Thursday, 10 November 2011

My Obsession With Picture Books...

Ever since I can remember I have had an obsession with picture books. I'm assuming it probably began back when I was myself was a kid...but my love for children's stories has only grown stronger as I have gotten older. There is just something about the imagination and creative freedom that comes from reading these short stories that leaves me with a warm happy feeling inside. You don't always get that sense of  enchantment and glee from YA or Adult fiction. Not to mention that each picture book is like its own individual work of art. The illustrations are probably one of my favourite parts about reading children's stories! I've often come across a few pages in a picture book that I've just wanted to frame and hang up on my bedroom wall (as strange as that may sound).

When I use to work at the public library in my hometown I was quite the terrible employee when it came time to shelving the picture book section. Try as I might, I could never resist crouching down behind one of the stacks in order to flip through a picture book or two before I put them away. The temptation was just too great! Luckily a few of my fellow librarians shared my picture book obsession, and we would sometimes sneak in some browsing time together when there weren't any patrons around.

Since moving away to go to school I've really fallen behind on my picture book consumption, and I was struck by a craving today to look up some of my favourite titles online. Here are just a few of the many picture books that I have fallen in love with over the years....

Grumpy Bird By Jeremy Tankard
I fell in love with this book for so many reasons! First of all, the story is super cute! Bird wakes up feeling grumpy and is eventually cheered up by his friends Fox, Beaver, Sheep, Rabbit and Raccoon. The artwork in this book is AMAZING! I love Tankard's use of colour! I actually recreated a scene from this book for a bulletin board at one of the library's I use to work at! Someone has scanned the entire book (and circumvented copyright laws...oops!) and it is available online to view here! Definitely check it out!

Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct 
by Mo Willems
If you have not read a picture book by Mo Willems you have been deprived of one of the greatest joys in life! Most famous for his Pigeon stories, like Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Willems knows how to write a story that both children and adults will laugh out loud over! The tale of poor Edwina is especially amusing. She's the dinosaur who plays with the children and helps little old ladies across the road. Everyone loves her ... except the class know-it-all Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie. Reginald knows dinosaurs are extinct, and he is ready to prove it.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
I don't care how many times I read this story, it will always be my all time favourite picture book! The Paper Bag Princess shows that girls aren't always the ones who need to be saved by Prince Charming! Princess Elizabeth not only outsmarts the dragon, she manages to rescue Prince Ronald and discovers in the process that girls don't need to be dependent on men. Robert Munsch is truly a genius, and I never get tired of Michael Martechenko's great illustrations. The cherry on top is that Munsch is Canadian! Yay for fellow Canucks!  

Chester by Melanie Watt
Like Mo Willems, Melanie Watt knows the value of good humour! In Chester, an epic battle of authorship commences between Melanie herself and her pet cat! While Melanie attempts to write a tale about a mouse, Chester comes flying in with a marker in hand, and begins to change the story in an attempt to share his own creative side. The illustrations and storyline of this picture book will amuse readers of all ages!

Do you enjoy picture books as much as I do? What are some of your favourites now or from when you were a kid?


Jenny said...

Yay, I knew one of these! The Paper Bag Princess. Grumpy Bird looks cute too.

Erika said...

Grumpy Bird! This fall we got out Grumpy Bird and Boo Hoo Bird from the library and had to keep renewing them. My daughter loves them so much! (She's 2) We have the Paper Bag Princess as well and is SO FUN to read out load (especially the parts where the dragon roars out fire). She laughs at the ending every time.

I can't remember which picture book was my favourite as a kid, but I do remember loving all the Berenstein Bears books. Robert Munsch was also read with a passion. I'm starting to read picture books again and loving it. If you want to see creativity, definitely check out a picture book!

Erika @ Suddenly Books

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