Best Picture Books of 2012

The smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven… quiet and gentle snowflakes falling from the sky… the Christmas lights… the carols… the turkey! There is so much to love about the month of December. But when it comes to the world of books, the thing I love most is the annual “best books” lists that pop up everywhere — which is why I thought I would get in on the action and make a little list of my own!

2012 was an amazing year for children’s picture books, and although it was hard to narrow down the list, I’ve selected 10 top picks that you absolutely must read:

notmyhatThis is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue bowler hat, trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened. . .

homeforbirdA Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
While out foraging for interesting things, Vernon the toad finds a new friend – a small blue bird who is curiously silent.  Vernon worries that Bird is silent because he misses his home, so the two set off on a journey to help find a home for Bird.

goldilocksGoldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
When three hungry dinosaurs lay a trap hoping to catch something to eat, Goldilocks who never listens to warnings, walks into their house and springs the trap.  A funny and original take on a classic fairy-tale!


Extra Yarn by Mac Barnettextrayarn
With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself.

oliviaOlivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer
Olivia is having an identity crisis! There are too many ruffly, sparkly princesses around these days, and Olivia has had quite enough. She needs to stand out! She has to be special! She wants to do more than just fit in! So what will she be?

nighttimeninjaNighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta 
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal…and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?

bearBear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead
Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?

whompSqueak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis
Ringing with exuberance and auditory delights, this second collaboration by world-renowned jazz musician and composer Wynton Marsalis and acclaimed illustrator Paul Rogers takes readers (and listeners) on a rollicking, clanging, clapping tour through the many sounds that fill a neighborhood.

mooseZ is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
Moose, terribly eager to play his part in the alphabet book his friend Zebra is putting together, then awfully disappointed when his letter passes, behaves rather badly until Zebra finds a spot for him.

boyBoy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun.  But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he’s sick. The usual remedies—applesauce, reading a story—don’t help, so Boy tucks the sick Bot in, then falls asleep.  Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning Boy! Can the Inventor help fix him?

If you haven’t had a chance to read any of these books with your kids this year, I would definitely check ’em out over the winter break. Everyone needs a bit of down time during the holidays – especially after the many hours spent putting together new gadgets, zipping around from party to party, and eating all that food.  So take some time to cozy up with your little ones, and indulge in the simple joy of books!

Lindsay

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