2014 Wilde Awards for Picture Books

Wilde Awards: Susie Wilde’s best reads of the year
published Dec. 13, 2014 in the Durham Herald Sun

Every year, columnist Susie Wilde presents her Wilde Awards for best reads of the year. This week, she is presenting the best picture books of the year; next week, she will present the best longer books.

Picture Books (0-3)

We’re Going on A Bear: Sound Book Michael Rosen (Candlewick)

Celebrating its 25th birthday, this playful sound-rich family adventure story has a new interactive element to increase fun.

Time for Bed, Petr Horacek (Candlewick). Large bright illustrations picture a toddler’s nightly wind-down from putting toys away to final goodnight. Graduated pages make for easy turning and a lovely final surprise.

Countablock, Christopher Franceschelli (Abrams)

This companion to “Alphablock” is an amazing view of numbers and changes as “one acorn becomes an oak tree” and later 40 eggs transform into 39 chicks + 1 dinosaur. This book has longevity—its meaning growing with children’s maturing understanding.

Sleepyheads, Sandra J. Howatt (Beach Lane)

This rhyming book has a lullaby cadence as the narrator views animals bedding down in their habitats with their young, ending with a child “asleep in Mama’s arms.”

Picture Books (3-6)

Mix It Up! Hervé Tullet (Chronicle)

This highly-interactive book gives children the power to transform colors. Touch blue, rub on a yellow spot, turn the page to find green.

Henny, Elizabeth Stanton (Simon and Schuster)

Henny is a hen born with arms. Before you can groan at another book on “differences,” witness the amazing way that the author expands the subject with humor, timing and illustrations.

It’s an Orange Aardvark! Michael Hall (Greenwillow)

Small carpenter ants sporting construction helmets view the world through a small hole. Are the colors they see truly a pajama-wearing, ketchup-carrying, gecko-guiding, orange aardvark, or might there be another possibility?

 The Lion and the Bird, Marianne Dubuc (Enchanted Lion)

A lion nurtures an injured bird, builds a tender relationship, then has to let it go. Soft, poignant illustrations and gentle pacing show season shifts and Lion’s long wait for his friend’s return.

Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear , Monica Carnesi (Nancy Paulsen)

Words and illustrations unite with delightful duality in the warm, humorous story of a hibernating bear and his hyperactive rabbit friend who’s sure she’ll love a sleepover.

Poor Doreen: A Fish Tale, Sally Lloyd-Jones & Alexandra Goiger (Schwartz and Wade)

Irony, imagery, and humor swim blithely along with the optimistic, umbrella-toting “Ample Roundy Fish called Miss Doreen Randolph-Potts.” Her journey to “visit her second cousin twice removed who’s just had 157 babies” puts readers en route to a superb read aloud.



Favorite Picture Book Returns:

Kate McMullan’s personable fire truck narrates I’m Brave! (Balzer & Bray)

Mo Willem’s star returns in The Pigeon Needs a Bath (Hyperion )

Candace Fleming’s bunnies are back in Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Splash! (Simon and Schuster)

Kelly Bingham’s take-over moose returns in Circle Square Moose (Greenwillow)

and there are new rhymes in Sally Sutton’s