Friday, January 16, 2015


The Huffington Post's contributor and Early Childhood policy analyst Minh Le compiled a list of what he considered some of the best picture books of 2014. After reviewing many of these, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

Considered by Le to be the "Best Overall" picture book of 2014, THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND, written and illustrated by Dan Santat, is a cute story about an imaginary creature just waiting to make his first human friend. Tired of waiting around, his adventures begin when he sets out on a quest to find the perfect child for him. The illustrations are vibrant and charming, and the story will capture any kid's attention even if they don't have an imaginary friend of their own - but I bet they'll want one after reading this!

While Le did not rank this next title as the "Best Dark/Mysterious" picture book, it was listed as an honorable mention and is FANTASTICALLY GORGEOUS. A wordless story, the images in FOX'S GARDEN by Princesse Camcam are a mix of pen and ink drawing placed in three dimensional scenes of cut-outs will draw the eyes of many a curious reader as they attempt to unravel the story of a fox looking for a place to have her babies. An absolutely beautiful book!

Le and I are in agreement when it comes to the "Most fun/Silliest" story of 2014 - CHURCHILL'S TALE OF TAILS by Anca Sandu. This poor pig loses his beloved curlicue tail, and tries a number of other tails from meager mouse tails to splendid peacock tails as a substitute. Trying all the different tails transforms Churchill, and his friend's just don't recognize him anymore. Eventually he finds his own tail and re-finds his friendships, so all's well that ends well in this tale.

I love, love, LOVE Le's pick for "Most Touching/Heartwarming," as it sheds light on the sad truth about zoos. I KNOW A BEAR by Mariana Ruiz Johnson has a little girl tell all about a bear she's met who's told her about a "land of bears" that is full of wonderful things that bears love, and the little girl is sad the bear doesn't live there any more. She does what she can to listen to the bear, and even has her own revelation about the importance of freedom.

My honorable mentions would include THANK YOU OCTOPUS by Darren Farrell and DON'T PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD by Bob Shea (two very funny stories), as well as the adventure SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE by Mac Barnett (illustrated by Jon Klassen), and THE ACROBAT by Alborozo.


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