Best Children’s Picture Books of 2017
Bob, Not Bob! by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick, illustrations by Matthew Cordell
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller
BLACK HAIR / SELF-ACCEPTANCE
I love this joyful celebration of the many styles, textures, and shapes of black hair! These princesses have dreadlocks, kinks, head wraps, curls, and bantu knots. “Princesses with AFROS do-si-do. // Princesses with BRAIDS throw parades.” All the princesses love their hair which we see in exuberant illustrations of playful, happy little girls.
Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora
Foxy’s book specifically says that lemmings (small, fuzzy, illiterate rodents) do not jump off cliffs. Which he explains to the lemmings on his arctic ship, the S.S. Cliff. Unfortunately, they don’t listen and all jump off the Cliff. Fox is so annoyed because THE BOOK SAYS that lemmings don’t jump off cliffs. Finally, after a third icy water rescue of the lemmings who are not supposed to jump off the boat, the lemmings explain why they don’t do what the book says — they can’t read. See how reading fixes everything? Foxy and these not-too-smart lemmings will crack you up.
Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny, and Mike by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Mike Austin
Their fish tank is SO FAB. Enjoy the fabulous life of these exuberant fish friends as they SWIM, SWIM, SWIM, meet new fish, and get a . . . fairy castle! When Lenny gets stuck inside, it’s the oft-ignored snail who helps Lenny escape THE TRAP. POP! Life returns to before, . . . SO FAB. You’ll love the bright colors, all cap words, and quirky storyline.
Greatest Animal Stories chosen by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS / FABLES
Betty’s Burgled Bakery An Alliteration Adventure by Travis Nichols
Claymates by Dev Petty, illustrated by Lauren Edlridge
CREATIVITY / DIVERGENT THINKING
Snubbed by the trains, the new wooden train tracks decide they’ll show the other tracks fun ways to play — like hide and go track, tick-track-toe, tracks stack towers, dominoes, and so much more. These creative play ideas will get your kids thinking of their train tracks in many new, inventive ways. One of my new favorite picture books, this one is a kid-favorite keeper.
This Book is Full of Monsters by Guido Van Genechten
7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar, illustrated by Ross MacDonald
MYSTERY / FUNNY
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board. Mostly. His dad tells Jabari that he feels scared too, and sometimes after a deep breath and telling himself he is ready, the thing stops feeling scary and feels like a surprise instead. I like this advice, don’t you? And it works for Jabari, too. Beautiful illustrations, perfect text to picture ratio, and a helpful, relatable story make this a best picture book of 2017.
Prince and Pirate by Charlotte Gunnufson, illustrated by Mike Lowery
Prince and Pirate are two unique fish who live in their own fish bowls. Until one day. That is the day they are moved to a tank together! They do not get along. AT ALL. They name call and pester each other up until they decide to help the new arrival, a small, scared dogfish. You’ll love the bright illustrations, hilarious dialogue, and strong personalities of Pirate and Prince.
The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Adam Rex
Don’t miss this uproarious adventure of epic proportions that will merit reading and rereading then playing many rounds of rock, paper, scissors. Rock comes from the Kingdom of Backyard where he easily defeats all his opponents (a clothespin and an apricot). He needs a worthy foe. In the Empire of Mom’s Home Office, the super smart Paper discovers the same thing — no one can beat him either. And in the Kitchen Realm, no one can best Scissors, not even the fearsome breaded chicken dinosaurs. Each of these warriors sets off to find a worthy opponent. Finally Rock meets Scissors, Paper meets Rock, and Scissors meets Paper for epic battles. They are so happy to lose to someone worthy, they become best friends and keep battling. I particularly love the hilarious conversations between the three warriors and their opponents such as, ““I have come from the far reaches of Kitchen to battle you, O bizarre and yummy breaded dinosaurs!“” and ““If by “battle pants” you mean “no pants, but I’m willing to fight you,” then yes . . . yes, I am wearing my battle pants, weird scissory one!”” Adam Rex’s illustrations really bring the action and drama of this story alive.
After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat
FEAR / COURAGE
After his fall of the wall, Humpty Dumpty isn’t quite all together again. He is now afraid of heights. Humpty decides to make a paper airplane that can fly high since he can’t. But the airplane he spends so much time crafting flies up and over the high wall. Even though he’s terrified, Humpty wants his airplane. He climbs the wall. One step at a time. Until he’s not scared anymore. This beautifully illustrated and conceived picture book that shows kids fear is normal and courage is doing something even when you’re scared.