Tracey’s Favorite Picture Books of 2014 : A Baker’s Dozen
It’s that time again—the posting of the yearly favorites from last year. I’m actually a bit late this year, but choosing my favorites is one of the most difficult jobs I have. Today I’ll share my favorite picture books; check back in the next few days for my fiction and nonfiction favorites.
My original list of picture books had over thirty titles on it, so I am surprised (shocked!) that I was able to get it down to a baker’s dozen. The titles below are MY favorites; what else would you add?
Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood (ill. by Jonathan Bean). 9780547928524. 2014. Gr PK-2.
Good-byes are not good—they are bad, according to the unhappy little boy moving to a new place. The whole family is sad as they say good-bye to their old town. But when they get to their new house, the boy sees another boy outside. Maybe a new friend? After an evening of catching fireflies, the boys say good-bye as they head to their own homes.
Blizzard by John Rocco. 9781423178651. 2014. Gr PK-1.
Rocco does the same for winter that he did for summer in Blackout. This time he revisits the blizzard of 1978 which dumped 53 inches of snow on his Rhode Island town.
Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle. 9781452128917. 2014. Gr PK-2.
Friendships are tricky, especially when friends have different interests. Flora and the penguin are skating together when penguin dives below the ice to chase some fish. Annoyed, Flora ignores him when he offers her a snack. The flaps in this wordless book, as in Idle’s Flora and the Flamingo, add to the graceful artwork, telling a sweet story of two friends reconnecting after a tiff.
Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light. 9780763666484. 2014. Gr. PK-1.
A boy asks everyone he meets if they have seen his dragon, as the dragon leads him on a merry chase through the heights and depths of this modern city. This “Find Me” book doubles as a counting book that will delight young readers.
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea (ill. by Lane Smith). 9781596439757. 2014. Gr K-2.
Drywater Gulch has big problems, and the mayor suspects the nasty Toad brothers. Until the new sheriff gallops into town—actually, he shuffles in on a tortoise—and with his detective skills, he blames the dinosaurs? Seems to make sense, but the Toad brothers furiously disagree! This book would make a great read-aloud, especially for a reader with a Western drawl.
Little Puppy and the Big Green Monster by Mike Wohnoutka. 9780823430642. 2014. Gr PK-1.
Big Green Monster just wants a little bit of time alone to read, but perky Little Puppy wants to play…and misconstrues everything Monster does to get rid of him. Can the spirited puppy charm the green grouch? This book is the favorite of my great-nephew, Harmon!
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. 9781554537044. 2014. Gr PK-2.
With the help of her canine assistant, a little girl sets out to build the “Most Magnificent Thing.” But none of her attempts matches what she sees in her head, and she is furious. Her dog suggests that they take a walk, and then she is able to relax and set about the task with fresh energy—and this time she succeeds!
One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl (ill. by Tom Lichtenheld). 9781442453364. 2014. Gr PK-2.
A lesson on sharing makes this counting book unique. In the first half, there are not enough objects for each animal that wants one, so someone is sadly left out—such as in the game “Musical Chairs”. But after 20 pigs show everyone how to share 10 slides, the rest of the animals figure out how to share as well in this gleeful book that makes this lesson fun.
Pardon Me! by Daniel Miyares. 9781442489974. 2014. Gr PK-2.
I was so delighted when I read the galley of this book that I had to read it aloud to my co-workers! A grouchy little bird wants peace and quiet in his corner of the swamp, but the other animals (each one saying “Pardon me!”) think he needs some company. Fed up, the little bird screams, “PARDON ME!” As the animals scatter, the bird settles down—my introvert self was thrilled with the book so far—but then you realize that he is not as alone as he thought…
Rhoda’s Rock Hunt by Molly Beth Griffin (ill. by Jennifer A. Bell). 9780873519502. 2014. Gr PK-2.
I’ve always loved rocks—I have a rock from a mountain stream in Colorado, one autographed by my college prof, another that belonged to my niece who died unexpectedly, and still another from Patagonia from a former co-worker (thanks, Anne!). So I love this story of a little girl who collects rocks on a hiking trip with her aunt and uncle, until her new collection of treasured rocks is too heavy to carry. How can she get them back home?
Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan. 9780545639125. 2014. Gr K-4.
Anyone with an older sibling will appreciate this book. As summer begins, an older brother clues his little brother in on the rules. Common sense rules (“Never forget the password”) are included with more arbitrary ones (“Never leave a red sock on the clothesline”), all of which reinforce the older boy’s superiority (“Never ask for a reason”). The younger brother is always one step behind until his older brother rescues him…and we see the deeper relationship between the two.
Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton. 9780763672935. 2014. Gr PK-1.
Three bumbling hunters are determined to capture a beautiful bird, but the bird always escapes. They attempt it over and over, each time with a new plan, but are always unsuccessful. Finally, one tries out a gentler approach.
This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne. 9781627790710. 2014. Gr K-2.
Bella is walking her pooch across the page when the dog disappears into the gutter of the book. “This book just ate my dog!” she tells her friend Ben, who volunteers to check things out. He disappears, too, as well as several emergency vehicles, and then Bella herself. How will they escape? Maybe the readers can help. This clever interactive picture book will be a hit in story time with one or with a group.
P.S. If you wonder what books were on my penultimate favorites list, you can check it out here.