2011 was a great year for the picture book, and narrowing this list down was mighty hard. But I did manage to come up with a list of ten (and change) books that captured my imagination last year.
10. Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw ; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
09. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
08. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
07. Blackout by John Rocco
06. King Hugo's Huge Ego by Chris Van Dusen
05. Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker
04. Press Here by Hervé Tullet
03. Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell
02. The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss
01. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
For me, nothing quite compared to the experience of reading I Want My Hat Back for the first time. The giggles that grew out of poor Bear's search for his lost hat were nothing compared to the giant guffaw that erupted when Bear realizes just where his hat has gone. Add that to the shocked and delighted silent shaking laughter at Rabbit's fate and you've got my favorite picture book of the year. It's the book that started an internet meme, that entertained my children at storytime and was one of only two I purchased for myself and my permanent collection (the other was Me...Jane). Like when I discovered Mo Willems, I will cling to Jon Klassen for all it's worth. I know he's got Extra Yarn coming out this month, written by the excellent Mac Barnett, but I can't wait for what Klassen will come up with on his own.
Honorable Mentions: You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown; How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson; Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj; An Annoying ABC by Barbara Bottner, ill. by Michael Emberley; My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer, ill. by Jules Feiffer; Mouse and Lion by Rand Burkert, ill. by Nancy Ekholm Burkert; Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman; and The Little Little Girl with the Big Big Voice by Kristen Balouch.