Best Children’s Picture Books of 2016
Old McDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban
Calling all truck fans — this is the book for you! Because Old McDonald has a lot of trucks — a bulldozer, front loader, motor grader, dump truck, and more. E-I-E-I-O! This is sure to be a family favorite read and sing along book.
From Here to There by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Christiane Engel
Here and There are best friends, pen pals who write each other all the time. And it seems they’ll never meet because Here is well, here, and There is over there. Luckily, There is a problem solver and figures out a genius way to visit his friend! Kids will love the play on words, the problem solving, and the sweet friendship. You will, too.
One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
When a snake eats him, the boy (from inside the snake’s tummy) encourages the snake to eat more — which he does. From grapes to bears, to a cat, to a beehive, . . . the list goes on (think Old Lady Swallowing a Fly) until just a small fly makes the snake burp everything all out. Good thinking on the boy’s part, eh!? The diversity of main character plus the use of repetition makes this one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol
Any harried mother will relate totally to this grandmother’s never-ending struggle to be LEFT ALONE! She just wants to finish knitting her grandchildren sweaters for the winter. In peace. Even in the woods, she’s not left alone. Finally, she finally finds a quiet, dark place to finish her knitting. And then returns to gift her family with her loving work. Kids will enjoy this funny and sweet story.
Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
This picture book has a cozy feel with the words and illustrations. The author’s repetition of “good night” as the farming family buttons up for winter feels like a lullaby. “Good night, fields, peaceful and still.” Watch as the family works together to cut wood, fix the chicken coop, store equipment, and do these things that get the farm ready for “down quilts of snow.” It’s beautifully written and illustrated.
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Curious Ada loves questions and thinking just as much as she loves science experiments. Even when in time out, Ada is thinking and wondering . . . all over the wall. I love this spunky science-loving character of color and know you will, too.
They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Use this beautiful book to talk about perspective. The cat walks through the world. And is seen by different creatures, each seeing the cat differently. It’s SUCH a cool book on point of view that it’s a must-read, must-own book, especially for classrooms. LOVE.
My Favorite Pets by Gus W. for Ms. Smolinski’s Class by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Sheep are Gus’ favorite pets. Which is why he writes this hilarious report for his class. . . You’ll laugh as he explains the basics with a bit of elaboration. “A boy sheep is a ram. He has horns. They do not come off.” This text is paired with an illustration of Gus trying to pull off the horns with a rope lasso. This is a super funny picture book and even a little informational . . .
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Nursery rhymes pay little attention as Little Bo Peep tries to find her sheep — pigs are off to market, the spider is trying to swallow a fly, and so much craziness is happening that your kids will love looking at all the nursery rhyming details of each illustration. I think this picture book is hilarious.
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley, illustrated by Lauren Castillo