So over at Fuse #8 the gauntlet has been thrown down, and the challenge is to come up with your 10 best picture books of all time. Then a list will be compiled of the 100 best picture books of all time, using the results of everyone who entered.
As this is such an awesome challenge, I couldn't let it pass me by. However, this is a bit difficult for me because my favorites today are not the same as my favorites next week, or next month. So, despite my easily swayed sense of loyalty and unquenchable thirst for my next favorite artist, here is my list as of March 25, 2009:
Top 10 Picture Books Of All Time
1) Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.
Okay, no surprise here. You'd be hard pressed to find a list without this one. Obviously, awesome.
2) The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs.
This book is so beautiful and magical. The mood is so powerful and real to life, but so much like a dream. The scene when they are flying over the city gives me chills every time I see it. Lovely.
3) A Pirate's Night Before Christmas, by Philip Yates, illustrated by Sebastia Serra.
This book just came out last year, but it's already high on my list. This is exactly the type of book I would have loved as a kid. Pirates. Christmas. The illustrations are so fun and filled with little details. Makes me happy.
4) The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.
It was hard for me not to make a list of 10 of my favorite Van Allsburg books. But this one would be on the top. A classic Christmas story, and the illustrations are so mysterious and quiet. I so want to go to the north pole.
5) Listen, Listen, by Philis Gershator, illustrated by Alison Jay.
Okay, Alison Jay is radical. This poem is so fun to read, and I had a hard time picking one or two of Alison Jay's books for this. But this book is just such a good idea and evokes each season so well.
6) Good Night, Mr. Night, by Dan Yaccarino.
Speaking of great ideas, make night a "Mr." and show how he wakes up and closes the world down, then he goes to sleep when the day starts. Such a wonderful idea and soothing paintings.
7) Chowder, by Peter Brown.
Look at that dog's face. Nuff said.
8) Katy and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton.
Why do so many of my books involve snow? I always loved this book as a kid, and still think it's great. There are so many neat little details in here, and it flows so well when Katy starts to plow the town. I love the limited palette.
9) The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, by Chris Van Allsburg.
It was hard to pick just one of his other books, but this one always sticks out in my mind. The illustrations are so mysterious and atmospheric. I would love to get lost in the garden.
10) Hondo & Fabian, by Peter McCarty.
Just such a wonderful buddy story, and the perfect bedtime story. Soft, quiet pictures with gentle, flowing text and great characters. All with such minimalism. Beautiful.
So there it is. There are several books that are on my honorable mention list, but for whatever reason these ones made the cut. Maybe they just seem to stick in my head, and isn't that what a good picture book does?