As the year draws to a close, Kim has been working hard on all of her year-end lists (you know, between 10 and 1 million of the top folk or Americana albums of the year). So I figured I should pitch in and do a little year-end list of my own. What more obvious choice than our year in children’s books? I introduced this long-standing (since February of 2011) endeavor on the blog in August.
1. January – And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.
I was reminded of this book by my sister-in-law, because, apparently, it was one of the first books I gave my nephew (and he loved it). Somehow, though, I had never bought it for myself. Since I got it for myself, it keeps popping up in the news…seems there’s somewhat of a gayby boom among the penguins as well. And of course, it gets mentioned every Banned Books Week, because heaven forbid young, impressionable children read about ‘alternative lifestyles’ (that really happen!), even in the animal kingdom.
2. February -Llama Llama Mad At Mama by Anna Dewdney.
The llama book series was first recommended to me by a patient’s father (I remember him saying there was lots of llama drama in the books). I finally bought myself one after we saw real live llamas on our big pre-TTC trip to Peru. There were so many to choose from, but I figured with two moms, the odds are good we’ll experience a mad-at-mama moment sometime.
3. March – My Name is Georgia by Jeanette Winter
Undeterred by a recent extravagant trip, we set out for New Mexico to celebrate our anniversary in early March. The Waiting for Baby Book Collection provides the perfect direction for souvenirs of our travels — this book was purchased at the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe. It has beautiful images that evoke the New Mexico landscape and tells of the artist’s unique way of seeing the world, even at a very young age.
4. April – Peas On Earth by Todd H. Doodler
I bought this book at an adorable little independent bookstore in Crozet, VA (Over the Moon) when we were in town visiting my BFF and her new little monkey, Parkero. Seemed the perfect selection for two reasons: Earth Day is in April, and my BFF and I had a favorite bumper sticker in high school: ‘Visualize Whirled Peas.’ After that, we decided Parkero should be part of the Book-a-month Club, at least until he gets replaced by another little baby in our life.
(About the author: Is that even his real name? I mean, seriously, a children’s book writer/illustrator whose last name is Doodler? Also by this author: Bear in Underwear…might need to put that one on the list for next year.)
5. May – In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.
So sad for the loss of such a venerated children’s book author (who also happened to be gay!…I learned in the coverage of his passing) in May of this year. I now cannot remember who suggested this one, but someone said it was their favorite by him. (I thought it was Mombian but now can’t find that on her site.) Anyway, I felt like I needed to get a book in his honor and I already had Where the Wild Things Are. I find the illustrations and story in this a little bit weirder but no less endearing.
6. June – Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Scott Magoon
This selection was inspired by Zach Wahls, or at least his response to questions about being raised by two moms (I’m paraphrasing here): Asking me which of my moms is the father-figure is like asking which chopstick is the fork. As far as the book goes, it features the same cute line drawings and clever word play as Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s other work, and of course, a message — about friendship and independence.
7. July – I Have the Right to be a Child by Alain Serres
A weirdo civil rights selection by Kim…this is what happens when I take her with me to the bookstore. Needless to say, I haven’t read it yet. But I’m sure it’ll be great. We got it at Malaprops and, because of this mission, I have gotten to know (and love) their children’s book buyer Caroline. I think her selections can generally be trusted (after all, she introduced me to Go the F*ck to Sleep).
8. August – Bake Sale by Sara Varon.
I already did a full Book Report (with accompanying choose-your-own-adventure recipe!) on this one.
9. September – Little Pea/Hoot/Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
These are some of my favorite books for the preschool set. I think each of my nephews received at least one or two of these books on their third birthday, but I had never bought any of them for myself. I couldn’t resist a box set of all three (in board book format) when I saw it at a new little toy store that popped up downtown (Curio). I love the spare, line-drawing design of the books and the reverse psychology really gets little minds thinking. Once, days after reading Little Pea to my nephew before nap time, he was riding in the back seat of the car and out of the blue asks me: ‘Do you know what peas eat for dinner?…Candy!’
10. October – The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Gris Grimly
In October we had the pleasure of seeing Neil Gaiman and his traveling band of raconteurs when the Unchained (Storytelling) Tour rolled through Asheville. Having purchased the tickets at Malaprop’s, one of his children’s books seemed the perfect WFBBC choice. There were certainly sunnier options by Mr. Gaiman but the creepy monsters and trolls found in the underworld of the Dangerous Alphabet seemed the most appropriate for the month of Halloween.
11. November – Don’t Let the Republican Drive the Bus!: A Parody for Voters by Erich Origen and Gan Golan
A spoof on Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems (which we happened to receive as a gift for Christmas), we purchased this in the early days of November when it wasn’t entirely clear if there might be a Republican chosen to drive the bus. It provided a little levity for the tense waiting of the election season.
12. December – The Gingerbread Man.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is decorating gingerbread houses, but I had a little reality check with myself as our annual Christmas Open House approached and decided that mass production of houses was not feasible this year. Instead, I made gingerbread men for the kids to decorate. I got this book thinking maybe some of the kids might like to read it after making their gingerbread men. I’m glad that didn’t happen, because when I finally read it, I realized the gingerbread man gets eaten, and by a fox (my spirit animal) no less!
So, that’s our year in children’s books. Do you think we missed anything great this year? Any suggestions for the Waiting for Baby Book Collection for 2013?