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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Best Picture Books of 2014

I loved so, so many picture books this year. This is actually the first year that I've ever kept track of which picture books I've throughout the year  - it was fun! I'll definitely be doing the same in 2015. To be clear, I only included books that were published in 2014 on my Best of 2014 list - I would have gone crazy trying to fit in the 2015 releases too! 

And of course I cheated and tacked some 'honorable mentions' on to the end. You didn't really think I'd stick to just ten, did you?

Check out my Best Young Adult Novels of 2014 post here
Check out my Best Middle Grade Novels of 2014 post here!

Best Picture Books of 2014

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea & Lane Smith

Macmillan / October 2014 / More Info

When Kid Sheriff Ryan slowly rolls into Drywater Gulch on his tortoise, a bit of creativity and imagination allow him to rid the town of the meddlesome Toad brothers, who are constantly up to no good. The boastful Toads are no match for a bit of clever thinking, imagination, and this little lawman. It's near impossible not to adopt rolling, cowboy-inspired accent while reading this one aloud, which just makes it that much more fun. This new offering from Bob Shea and Lane Smith is surefire storytime fun.

Sequoia by Tony Johnston & Wendell Minor

Macmillan / September 2014 / More Info

Tony Johnston's Sequoia couples lyric prose with luminous illustrations by the great Wendell Minor. Third person narration propels the story with the majestic sequoia as the protagonist, his wisdom and towering height leaving an impression of a proud yet kindly old man spinning tales for young listeners. This gorgeous read will no doubt be a great addition to any home library, as well as a great resource in a classroom setting.

My Pet Book by Bob Staake

Random House / July 2014 / More Info

Most pets are cats and dogs, but what happens when a boy wants a different kind of pet, one that doesn’t meow or bark? Bob Staake’s exuberant tale of a little boy and the pet of his dreams will appeal to anyone whose best friends are . . . books! Books make the perfect pets, the boy decides, and chooses a bright red one. When it goes missing, a lively adventure is in store for readers who love a happy ending. Soon kids everywhere will wish for a pet book of their very own.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Little, Brown / April 2014 / More Info

In The Adventures of Beekle, a curious creature lives on an island where all imaginary friends live until being imagined into existence by their perfect match. Every time a child imagines his or her imaginary friend, a waiting creature is whisked away to the real world to be given a special name and a special place in the child's heart. This particular creature waits many nights, wondering when his child will imagine him, but his turn never comes. So he sets off for the real world, determined to find the friend he's being waiting for!
Imagination, magic, and heart burst from this gorgeous read aloud.

Sparky! by Jenny Offill & Chris Appelhans

Random House/ March 2014 / More Info

The little girl in Sparky! is promised a pet - "as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed." The helpful local librarian introduces the girl to the sloth, which in addition to being the laziest animal in the world, fulfills all of her mother's requirements. When the sloth arrives, she names him Sparky and, once delivered to his tree in the back yard, he doesn't wake for two whole days. Sparky might not be like most pets - he doesn't fetch or roll over, though he is really quite good at playing statue - but she loves him all the same. Adorable illustrations and a quirky story about a girl and her pet sloth, Sparky! is sure to become a new favorite!

The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock & Mary Grandpre

Random House / February 2014 / More Info

Vasya Kandinsky is a well-behaved child, always doing what he's told and what's expected, but he just can't seem to conform when it comes to his art. When his aunt insists that he learn to appreciate art like all proper Russian boys, Vasya tries, but his paint box is simply too noisy. He can't paint proper houses and landscapes with music that erupts from his colors. He has to create music with his paintbrush... and something entirely new and different. The Noisy Paint Box is a beautifully illustrated story about a boy who decides to be true to himself and let the colors sing! This book teaches a worthwhile lesson while opening the table for discussion about synesthesia and abstract art.

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

Simon & Schuster / August 2014 / More Info

Who have YOU hugged today? Open your arms to this delightfully tender, goofy, and sweet tale.

Watch out world, here he comes! The Hug Machine!

Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!

This endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug - and this book!

Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Penguin / October 2014 / More Info

"If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. In this menagerie we have stories made of words, made FOR all the letters.

The most inventive and irresistible book of the year spans a mere 26 letters (don't they all!) and 112 pages. From an Astronaut who's afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can't resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.
In Once Upon an Alphabet, #1 New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers has created a stunning collection of words and artwork that is a story book, alphabet book, and gorgeously designed art book all in one."

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

Beach Lane Books / September 2014 / More Info

"Whimsical and touching images tell the story of an unexpected friendship and the revelations it inspires in this moving, wordless picture book from two-time Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee.

A baby clown is separated from his family when he accidentally bounces off their circus train and lands in a lonely farmer's vast, empty field. The farmer reluctantly rescues the little clown, and over the course of one day together, the two of them make some surprising discoveries about themselves--and about life."

Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip Stead

Macmillan / September 2014 / More Info

"On a boring day, on a dull street, Sebastian sat high atop his roof--something he was never supposed to do. When he launched himself into the air in his balloon made of Grandma's afghans and patchwork quilts, his journey took on a life of its own and his boring day turned into the adventure of a lifetime. From award-winning author/illustrator Philip C. Stead, comes another timeless adventure with his trademark whimsical illustrations and an unwavering spirit."

Very Honorable Mentions

The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie
Random House / April 2014 / More Info

Dream Dog by Lou Berger & David Catrow
Random House / February 2014 / More Info

This Is A Moose by Richard T. Morris & Tom Lichtenheld
Little, Brown / May 2014 / More Info


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