My Favorite Picture Book(s) Blogfest

Today is the “My Favorite Picture Book BLOGFEST!”  Click the blue button on the left for a list of all the bloggers participating.

Hmmm.  Asking a children’s librarian to choose a favorite picture book is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child.  Almost cruel!

So, instead I’ve chosen a couple; one that I discovered and fell in love with as an adult and the series of picture books that turned me into the crazy voracious reader I am today.

The One that Could Be the Subject of an Entire Graduate-Level Course:

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales written by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith.

Stinky Cheese Man is one of my faves not just because it is insanely hilarious (which it is) or because it zany, kinetic illustrations are also beautiful and detailed (which they are) or because it is a collection of fractured fairytales (which I also love.)

It’s one of my favorites because it is a picture book about picture books.  It’s self-referential, post-modern, clever, and ingeniously designed.  There is no detail- no typeface or jacket flap or gutter- that is without thought.  It’s the kind of book that can be read, viewed, and discussed thousands of times and with each reading you will discover something new.  Besides that, kids adore it!

The Books that Helped Me Learn to Read (and Love to Read):

Little Golden Books

Oh, Little Golden Books.  My grandparents gave me a set for a birthday or Christmas when I was about four and I read them for what seems like years and years afterward.

I remember my grandfather (Pop Pop) reading the LGB Nursery Rhymes to me.  He would sing and chant the rhymes to me, bouncing me on his knee.  (And this was back before the research about phonological awareness.)  Over time, I memorized the lyrics to the rhymes and he would tap my finger on the words as we sang together.  One day, it just started to “click.” What we were saying and the squiggles on the page connected.  A reader was born.

These cheapy little dime store books were written and illustrated by some of the most popular children’s authors and illustrators, including Margaret Wise Brown, Garth Williams, and Richard Scarry.  For under 25 cents a book, Little Golden Books were accessible for families on a budget.  They helped me (and I’m betting thousands of children) start their own home libraries.  Mine were proudly displayed on a small shelf in the living room next to my toy box.  Sadly, after several moves, I no longer have my original set.  I still get a rich, warm feeling in my chest when I think about learning to read on my own and the pride I felt after reading a story to my Pop Pop.


11 thoughts on “My Favorite Picture Book(s) Blogfest

  1. Stinky Cheese looks like a hoot all right – will chase it down. And I totally agree with you on the Golden Books! Four Kittens was my favourite – just loved the illustrations. And we had a record of someone reading Saggy Baggy Elephant and it got warped and made it all the more wonderful in a nonsensical way. Ah, the joys of reading and of children’s books. Absolutely delightful.

  2. I am going to run out to find “The Stinky Cheese Man”! I love picture books that have a great sense of humor. That looks fantastic and right up my 5 & 8 year old’s alley!

    As for the Golden Books…LOVE THEM! They are such a part of my childhood too. Where are today’s affordable picture book series for kids?

    Thank you for participating in my blogfest!

  3. The Little Golden Books were a genius choice! My daughter has a huge collection of them, and (The Poky Little Puppy and the classic version of Cinderella, specifically) are among her favorite books to read.

  4. I LOVE The Stinky Cheese Man. I remember when it came out and thinking that it was such a breath of fresh air in the world of children’s literature. The Golden Books were favorites in my home too.

  5. I am enjoying reading about everyone’s favorite picture books. I must be blocking out my childhood, having a “senior moment” or I just didn’t have that many picture books as a child. I don’t know. But, what I DO remember is my Dr. Suess books and my Disney Books. I think I started reading “big people’s books” too early? I am now reverting back to a kid and going to the library with a list of picture books to read! 😀

  6. I’ve seen the ‘Stinky Cheese Man’ at BnN and just haven’t opened it up! I guess I’ll have to. Without little ones around the house, I don’t keep up much on picture books anymore! I was thinking though at Katy’s blog, that I should make a list because my kids will have children one day and I might want to have some of these around and this would be a really fun one!!! And WHO can go wrong with the Little Golden Books! They are always delightful!

  7. Nice entry. I have heard of the first one but never actually read it. But the others do look familiar. Wish my memory was better but oh well. Maybe I just need to go on a picture book reading rampage.

  8. Just seeing the covers to those little Golden Books brought back a wave of wonderful memories, thank you! My father passed away last month, and one of the wonderful things he did for us as a dad was to read to us early and often. The Golden Books were an early staple of my childhood landscape. Most of them were given away but I still hold on to my copy of “My Little Golden Book of Manners”:

    Thanks for the memories! And congrats on your new position 🙂

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