, confused, astonished, and more. Click here to find other picture books on emotions.
It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle (ill by Jeremy Tankard). 9780811869256. 2012. PS-1.
As the young narrator tells a story of a walk in the jungle, suddenly a tiger jumps out! He tries to hide, but—there’s the tiger again! No matter where he tries to hide, the tiger is there. Will he get eaten? This funny, interactive picture book shows that you shouldn’t make assumptions.
More by I.C. Springman (ill by Brian Lies). 9780547610832. 2012. PS-2.
If having something is good, then getting several is better, right? And having lots is even nicer. But what if you get a bit much? A magpie thinks he needs more and more—until he ends up with way too much. Thank goodness he has little friends to teach him a lesson that is good for all of us to learn.
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. 9780763655990. 2012. PS-2.
A tiny fish has just stolen the hat from a big fish, but he’s not worried. The big fish is sleeping and probably won’t wake for a long time; and when he does, he won’t notice that his hat is missing, and if he does notice, he won’t know who took it or where he is hiding…and on and on. But the pictures show that the big fish does wake up and he DOES notice that his hat is missing—and the little fish is about to get his comeuppance.
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers. 9780399161032. 2012. PS-2.
Wilfred has a pet moose named Marcel. And since Wilfred prefers things to be just so, he has a lot of rules for his pet. Marcel is not always so good at following all the rules, unless there are apples involved. Though Wilfred thinks the moose is his, the moose has other ideas, and when they meet up with a lady who claims that “Rodrigo” is her moose, Marcel stays with her (she has an apple). What will Wilfred do without his pet—and friend?
Minette’s Feast : The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich (ill by Amy Bates). 9781419701771. 2012. PS-2.
While Julia Child and her husband were living in Paris, she adopted a cat and named her Minette. As Julia practiced her cooking skills, she would offer left-overs to Minette. (Sweet!) Though Minette enjoyed these treats, her preferences ran to other tasty things—like freshly-caught mice and birds! This cat’s-eye view of the famous chef includes an author’s note.
A Birthday for Bear by Bonnie Becker (ill by Kady MacDonald Denton). 9780763658236. 2012. PS-2.
Bear refuses to acknowledge his birthday. (Does anyone else have this problem?) But Mouse is determined that Bear will celebrate it. First Mouse tries a fake birthday invitation, then he pretends to be a balloon deliveryman and a postman with a birthday card. Even when Santa comes down the chimney with a present, Bear insists, “I DO NOT LIKE BIRTHDAYS!” But can he resist that present?
Dog in Charge by K.L. Going (ill. by Dan Santat). 9780803734791. 2012. PS-2.
Dog is a good dog—the very best dog—and his people award him lots of treats. But when he is left alone in the house with five wily and messy cats, he finds out that he is not really in charge at all. When his people get home and see the mess, they won’t call him “the very best dog.” And will he ever get a treat again?
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham (ill. by Paul O. Zelinsky). 9780060799847. 2012. PS-2.
Zebra lines up all the animals in alphabetical order to present themselves in the book, but Moose is too excited to wait his turn. He interrupts again and again, until finally it is time for M. But…M is for Mouse! Disappointed and upset, Moose behaves badly, just like every other little kid that just wants to be noticed. Zebra feels sorry for Moose, so there is a happy ending. Click here for more alphabet picture books.
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins. 9780547680842. 2012. PS-3.
I am a big fan of Steve Jenkins, and though I really hate bugs, I am fascinated by them (and I’m also an admirer of the art of Christopher Marley.) So I think this is my favorite Steve Jenkins’ title yet (though What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? and Just a Second are close runners-up). Jenkins provides lots of information about beetles, including life cycles, defenses, behaviors, and senses, along with his trademark collages of greater-than-life-sized creatures.
Unspoken : A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole. 9780545399975. 2012. K-2.
This beautiful wordless book tells the story of a young girl in mid-19th century Virginia who discovers that there is an escaped slave hidden in her family’s barn. At first she is scared, but then she sees the frightened eye of the slave peering out of the stored cornstalks. When Confederate soldiers arrive with a wanted poster for the fugitive, she must search her conscience to decide if she has the courage to help him.
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo (ill. by David Small). 9780803734135. 2012. K-3.
While visiting the zoo one day with his father, Elliott falls in love with the penguins (they are so much like himself) and decides to take the smallest one home. The problem then is to keep the penguin happy…and hidden from his father. Fortunately, his father is clueless—or is he? I was, though I shouldn’t have been, because illustrator David Small had left plenty of hints to the fun ending!
A Meal of the Stars : Poems Up and Down by Dana Jensen (ill by Tricia Tusa). 9780547390079. 2012. 1-3.
Tricia Tusa’s pretty illustrations give a clue how to read Dana Jensen’s clever poems in this unique poetry book. Each poem is about something that either goes up or goes down. If it goes down—raindrops, for example—the poem reads from top to bottom. In the poem of the ladybug crawling up the dandelion stem, you start reading the poem from the bottom to the top. An excellent marriage of text and illustrations.
A Rock Is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston (ill. by Sylvia Long). 9781452106458. 2012. 1-4.
Aston and Long have combined their talents again in this fascinating look at earth’s lively rocks and minerals. Lively? Yes, as melted magma. Rocks are also helpful and sneaky and creative and more. This beautifully illustrated, poetic, and informative book explains how rocks are made, how they help us, and how people and animals use them.
What’s your favorite picture book from 2012?
Blogger: Tracey L.