Skip to main content

Favorite Picture Books of 2013

November is Picture Book Month! This is the one time of year I do anything about picture books on this blog. The MG/YA scene is more my thing. Still I read a lot of picture books every year too and this is the perfect time to share my favorites. As always, the only criteria used for this list is that I and my test subjects thoroughly enjoy the books.

My Test Subjects:

All the Mo Willems: A Big Guy Took My Ball, I'm a Frog! , That is Not a Good Idea!
LM is at the best age for Elephant and Piggie right now, and this year's additions to the series are his favorites to date. I have quite enjoyed them myself. Reading them aloud is a ton of fun.  That is Not a Good Idea is just perfect in its twisty humor. It took LM a couple of times to get that one. Bit was delighted with it from day one.

Battle Bunny by John Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matthew Myers
This book is not for everyone. If you l like saccharine sweet fluffy children's books, look elsewhere. Everyone else will love this though. And kids will embrace it wholeheartedly. It is funny and imaginative. 

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
THIS BOOK! It has my heart. Bit really enjoyed it too, reading it several times. So simple and yet conveys so much information and packs a punch. I particularly liked:
"Clara smolders with anger, not just for herself, but for all the factory girls, working like slaves. This was not the America she imagined."
"They break six of her ribs, but they can't break her spirit. It's shatterproof." 
"Her throat is hoarse, her feet are sore, but she has helped thousands of people. 
Proving that in America,
wrongs can be righted,
warriors can wear skirts and blouses,
and the bravest hearts
may beat in girls
only five feet tall."

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen 
I was a little scared of this book before I read it. The minds of those two collaborating is a rather scary thing to contemplate. It is delightful though, and LM is a big fan. 

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
This has gotten mixed reviews, but I found it to be fun, delightful, and full of wry humor. My kids also find it delightful, particularly LM who colors all things in rainbows. He feels a lot of sympathy for those crayons.

Follow Follow by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masee
This is a book of reverso poems, and it is brilliant. I find it to be even more brilliant than its predecessor, Mirror Mirror. It is one of Bit's favorite books of the year. She has read it several times. 

LM has this thing about squirrels. He is on a personal mission to chase them all from our property. He seems to think they have evil intent. So color me surprised when he decided this was one of his favorite reads of the year and wanted it read over and over. It was his first Scaredy Squirrel experience and we have checked out several others now as well. 

Both my kids love this one. It is  a story about loving yourself and knowing and appreciating your strengths. It misses being didactic and sweet though. It has rainbows, glitter, and cupcakes but is not at all cutesy. It is funny and perfect in every way. 

Here is my Pinterest Board that has more recommended picture books from the past year.


Brenda said…
Nice list, and your test subjects are very cute.
Charlotte said…
Bit! That is the first picture I can remember seeing of her.

I love Scardy Squirrel too. Except the Beach one, which I felt was a betrayal of his essential introversion....
Brandy said…
Thanks! (On both counts.)
Brandy said…
I usually post one pic a year: on the picture book post.

This was the first Scaredy Squirrel we had ever read and now we have read tons. Except the beach one. Must find. LM will get a kick out of it as he is very much afraid of the beach.
Betsy said…
great list, friend!

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Favorite Kissing Scenes

When thinking of a favorite things post I could do for February I decided it would have to be kissing. I've already done couples and I was feeling in the mood to do something fluffy and Valentine's related. So kisses it is. I read more MG than YA, and the YA I read tends to not focus on romance so this was actually harder than I expected it to be though a few jumped into my head right away. (And one of my choices does actually come from a MG book. One is adult. Gasp!) The actual scene from the book is quoted followed by my thoughts. The king lifted a hand to her cheek and kissed her. It was not a kiss between strangers, not even a kiss between a bride and a groom. It was a kiss between a man and his wife, and when it was over, the king closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the hollow of the queen's shoulder, like a man seeking respite, like a man reaching home at the end of the day . - The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner Turner doesn't write the


Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a

Jinx's Fire

I have been a big fan of Jinx and company from the very first book, which felt like such a perfect Brandy book. The conclusion of Sage Blackwood's trilogy, Jinx's Fire , finished the story beautifully and is definitely my favorite of the three. Spoilers for first two books abound. Read those first: Jinx Jinx's Magic The Urwald is in danger from more than one direction and has no hope of defending itself if there is not unity amongst the people. Jinx, Sophie, Elfwyn, Wendell, and a dedicated group of others are working to make this happen as quickly as they can. Time is running out. At the same time, they are still dealing with the threat of the Bonemaster from within, and the Urwald's magic is fading. Where is it going? Can it be restored? And where has the Bonemaster put Simon? Jinx is the only one who can find the answers to these questions, and harnass the Urwald's power to save them all, but only if he is willing. Jinx has some serious attitude in this

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein