We have read so many great picture books this year and now is the time when I share with you our fourth and final list of favorite picture books published in 2012. (Note: these are not necessarily our all time favorites of the year, just the final list in the series.)
We do not have the same criteria as professional book critics, although many of our titles are also on their lists. We require a good story which encourages kid-centered engagement with the text and pictures. Does New Kid recite the book over and over? It’s on the list! Did Kiddo study the illustrations for hours (ok, not hours)? It’s on the list! Did Mom not want to poke her eyes out when reading the book for the 100th time? It’s on the list! (All bets are off after the 101th time, however.)
King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson. This was one of my personal favorites. A distant descendant of the famous King of Camelot sets out on a quest to tame the wild beasts of the world. When his encounters with the creatures do not go as he expected, he tries a new — and more effective — tactic: friendship.
No Go Sleep! Every child can relate to and every parent will recognize the protagonist of this book who announces at each turn that he is not interested in going to sleep. Until, that is, he just does.
hello! hello! An open door entices Lydia to leave behind her electronic devices and explore the outdoors. What she discovers is amazing. Cordell is fast becoming one of our favorite authors.
If All the Animals Came Inside. This was one of New Kid’s favorites. A high-spirited, rhyming book which showcases the crazy things that would happen if, say, you let a porcupine sit in a chair.
Good News, Bad News. The simplicity of the text belies the engaging nature of the story. A terrifci book for sharing with toddlers and preschoolers who will chime in with repetitive text.
Cat Tale. Lilly, Tilly and William J. get themselves trapped in a tangle of homonym word play. Expect lots of giggles when reading aloud.
Goldilocks and Just One Bear. This combines so many of my favorite picture book elements: fairy tale retelling, playful use of language, urban setting and colorful mixed media collage illustrations. You just can’t go wrong with this UK import.
Oh, No! Jolly, bouncy rhymes and onomatopoeic text encourage kids to join in the “oh, no!” refrain as animals slip down into a deep hole while a tiger waits nearby. Eric Rohmann’s illustrations are a delight.
It’s a Tiger! A boy runs away from a tiger, who turns out not to be so scary after all.
Rabbit’s Snow Dance. In this retelling of an Iroquois pourquoi story the snow-loving Rabbit performs his snow-dance so many times that the snow falls till it covers the trees. Unfortunately for Rabbit, this leads to a slight mishap which now explains why his tail is no longer lusciously long.
Bear in Love. When bear discovers a carrot left by a mysterious admirer the result is a super sweet story about the birth of an unlikely friendship. I’ve always loved Will Hillebrand’s illustrations and they are the perfect fit for this charming book.
Nighttime Ninja. My boys have yet to enter a ninja phase but that did not stop them from loving this book. A small ninja creeps through the house on a secret mission. But where is he? And what exactly is he after? The answer will provoke a few giggles of recognition from both parents and kids.
Red Knit Cap Girl. Stoop’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous in this book about a girl searching for the moon. A lovely story showing us how to find beauty all around us.
When Blue Met Egg. This one was published way back in February, but it was one of New Kid’s favorites. Set in NYC with winsome cut paper collage artwork, Ward’s debut picture book is about a little bird who takes good care of a snowball that she believes to be an egg. Parents might feel a bit nostalgic for a time long ago in health class when they were asked to believe an egg was a baby.
What 2012 book was your child’s favorite? Sadly for me, I have not read every book published in 2012 — I rely on my library to obtain books in a timely manner and sometimes they are behind the times.
Other posts in this series:
Favorite 2012 Picture Books: Part 1 (includes my personal favorite of the year, Extra Yarn)
Favorite 2012 Picture Books: Part 2
Favorite 2012 Picture Books: Part 3
Did you know I have an ever expanding collection of picture book boards on Pinterest? Follow me on Pinterest to see more of my recommendations and books I am looking forward to reading.
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