Top Ten(-ish) Favorite Picture Books

Inspired by a post from, I have selected my top 10 favorite picture books. There are 11 of them. 

My criteria for the selection went broad (books from my childhood and new favorites) as well as narrow (books that make me cry). And two other points of criteria which are: 1) books I have given as gifts because I was so moved by them and 2) books that are now part of our family dialogue. 

my Top "Ten" Picture Books in the waning daylight of dusk on #nationalreadabookday

my Top "Ten" Picture Books in the waning daylight of dusk on #nationalreadabookday

Without further ado, here are My Top Ten (Eleven) Favorite Picture Books and The Five Runners Up. Oh, and these are not in order of favorites - it was impossible enough just to narrow them all down to ten, as evidenced by my final count! So I've listed them in order of when I acquired or read them. I guess chronologically according to me, not according to pub date. 

My Top Ten (Eleven) Favorite Picture Books

  1. Make Way For Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey - I have a huge soft spot for Boston. It was always my dream to live there. Maybe because of its literary vibe? Its old New Englandness? Might also be because I read this book so much as a kid.

  2. Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina - My favorite thing about this one is how vividly I remember my mother singing "caaaaaps! caaaaaaps for sale! 50 cents a caaaaap." It's how I read this book to my kids now.

  3. Tikki Tikki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Lent - This book is - pure and simple - fun to say and fun to read. The illustrations are captivating - curious cross sections of the well and the house - and the sheer entertainment of "Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo" is delightful.

  4. Knots on a Counting Rope, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Ted Rand - this one blew my mind as a child and makes me cry as an adult. I love it.

  5. You Are My I Love You, by Maryann Cusimano Love, illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa - Such a tender description of the yin and yang of the parent-child relationship. I rely on the lyrical examples set forth in this book to guide me on many occasions.

  6. Knuffle Bunny Free, by Mo Willems - I love all three Knuffle Bunnies. But the bit at the end of this one - the message for the real Trixie - tugs at my heart strings every single time I read it.

  7. The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown - I love gardening and growing things. I especially love URBAN gardens (be still my heart!). But I especially love when one person's vision for a better world inspires others.

  8. 13 Words, by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Maira Kalman - This book is absurd and I LOVE it. It's nonsense strung together to make sense and it ends with a song. I will record MY version of the tune for the podcast.

  9. The Churki-Burki Book of Rhyme, by Gita Wolf, illustrated by Durga Bai - this book is about two sisters, Churki and Burki, whose mother likes to make up funny songs and rhyme and cook fresh things from the garden. So basically it's about us.

  10. Many Moons, by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin - this is a great example of trying to find the answer before you've really understood the question. Or, an example of what I learned (from Will Schwalbe's Books for Living) is called "lateral thinking."

  11. The Rabbit Listened, by Cori Doerrfeld - pristine example of empathy!

The Five Runners Up (in no particular order)

  1. Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr - gorgeous, poetic, and so ... palpable

  2. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!, by Mo Willems - so much fun to read!

  3. Tops & Bottoms, by Janet Stevens - educational and clever!

  4. and then it's spring, by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead - EXACTLY how I feel every spring.

  5. Tell Me About Your Day Today, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Lauren Stringer - a good reminder that - in many cases - the "whole wild thing turned out okay."