2013 Wilde Awards for Picture Books

Like most people, I have holiday traditions. Every year I bake biscotti for adult friends, wrap up book gifts for children, and share the Wilde Awards. Sixteen years ago, I gave 3 minute radio commentaries on WUNC, Chapel Hill’s local NPR affiliate. That didn’t give me much time to cite all my favorites, but the station also had a magazine, called Listen, and gave me print space to include a longer list. Listen has long been defunct, the radio station no longer has local commentators, but I’d begun a tradition and didn’t want to see it end. So each year, one of the papers I write for, publishes the Wilde Awards for the year’s most noteworthy children’s books. Several years ago I launched a new tradition: the Wilde Awards Live. Parents, teachers and children’s book lovers gather at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill to see and hear me speak about these books. Currently Durham’s Herald Sun is publishing the Wilde Awards in a series of columns. The first covered picture books and the second was devoted to longer books. Given limited print space, they also ran a longer piece on-line both published on November 23, 2013.  Still the space was limited, so happily I’ve included a few extra books.  Here then are the 2013 Wilde Awards for Picture Books uncut.

What 2013 picture book(s) do you think worthy of award in 2013?  Add a comment (or two).

Wilde Awards Books for Babies & Toddlers

Alphablock, Christopher Franceschelli (Abrams, 0-3) This chunky study board book has alphabet cut outs that offer peeks at objects to encourage naming.

Rock-a-Bye Room, Susan Meyers (Abrams, 0-3) A dreamy tone and soft illustrations set the tone for a mother-daughter bedtime ritual sure to lull all parties to sleep.

Night Light, Nicholas Blechman (Scholastic, ages 0-4) In a series of rhyming pages, die-cut circles increase in number. Each page turn reveals a vehicle with nightlights, a combination sure to drive many re-readings.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? Jane Yolen (Blue Sky Press, ages 2-4) Bouncy rhyme schemes and silly illustrations of badly behaving dinosaurs may be all you need to fight a toddler’s fit.

Tap the Magic Tree, Christie Matheson (Greenwillow, ages 2-4) Tap “a bare brown” tree and leaves appear on the next page. Children apply author-encouraged magical touches to reflect the tree’s changes in all seasons.

First Stories (ages 4-6):

Tiptoe Joe, Ginger Foglesong Gibson (Greenwillow, 3-5)

Rhyming, noise making and bouncy refrains invite young children into the story of a tiptoeing bear and the animal friends who want to know his secret.

It’s Monday, Mrs. Jolly Bones, Warren Hanson (Beach Lane, ages 4-6)

The wacky heroine doesn’t mind mundane Monday to Friday chores because she ends each one with a twist that will tickle readers’ funny bones. The bouncy rhyming schemes and silly illustrations add to the playfulness.

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? Eve Bunting (Clarion, ages 3-6)

Sing-song rhyme meets a common preschool situation as a small green duck searches for his missing socks.  His success comes with help from his friends; read aloud success comes from the cumulative refrain.

Turkey Tot, George Shannon (Greenwillow, 0-4) Turkey Tot, a bird with big ideas, is determined to reach the juicy, sweet, blackberries over his head despite his farm friends’ nay-saying. Their silly repeated refrains make reading aloud fun!

That Is Not a Good Idea! Mo Willems (Balzer and Bray, ages 4-6) Adults will appreciate Willems’ silent movie structure and the drama inherent in the choruses of baby chicks who watch their mama strolling dangerously through the forest with a fox. Tension mounts en route to the exciting, surprising end.

Bully, Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook, ages 4-6) When a small bull is told to go away by his larger companion, he becomes a bully. As he hurls insults, he puffs up until finally, only part of him fits the page. Vaccaro once gives a new vantage point for a well-worn idea.

Brief Thief , Michael Escoffier (Enchanted Lion Books, ages 4-6) A small lizard has a big problem when he needs something for wiping and uses a holey pair of underwear he finds. Suddenly he’s struggling with his conscience … or is he? The visual ending provides readers with an answer and a laugh.

Bugs in My Hair! David Shannon (Scholastic, ages 4-6) Who could bring humor to a book about head lice? The talented witty Shannon lightens the terrifying subject with humor in text and illustration.

Count the Monkeys, Mac Barnett (Hyperion, ages 4-6) Join the fun and count the monkeys. Er, wait, those monkeys don’t show up until after the final page. This book has more silly humor than counting sense.