The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
After spending years trying to get my little sisters and brother, nieces and nephews to sit still while I read them a story…and continuing to read those stories after they had jumped off the couch and ran back to whatever energetic game they were playing...I have finally come to the point that I am able to say, “I am twenty five years old, and even if they won’t sit and listen, I am going to keep reading because I still like picture books.”
Phew! Glad I got that one off my chest!
Here’s my reasoning behind all of this: just like my appreciation for my childhood cartoons has grown as an adult, the same thing is true with picture books. As a kid, I liked different books because the stories made my imagination come alive, but now I appreciate the funny jokes I never understood before, heartwarming stories, and of course the wonderful, artistic illustrations.
...Also, I mean, Olivia the pig is just too cute and sassy not to love...
So, here are some of the picture books I have enjoyed recently. Check them out if you have kids to share them with... or even if you don’t. Believe me, I get it.
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer
What It’s About: "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! What will she be? Join Olivia on a hilarious quest for individuality in this latest book of the Olivia series, and rest assured, you won't find THIS pig in pink!"-- Provided by publisher.
Why I Like It: I genuinely laughed out loud at this book. All of the Olivia books have the cutest illustrations, but this is my favorite! The story of Olivia standing out and embracing her unique personality is relatable for both kids and adults alike.
Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
What It’s About: “Hello Lighthouse explores the life of one lighthouse as it beams its message out to sea through shifting seasons, changeable weather and the tenure of its final keeper."-- Provided by publisher.
Why I Like It: The illustrations- I would frame these and put them up in my house. The story is also very beautiful, mature and poetic. Even though it was only published a few years ago, it feels like such a classic.
Business Pig by Andrea Zuill
What It’s About: Right from the start, everyone at the barnyard could tell Jasper wasn't like his siblings: "I believe what we have here is a gen-u-WINE Business Pig!" No wallowing in the mud or rooting for grubs for Jasper; he'd rather help with the bookkeeping or conduct a meeting. Though everyone at the animal sanctuary loves him, Jasper longs for a forever home. But no matter how many business cards he hands out, no one wants to adopt him. Can this above-average pig find his special person to cut deals with?
Why I Like It: Scientific studies have shown that books with pigs in them are the best! Ok, that’s actually not true… I just wanted to have a good reason for putting another pig-centric book on this list. I couldn’t not include this book, though. It has a very sweet message, and the illustrations are so cute and funny! Plus, relating my job to Business Pig’s corporate mindset made it even more fun to read as an adult.
Rapunzel retold by Paul O. Zelinsky
What It’s About: A retelling of a folktale in which a beautiful girl with long golden hair is kept imprisoned in a lonely tower by a sorceress. Includes a note on the origins of the story.
Why I Like It: This one is a little bit of a cheat because I have loved this book since I was a kid, but I am including it because I think even if I had never seen it before, I would still fall in love with it now. Zelinsky’s illustrations are just so gorgeous. They have an illuminated, medieval feel to them, which really adds to the magic of the fairy tale.
My Grandfather’s Coat retold by Jim Aylesworth
What It’s About: A tailor's very old overcoat is recycled numerous times over the years into a variety of garments and other uses.
Why I Like It: Historical Nonfiction and Historical Fiction picture books are some of my favorites. They often highlight quirky and heartfelt stories that wouldn’t usually show up in regular history books. This is a beautifully written and illustrated story and, just like Hello Lighthouse, it is very poetic and sweet.
Bonus Book: I asked one of my wonderful co-workers, Emily, for her favorite picture book, and she said “Red: A Crayon’s Story”. (See! I’m not the only one who likes them!) I haven’t read it, but I just might have to check it out.
Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
What It’s About: Red's factory-applied label clearly says that he is red, but despite the best efforts of his teacher, fellow crayons and art supplies, and family members, he cannot seem to do anything right until a new friend offers a fresh perspective.
Why My Co-Worker Likes It: It’s a story with a good message about people (or in this case, crayons) having different perspectives, being unique, and that those differences are ok.
Featured Image Credit: Image by Tumisu from Pixabay.