As a parent to 4 kids, I’ve read a lot of books. I’m a big fan of the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program available at many local libraries. We are 65 books away from finishing up my 2nd kid’s final tally sheet and getting her program t-shirt! Before I became a parent, I was an artist first. So finding beautiful children’s books with wonderful artistic design is a favorite for me when I have to read certain things again and again and again. Some of these are classics, but some are newer and ones you might not have heard before.
Let’s start with Robert McCloskey, author and illustrator of such classic books as Lentil, One Morning in Maine, Time of Wonder and:
Make Way For Ducklings
I loved reading Make Way for Ducklings as a child and my kids really enjoyed going blueberry picking after reading Blueberries for Sal. This fascinating NPR article where I got the above drawing gives a little bit of background and history for the inspiration behind these books. I didn’t know that McCloskey used ducklings he kept in his bathroom for live models to draw for Make Way for Ducklings, or that other books were really about his daughters Sally and Jane!
Virginia Lee Burton, author and illustrator of Choo Choo, The Little House, Life Story, and
I remember reading Mike Mulligan when I was a kid and admiring the illustrations. I didn’t know until just recently that Burton had written other books including Katy and the Big Snow, which is a current favorite around here even in the height of warm temperatures. There are so many little details to spot in her drawings, from the snow creeping up on the power lines, to the ways outfits and automobiles are faithfully represented. It’s an earlier time but a good history lesson of what was cutting edge technology.
Press Here by Herve Tullet
You might’ve seen this deceptively simple looking book at the store and wondered what it was all about and inside the whimsical instructions are entertaining and fun for both child and adult. Tullet also created Mix it Up and Let’s Play in a similar vein to this book. If you have this book already, it’s a hit with the toddler-preschooler age.
This is one series I won’t ever get bored with reading because the illustrations are beyond gorgeous. Ladybug Girl At the Beach is in heavy rotation right now. Pictures online just don’t do the details justice. Soman teaches at the School of Visual Arts in NYC when he’s not busy creating children’s books. When I was looking into the series I found this Q&A with the husband/wife team that features some beautiful in-process sketches from various books in the series.
I could go on and on about Eric Carle, Tomie DePaola, Mercer Mayer, Beatrix Potter and more, but I’ll stop here for now.
What are your family’s favorites? Happy reading!