Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ten Best Picture Book Series

10. Frog and Toad
This seems to be an important step between picture books and chapter books.  Likable characters and distinctive illustrations.  Never been my favorites, but like many I grew up with them.

9. Where's Waldo?
May be cheating including this, but like I Spy kids were always trying to get away with looking at these series during silent reading time.  The teachers never let it slide.  These are good books for kids though as it can teach focus.  I think Waldo works better for this list as it involves an appealing character and there are stories going on within the crowd.

8. Little Golden Books
Not a series of recurring characters, but rather thematically similar books in the same art style.  Tootles, Saggy Baggy Elephant, Tawny Scrawny Lion and of course Poky Little Puppy.  The artwork is great in its simplicity and stories are great for early readers.  There is just something about a Little Golden Book with its hardcover and gold binding.  You seem to be able to find them everywhere.  Of course there are also licensed books with the likes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bambi, Bugs Bunny, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie all making the back cover.

7. Dumb Bunnies
Inspired by The Stupids (which are also fun), Dav Pilkey's series is just goofy fun for kids with plenty of visual gags for them to seek out.

6. Amelia Bedelia
This is how children should be introduced to puns.  Well written jokes and a fun lead character.  I am surprised that no live-action version of this has ever been attempted.  Joan Cusack or Kristen Wiig as the famous nanny in a short subject or TV special would be a lot of fun (please do not attempt a feature, though).

5. Peter Rabbit
Not sure if this should be classified as a chapter book series, but I am putting it here (this replaced Little Bear on the list, which I love as well).  The iconic and influential tales of Beatrix Potter are a must for children and their families.  Peter Rabbit is just such a great mischievous character and the tale of Mr. McGregor's garden is great story telling.

4. Clifford the Big Red Dog
Louis CK has a genius bit about how there are fifty books on the same premise, "the dog is really big." As simple as that is, it still works due to the loving artwork of Norman Birdwell.  Clifford and Emily's relationship is really sweet and the characterization is really strong.

3. Curious George
Fun lessons in consequences.  George does something the reader knows he shouldn't and he learns from it.  The character is innocent enough to make his antics endearing.  Also his relationship with the Man in the Yellow Hat is a good example of positive adult interaction with a childlike character.

2. Arthur
The art evolution of this series is fascinating.  Arthur and his large group of friends are relatable kid characters.  The situations are ones in which every child finds themselves.  Even though some books may seem outdated, the stories still work and the series changes as children change.  The lessons are not heavy handed, but effective.  It is just fun and definitely holds up.

1. Berenstain Bears
Educational but fun.  The lessons vary but the family dynamic is pretty relatable.  One of those franchises that every child just responds to and can read with their family.

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