Books Magazine

Introducing The Top 101 Picture Books

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

You know I love lists. That’s how this blog got started. And I love kids. I have two of them. So when Amy Smith from the blog Motherhood and Miscellany approached me about a guest post revealing her top 101 picture books, as well as her inspiration for creating the list, I couldn’t resist accepting the offer. Take it away, Amy. 

I am an avid reader of fiction, both for myself and with my daughters, ages four, three, and 18 months. In April, I got a set of 10 brochures, each listing 100 picture books to read before kindergarten, organized into categories (Caldecott winners, Sports, Funny,etc.).

My Mom is a children’s librarian in a small town and put the 1,000 books together out of those available in the library where she works. One of the categories was “100 Must Reads.”

I immediately gravitated toward that list and focused my energies on obtaining and reading every one of the 100 books on it with my kids as quickly as possible. I finished them somewhere in the middle of the summer, having found many gems that my kids and I both loved reading, as well as several books that I hope never to see again.

I decided to make a new list, including the great titles we had discovered from my Mom’s, and adding our favorite books to create an official list of the “Top 101 Fictional Picture Books.”

Okay, I know. The list isn’t really official.

I’m no literary expert. I’m not a specialist in children’s literature or art. I don’t write for Time Magazine. But I have read a lot of children’s books.

I have ventured with my kids into many great ones and plenty that I was tempted to hide from them so as not to have to read them ever again. Okay, a few I actually did hide, at least temporarily. So no, I have no true credentials.

But, being a mom who has read hundreds of books to my kids at least gives me some street cred. I think. And I did have a few criteria for inclusion on the list.

All of the books:

1. Are fiction.

2. Are books my kids request again and again.

3. Are books I don’t mind reading over and over.

None of the books:

1. Are those that I consider to be so popular that their inclusion makes this list kind of pointless (such as Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, etc.)

2. Are about a cartoon character that appears in a children’s show or movie (though a few had movies made from the books).

3. Are, to my knowledge, out of print and difficult to get (like some of our faves: Goose and the Mountain Lion by Harris or The Animals’ Song by Harrison).

4. Are overly girly (I could have included Ponyella by Numeroff or The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Barrager).

5. Make me feel like curling up in a fetal position and crying so my kids will let me stop reading.

Finally, I just couldn’t quite get past the 101 Books mark for narrowing them down. So, I ended up with:

The Top 101 Fictional Picture Books.

You can read the entire list by clicking the link above. Below are the top 15 from the list:

A Bad Case of Stripes – Shannon

Can I Play Too? – Willems

Click, Clack, Moo – Cronin

The Duckling Gets a Cookie?! – Willems

The Gruffalo – Donaldson

Interrupting Chicken – Stein (my all-time favorite)

Kitten’s First Full Moon – Henkes

Max’s Words – Banks

Mouse Was Mad – Urban

Officer Buckle and Gloria – Rathman

Owl Babies – Waddell

The Paper Bag Princess – Munsch

The Pout Pout Fish – Diesen

Stellaluna – Cannon

Stuck – Jeffers

What are your favorites?

Which ones do you wish would be lost forever?

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