Our Favorite Picture Books of 2012 (Part 4)

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.)

best kids books 2012

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.)

This list is a bit longer than most as I found I couldn’t limit myself to just 10! Now, without further ado and nonsense here are 14 books we know you’ll enjoy (also check out parts 1, 2, and 3). {Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.}

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.

This Is Not My Hat. While I liked last year’s I Want My Hat Back slightly better than this companion book, my 3 year old was able to grasp the humor in this one more easily.

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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  1. says

    So many of these I need to check out! How have I missed them?! I have to say all of Mo Willems’ new books this year (Let’s Go for a Drive, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, etc.) have been hugely popular at our house.

    • Mom and Kiddo says

      I like the illustrations for Blue/Egg better than the overall text, but my three year old LOVED it, so it’s on the list. The story is very cute, though.

    • Mom and Kiddo says

      I love that book, too. She also wrote this quirky chapter book called “The Problem with the Puddles” that we read aloud together and enjoyed.

  2. says

    Favourite book lists are so hard to compile. You’ve just listed so many new-to-me books. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the access and time to read every book available???

    One of myy favourite book for 2012 was The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog by Sue de Gennaro.

    My daughter’s favourite book for 2012 was My Name is Elizabeth by Anika Dunklee

    • Mom and Kiddo says

      Our library has been a bit slow, too. This summer they held off on buying new books for several months due to budget concerns and this is one of the largest libraries in the country. I can’t imagine what smaller libraries are going through. So sad.

  3. says

    Wow! You’ve read alot of picture books over the past year. It made me realize that we may be heading out of picture book era with my son now being an independent reader (6). I used to love going to the library on a regular basis with my kids before they were in school and just grabbing picture books off the shelf – whatever happened to catch our eye! I added one book that we really enjoyed, The Idea Tree by Mary Fam. I felt this was a beautiful book with a beautiful message. Thanks for hosting this Hop! 😀

    • Mom and Kiddo says

      My son is almost 8, and he still loves to listen to picture books, so you still have a fair amount of time, left. And there are a lot of longer picture books that we can read together now, that he didn’t listen to before.

      Thanks for the suggestion of The Idea Tree. I haven’t heard of that one.

  4. Lindsey Walker says

    Hi! I stumbled upon your blog from Pinterest, and have pinned lots of great ideas for my son.

    I was wondering if you’d ever come across Barefoot Books when reading to your child? Some of our more popular titles should be in your local library. I found them last fall and fell so in love with them that I joined as an Ambassador :)

    Thanks for all of your lovely tips and ideas!

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