Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Best of 2010

I’m a list person.  I love my lists, I love ranking things and then re-ranking them months later after time and rethinking.  Lists are beautiful things.  On to my favorites of the year!

Picture Books

10. Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse - by Marilyn Singer, ill. Josee Masse
09. A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea - by Michael Ian Black, ill. Kevin Hawkes
08. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes - by Eric Litwin, ill. James Dean
07. Big Red Lollipop - by Rukshana Khan, ill. Sophie Blackall
06. Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly - Carolyn Parkhurst, ill. Dan Yaccarino
05. Knuffle Bunny Free - by Mo Willems
04. Children Make Terrible Pets - by Peter Brown
03. Wanted: The Perfect Pet - by Fiona Roberton
02. A Sick Day for Amos McGee - by Philip Christian Stead, ill. Erin E. Stead
01. City Dog, Country Frog - by Mo Willems, ill. Jon J. Muth

I have long been a Mo Willems fan, and this year the man provided his readers with an embarassment of riches.  Knuffle Bunny Free, the final installment in the trilogy inspired by his daughter Trixie, continues Willems' love letter to children and their toys, with a special coda for parents who are watching their own children grow before their eyes.  It is City Dog, Country Frog, however, where Willems really makes a departure.  Working for the first time with another illustrator, Jon J. Muth (he of the gorgeous watercolors), Willems crafts a simple, seasonal fable of friendship.  Willems' spare text marries beautifully with Muth's vibrant illustrations to bring to life the unlikely friends of dog and frog in a way that could bring a tear to even the most cynical eye.

Honorable Mentions: Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates, Farm by Elisha Cooper, Art & Max by David Wiesner, It's Christmas, David by David Shannon, The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee, Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner (ill. Michael Emberley) and Mr. Putney's Quacking Dog by Jon Agee

Middle Grade Fiction

10. The Grimm Legacy - by Polly Shulman
09. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda - by Tom Angleberger
08. Turtle in Paradise - by Jennifer Holm
07. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty - by Greg Neri, ill. Randy DeBurke
06. The Popularity Papers: Reaserch for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang - by Amy Ignatow
05. The Incorrible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling - by Maryrose Wood
04. Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze - by Alan Silberberg
03. One Crazy Summer - by Rita Williams-Garcia
02. Out of My Mind - by Sharon Draper
01. Smile - by Raina Telgemeier

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier, was the first and only book of 2010 that I reread the instant I finished it.  At the same time both a very personal memoir and the fictionalized, humorous story of a girl named Raina and her dental and middle school misadventures.  There is heart and soul at work here, an exploration of braces, fremenies, dreams, dorkiness and boys.  Amidst it’s brightly colored pages, this graphic novel delivers an honest realism that most middle grade novels would give their endpapers to have.  This is a book I have seen given as a gift, spoken of in gleeful voices, and devoured in one sitting by girls tucked away in the corner of the bookstore.  It is a book that will become a standard, a shared memory of adolescence to be passed around and enjoyed for years to come.  It can be this generation’s Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.  There, I said it.  And I stand by it.

Honorable Mentions: Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs by Ursula Vernon, Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord, The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan (ill. Peter Sis)

For these categories, I didn’t read enough to make a decent ranked list, so here's a simple listing of some of my favorites.

Notable Non-Fiction

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring - by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, ill. Brian Floca
How the Sphinx Got to the Museum - by Jessie Hartland
Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya - by Donna Jo Napoli, ill. Kadir Nelson
My Uncle Martin's Big Heart - Angela Farris Watkins, ill. Eric Velasquez
She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader - by J.G. Annino
Sir Charlie - by Sid Fleischman

Notable Early Readers

Bink and Gollie - by Allison McGee and Kate DiCamillo, ill. Tony Fucile
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same - by Grace Lin
Lulu and the Brontosaurus – by Judith Viorst
Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep - by Mo Willems
We Are in a Book - by Mo Willems

1 comment:

  1. Ah, Mo Willems. For Christmas I got my nephew Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (along with the accompanying plush toy) and it was a winner. Next up is Elephant and Piggy...