December is a time of reflection. An opportunity to look back at the year that was. For some, it’s a wake-up call. (Next year, I am definitely going to spend less time on Facebook, and more time drinking coffee with my friends.) For others, it’s a time to be proud. (I can’t believe I finally organized my closet!) And for book lovers, it’s a chance to replenish that stack of books on your bedside table, and read the best of the best from the year past. Of course, if you’re a book lover parent, like me, that means picture books. Here’s a look at the best picture books of 2014, as chosen by your resident Children’s Librarian, and bedtime book connoisseur. Be sure to check out these sure-fire hits!
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .BLORK. Or BLUURF. Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again (and parents will be happy to oblige).
Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet
Accept Hervé Tullet’s irresistible invitation to mix it up in a dazzling adventure of whimsy and wonder. Follow the artist’s simple instructions, and suddenly colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a world powered only by the reader’s imagination. Tullet—who joins such greats as Eric Carle and Leo Lionni as a master of his craft—sets readers on an extraordinary interactive journey all within the printed page.
If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey
If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don’t know what to do with it … why don’t you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur — from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs — and the things dinos just aren’t good for at all — is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations.
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
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!
Little Humans by Brandon Stanton
Little humans are helpful and playful, friendly and loving, flexible and resourceful. They love their brothers and sisters, their moms and dads, and their friends. Little humans are growing each day. They won’t be little for long. Soon they will be… BIG! Street photographer and storyteller extraordinaire Brandon Stanton is the creator of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Humans of New York as well as the wildly popular Humans of New York blog. To create Little Humans he combined some of his favorite children’s photos with a heartwarming ode to little humans everywhere.
This is a Moose by Richard Morris
When a movie director tries to capture the life of a moose on film, he’s in for a big surprise. It turns out the moose has a dream bigger then just being a moose–he wants to be an astronaut and go to the moon. His forest friends step in to help him, and action ensues. Lots of action. Like a lacrosse-playing grandma, a gigantic slingshot into space, and a flying, superhero chipmunk.
A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker
Bear does not want to go to the library. He is quite sure he already has all the books he will ever need. Yet the relentlessly cheery Mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed, thinks different. When Bear reluctantly agrees to go with his friend to the big library, neither rocket ships nor wooden canoes are enough for Bear’s picky tastes. How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear? Children will giggle themselves silly as Bear’s arguments give way to his inevitable curiosity, leading up to a satisfying story hour and a humorously just-right library book.
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
The Pigeon really needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to try and get the Pigeon to take the plunge.
Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers
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.