I am excited to share five more of my 60 Not-to-be-Missed Picture Books with you. This year, I am sharing five not-to-be-missed picture books on the first of each month. This month I have a richly colored rhyming book that is fun to read aloud, a classic that is my children’s very favorite picture book, a story about an apple tree that celebrates the change of seasons, a joyful adventure story about a French aerialist, and a moving story about a girl in old China who dreamed of going to college.
For the full list, see 60 Not-to-be-Missed Picture Books.
Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming. A jaunty rhyming book that is very fun to read aloud to toddlers and also great for sharing with kids just learning to read. Barnyard Banter features richly colored and textured illustrations that Denise Fleming created by pouring colored paper pulp through hand-cut stencils. Ages 1+
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. This story is clearly set in a different era…an era when people dressed up to visit the Public Garden, police officers made phone calls from police booths, and it was natural for dad to go off on an adventure and leave mom to raise the kids. Yet, McCloskey’s phenomenal illustrations and his story of eight ducklings’ adventures as they walk through the streets of Boston still captivate kids. According to Anita Silvey, McCloskey bought ducks, raised them in his bathtub, and fed them red wine to slow them down so that he could practice drawing the Mallards. Ages 3+
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons. Gail Gibbons has churned out nonfiction books about nearly every topic a kid could want to read about. However, in The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree Gibbons does more than simply convey information. Instead, Gibbons created a portrait of a young boy’s attachment to his apple tree that charms. Ages 4+
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein. A joyful adventure story about a French aerialist Philippe Petit who walked on a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. From the slough of concept books and predictable storybooks written for children, this suspenseful and unique story sticks out. Ages 4+
Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges and Sophie Blackall. A moving true story about a girl Ruby who lived in Old China during a time when girls were expected to get married rather than attend university. Shirin Yim Bridges teamed up with one of my favorite illustrators, Sophie Blackall, and Blackall created beautiful illustrations for this book. In a world of muted greens and yellows, young Ruby, always dressed in red, stands out. Ages 4+
McCloskey fans may also be interested in reading this wonderful New York Times article, written at the time of McCloskey’s death in 2003, or Anita Silvey’s entertaining account of McCloskey raising ducklings in his Brooklyn apartment while writing Make Way for Ducklings.
Lastly, here is a trailer from the highly acclaimed documentary – Man on Wire – that shows footage of French aerialist Philippe Petit walking between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974. This is the same fascinating story that Mordicai Gerstein tells so wonderfully in The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.