Picture book masterpieces

Yes, I remember both of those! And I remember the pipe thing being controversial. Funny, because I read Curious George as a kid, and I have never had the least urge to smoke a pipe!

Oh, God, is that annoying. I think I’ll stick to the original.

Are You My Mother? by PD Eastman and *Guess How Much I Love You *by Sam McBratney both have a special place in my heart.
I loved Tikki Tikki Tembo!
Did anyone mention Millions Of Cats?

If you like the pigeon books, check out Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, by Willems. It’s a riot.

One I don’t get tired of is Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson. The poetry is fun to read, and the illustrations are gorgeous. In fact, the illustrations of the sequels is even more beautiful, though I think the writing is a bit less wonderful. I’ve fantasized about doing murals in my daughters’ room of the inner cover illustrations of Bear’s cave in winter, spring, summer, and fall.

“Zeee! Is Everyone Still Angry With Me?” That one? Loved it, can’t find it now.

It follows on nicely from the Gruffalo, too. The same team of Donaldon/Schaeffler do several other books, but the Gruffalo ones are best.

I think this is The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord … I have mixed memories of it because I used to babysit for a kid who wanted this book read over and over AND OVER, etc.

That’s it! Thanks!

I don’t think anyone’s yet mentioned Go Dog Go, which had a whole thread about it.

One that hasn’t been mentioned is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Quick as a Cricket

Don’t Be Surprised

Rumble in the Jungle

Bitter Bananas

My son LOVED these. Beautiful illustrations!

The Whales’ Song

The art work isn’t done justice by the Amazon ‘search inside’ feature, but the pictures are beautiful, all oil paintings. It’s a stunner, and should be a classic.

I’ll stop there before I get completely carried away!

Fleur-de-Lupin by Binette Schroeder. I loved the artwork when I was a kid. Thirty years later, I saw it was still for sale! So I bought a copy. As I currently don’t have kids in my life to read to, I decided to use the whole-page illustrations as artwork for my walls. I neatly tore out the pages and hung them on the wall, in a long ribbon, so the story can be followed without words, like a kind of storyboard. I was very happy with the way it looked, it was a nice change from having just one poster or a couple of smaller frames hanging on the wall.

Ooh! ooh! Harold and the Purple Crayon is an absolute must. I can’t believe no one else has mentioned it yet. This is one of those really simple picture books that just seems to get better and better as I get older.

I also loved The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics but I’m not absolutely certain it’s a masterpiece - I lost my copy several years ago. But it’d still be in the first half-dozen or so books I’d buy for any kid. I had no idea it was written by Norton Juster (who is best known for The Phantom Tollbooth) until I looked it up for this post.

Anything and everything Shaun Tan does, but in particular The Rabbits, written by John Marsden. It’s a visually sunning exploration of the colonisation of Australia, and can be reread over and over. I choose to believe that it ends with a note of hope, but it makes for bleak reading initially.
Chris van Allsburgh, who I don’t normally have a lot of time for, has a brilliant, non linear book of detailed illustrations with single line captions. This website has a neat class project with the illustrations, and I have dim memories of my teachers using them similar exercises.

I grew up with this edition of A Lion In The Meadow by Margaret Mahy. I don’t know if subsequent editions have the same illustrations (I think they probably would). They have always stuck in my mind.

Also, anything by Raymond Briggs, especially The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman, and The Bear

The same illustrations are used, but the ending was changed when it was reprinted, maybe last year or the year before. I never had it as a kid, so I can’t remember how it originally went, and I don’t know whether to be outraged or not.

Yay for reading to kids!
Chinaberry is my all time favoritest non-commercial books for babies-teens (and some adult books too) source. Do yourself a huge favor and sign up for the catalog. It is awesome toilet reading. Pick up a few books they recommend from the library and then, when you fall in love with their stuff, order from them. They really care about kids, books and reading. I may be a little biased here, but Chinaberry changed the entire way I look at kids books.

Other Indy Kids Booksellers:

Rosie Hippo very waldorfy, the sight is a bit odd to navigate.

Some of the favs around Chateau Ujest:
Rainbabies Luminous artwork, wonderful story. I cry every time I read it.

Heckedy Peg Brave mom, luminous artwork. Good story.

Anno’s Counting Book Wordless picture book that is just amazing in helping kids learn to count and understand numbers.

Dogger My Number 1 ( with an exclamation point) book to give as a gift for any child who is about to become a big brother/sister. I cry every time I read it.
The MacDuff Series My kids couldn’t get enough of these.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the other children’s songs set to art work with additional lyrics by this author. A Must, IMHO.

Six Dinner Sid A cat with an appetite.

The Rag Coat Ages 4 or so and up.

Flotsam by David Wiesner is pretty amazing.

The Fortune-Tellers by Lloyd Alexander is another favorite. Great story and beautiful pictures.


In fact, I came into this thread to suggest this one. It was my favorite book in early elementary school…I think I bought it through the school book club or something. Watch out for that Tomato Tornado!!!

I’m also a really big fan of **Bedtime for Francis ** by Russell Hoban and Garth Williams. It’s a really wonderful story about the way kids stall when it’s time for bed, and the illustrations are great.

I also love A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik.

I second Harold and the Purple Crayon and add The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant and Mark Teague and Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, both of which I love for the illustrations maybe more than the story.

My favorites are Curious George, Babar, and pretty much anything by Leo Lionni.