End of the Year: Thoughts on Picture Books of 2010

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Last year, I was barely blogging and I did one "End of the Year" post and featured mostly YA books.  This year I have read more widely and will need to do 3 post because I have at least 5 to 10 favorites for Picture Books, Middle Grade Books and Young Adult.  Since I have read nearly 270 pictures books this year, I am limiting the selections to 2010 releases. 

Here are my top five:

CHALK by Bill Thomson - This wordless picture book has the most amazing illustrations.  When I gave it to my teachers for Christmas, I felt like I was giving more than just a book but a true piece of art.  I am already conspiring to do a school-wide activity around this book. I would love to see this book win a major award though unfortunately I have not seen enough buzz for this one.  I will still keep my fingers crossed. 

MIRROR, MIRROR! by Marilyn Singer - Every time I open this book, I am utterly and thoroughly amazed by it.  This book of reversible verse and the images that reflect it as well.  I can barely write a poem in one direction let alone make it reversible.  And then to have the pictures so thoroughly capture the words.  Amazing! 

ART & MAX by David Wiesner - This book about an odd pairing is complex, and one of those books that can be used with older students for discussion and inspiration.  Every time I have read it, (yes, my top 5 have been read multiple times), I smile.  I love how the book starts in one place and how the characters grow and evolve through the book.

OH NO! OR HOW MY SCIENCE PROJECT DESTROYED THE WORLD by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat - This is truly an example where the illustrations moved this from a fun book to brilliant.  Santat's illustrative nod to Japanese Monster movies adds another level to this book.  You have to read it more than once just to get all of the references and little additions. 

SHARK VS. TRAIN by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld - I loved the illustrations in this book.  Bright, fun, imaginative!  The text and illustrations work beautifully together in this story.  I suggest covering the initial page (which I feel is kind of spoilerish) when reading it for the first time. 

Not to be forgotten or left out....

CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Jon J. Muth - There is a lot of buzz around this book.  The illustrations are lovely, and emotion evoking.  The story is tender and touching and grab a tissue worthy. 

THE BOSS BABY by Marla Frazee - It's Marla Frazee - what is not to love.  This is a creative twist on the nature of a being first time parents.  What a great book to give as a gift. 

DAVE THE POTTER: ARTIST, POET, SLAVE by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier - This non-fiction picture book takes a look at the life of man who despite being a slave found a way to leave his mark.  Collier's paintings are phenomenal and this book needs more buzz. 

MAMA MITI by Donna Jo Napali, illustrated by Kadir Nelson - If Nelson illustrates a book it will likely be on any top ten list.  I loved the illustrations.

THE QUIET BOOK by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Renata Liwska - A look at all the different ways a child can be quiet throughout the day.  Simple text supported by beautiful, gentle illustrations.  I hope it comes out in a Board Book format. 

I feel sad that I limited myself to only 10 but this post would have gone on and on if I mentioned every picture book that I loved this year.  Looking forward to more in 2011.  So what is on your top 10 picture books for 2010?