Friday, January 16, 2015

Top Ten Desert Island Picture Books (Books. Lists. Love.)

We have a lot of picture books in our home.  We've had about as many picture books leave our home as well.  I feel very strongly about having "good" picture books and have no qualms about getting rid of the ones that don't meet my criteria.  In my mind, a good picture book is timeless, it doesn't "talk down" to a child, it uses rich vocabulary, is clever or quirky, it has lovely artwork, and most of all - it appeals to everyone.  

Long before I ever heard this quote I had embraced its message:  

“A children's story that can only be 

enjoyed by children is not a good 

children's story in the slightest.”  

C.S. Lewis

It's become one of my true delights to search for and find picture books that our whole family loves.  The whole family.  Little ones, middle ones, big kids, and Mom and Dad. When we find a good one, I buy it (usually!) and we read it again and again.  I will not read a picture book that I do not personally like...  (Well, sometimes I do, but usually not.)  How can I convey enthusiasm for reading to my kids if I can't stand what I'm reading out loud to them??  I mean you can only fake some much enthusiasm over bad books, and even then, why give a child the wrong impression about a work anyway?  What I truly enjoy is sharing a story that a child is anxious to hear and that I love to tell.  

There are some books that have become true family favorites.  They are the ones that we would take to the deserted island if the marauding pirates said, "Arrrr...  You can take 10 books and live alone on this library-less island, or take no books and walk the plank, maties!"   (because you've dreamed of that scenario, right??)  They are the books that if our home burned down and all our family was safe and it was time to start spending the insurance money, we would buy again.  Because they're that good.

Russ and I both read to the kids, so we collaborated on this list.  It's...

*   *   *   *   *   * 

by Tomie DePaola

by Tomie DePaola

by Steven Kellog

by Mac Barnett

Journey and Quest
by Aaron Becker

these count as (one) since Quest is sort of a sequel :)

by Michelle Knudsen

byDonald Hall

by David Small

by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

by Sesyle Joslin

by Dr. Seuss 

Oops!  That was 11.  (12, if you count my two-for-one.)  Don't tell the pirates ;)  

What are some of your family's "desert island" picture books?  

(edit: included text of book titles.  links should work!  let me know if they don't!)


  1. I love this list! There are two that I for sure already want to purchase because they sound so fun. (Also, for some reason the images aren't coming up? I originally read it when you first posted and the photos were there, but for some reason I can't see them now.) ;)

  2. I totally agree about your picture book philosophy - they have to be well-written with good illustrations. We have a couple of these, but most are new to me. Thanks for the recommendations.

  3. So fun!!! There are many here I haven't seen before. I love Bear Snores On, and Thundercake which we just discovered, but it is so fun!


Like the old song says, "comments are a girl's best friend." Or something like that... So... leave a comment! I love chatting here! Pretend you're on my back porch, kick the broken plastic sandbox toys aside, sip your iced coffee, or beer, or (__fill in the blank with your beverage of choice__) and let's talk about all the things, because back-porch blogging is what I do!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...