Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks for Great Books, Part Deux

I know that you have all been sitting at your computers, anxiously awaiting the arrival of this post. I won't make you wait any longer. Here are my favorite picture books of 2008- the ones that I am truly grateful for.

I fell in love with Terra, our store manager, all over again when I opened up the box that contained Emma Dodd's What Pet to Get. She had handpicked this one for our shelves and I was immediately captured by it (the cover alone will make you giggle). What Pet to Get is just a fun, larger than life read aloud about a boy trying to decide, well, I think you already know. He throws out all his ideas for the perfect pet to his mom, who very matter of factly points out to him all the reasons why his choices just might not be appropriate. His final decision and the last fold out page of this book will make you laugh out loud and feel grateful for great picture books.

I first read A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton at one of Little Shop's Tuesday storytimes. Seems as if Bear is just a homebody of a curmudgeon who despises visitors- that is, until he is visited by a tenacious but friendly little mouse eager for company. You and your little one will cheer and root for this persistent little mouse, and you'll probably giggle too. A Visitor for Bear is a lovely and sweet tale of friendship that easily deserves to be a favorite book of the year for everyone.

If you are a Little Shop regular than you know how much we adore Holly Hobbie's Toot and Puddle, those two porcine pals who room together in a cozy little cabin in Woodcock Pocket. Lucky for us, Holly Hobbie has introduced a new character to us in the form of Fanny, an endearing and imaginative little girl who decides to make a doll of her own when her mom refuses to buy her a Barbie type doll that all the girls have. For those of us that struggle with the appropriateness of pencil thin, busty and pouty mouth dolls for our girls, this is a great story for moms and daughters to share. And like Toot and Puddle, I do hope we will hear more from Fanny in the years to come!

The Donut Chef by Bob Staake is the story of a well loved baker who is forced to become more creative with his craft due to competition from another town baker. You and your little one will laugh (and maybe even be grossed out!) at the donut concoctions as the two battle it out for best baker, and you will both be relieved when our friend decides that perhaps simple is best. The Donut Chef is a rhyming romp with vibrant illustrations that help carry the story. It is a great read aloud for bedtime or anytime.

Everyone in Atlanta knows Pete the Cat- unless of course you live under a rock. And anyone in town with kids knows Mr. Eric. I am happy to report that Pete and Mr. Eric are two great tastes that taste great together in the form of Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Little Shop's best selling picture book of 2008. A perfect collaboration by Eric Litwin, musician and storyteller, and James Dean, local artist and creator of that ubiquitous blue kitty named Pete, this self published title is a perfect testament to taking life in stride no matter what. Plus it's just fun to read and look at!

No Diane's Best Of List would be complete without a book by Kevin Henkes. This year, Kevin gave us Old Bear, a warm and gentle story of an old bear hibernating and dreaming of the days when he was a young cub, and like the springtime, in full and glorious bloom. Henke's unique art style adds to the beauty of this story's message: Life is indeed good.

Here's to great picture books!

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