About this time of year, I begin to see several booklists for "best books" of the year. You can find these lists on blogs, websites and journals, and many are outstanding resources for anyone who is interested in discovering more about books. However, occasionally, I feel that items are overlooked and not given the due recognition that they deserve.
Below you will find a few of the picture books that have not been acknowledged on multiple sites, but I feel are worth your time to discover. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have.
Inside Outside  Lizi Boyd.
A boy and his dog play inside and outside their home in this wordless book. Die cuts on each spread lead to fun reveals at every page turn, the head of a snowman doubles as a painting of a bird; a plant in the ground outside becomes a plant in a vase inside. As the story progresses through the seasons, children can catch a glimpse of the weather through the inside windows and guess at the outdoor scene to come.
Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite Nicola O'Byrne ; with words by Nick Bromley.
This is one of those treasures that I find, and I love, love, love, it so much, that it's tempting to not share it with anyone else. Trust me, if you only read one book from this list, make sure that this is one. A crocodile falls into a quiet storybook and wreaks havoc on the characters, in a tale that invites youngsters to slam the book shut or find the courage to take a peek inside.
Notes: "The ugly duckling" appears stamped over and "Hans Christian Andersen" appears crossed out.
Hello Baby  Mem Fox
This book was bound to be amazing; it was created by the uber talented Mem Fox, and was illustrated by the marvelous, Caldecott Honor medalist, Steve Jenkins. How this book is not on more booklists I don't know!
This book is an irresistible celebration of the joyful connection between parent and child. A baby encounters a variety of young animals, including a clever monkey, a hairy warthog, and a dusty lion cub, before discovering the most precious creature of all.
A Mammoth in the Fridge  Michaël Escoffier
Noah discovers a mammoth in the fridge. At first, his father doesn't believe him--but the eveidence is too strong. It's sitting in the fridge They call the fire department, but the mammoth slips past their net and hides in a tree. But where did the mammoth come from? Only Noah's little sister knows the true answer.
Notes: This book was originally published as: Un mammouth dans le frigo : Paris: lʼécole des loisirs, ©2011. However, the first American edition was not published until 2013 by Gecko Press USA.
The Snatchabook  Helen Docherty
Where have all the bedtime stories gone? One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down... when a Snatchabook flew into town. It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.
The Yellow Cab  Macus Pfister
Jack, the little yellow taxi, used to be the fastest, brightest taxi around and traveled the city as if he had wings. If only he could fly. But something magical happens when Jack sees a bus that says, "Come to Brazil." Before Jack knows it, he's flying over the Brazilian rainforest and his new customers are macaws and howler monkeys! Jack couldn't be happier, playing pass the-coconut. But their fun comes to a halt when big bulldozers and cranky cranes start chopping down the rainforest. Why don't you come back to the city and leave the forest alone? With a blink of an eye, Jack is back in the city. Could those be the same bulldozers he saw in the rainforest? Jack isn't sure until he spies a coconut on the park bench and smiles to himself…anything is still possible.
How to  Julie Morstad.
This imaginative 'how to' book explores whimsical ways of doing a host of different tasks, including 'how to wonder', 'how to see the breeze', and 'how to be brave'. With text and images by award-winning illustrator Julie Morstad, this book will be beloved by all ages. How to read this book? That is up to you!
How to Train a Train  Jason Carter Eaton
Everything you need to know about finding, keeping, and training your very own pet train. Finding advice on caring for a dog, a cat, a fish, even a dinosaur is easy. But what if somebody's taste in pets runs to the more mechanical kind? What about those who like cogs and gears more than feathers and fur? People who prefer the call of a train whistle to the squeal of a guinea pig? Or maybe dream of a smudge of soot on their cheek, not slobber? In this spectacularly illustrated picture book, kids who love locomotives (and what kid doesn't?) will discover where trains live, what they like to eat, and the best train tricks around, everything it takes to lay the tracks for a long and happy friendship. All aboard!
Lion vs. Rabbit  Alex Latimer.
Small turns out to be more powerful than big in this hilarious story about outwitting a bully. In this trickster tale,  Lion bullies all the other animals until finally they can't take it anymore. They post an ad, asking for help. One animal after another tries and fails to defeat Lion. Can no one stop him? Finally, a rabbit arrives. No one thinks that such a small animal will be brave enough or strong enough to defeat Lion. But perhaps this rabbit is smart enough?
Chick 'n' Pug Meet the Dude  Jennifer Sattler.
Hes taller than the Chrysler Building. He drools more than a baby sucking on a piece of Jello. Dog people will revere him. Chick and Pug know him only as . . . The Dude.When the larger-than-life Dude ambles into Pugs territory and steals Squeaky Hamburger, Pugs most favorite chew toy, Chick is ready to take down the slobbering scoundrel. But that would require making Pug get up. . . . Will Chick save the day? Will Pug nap through all the best parts? One things for sure: The Dude has arrived. Stay tuned...
The Little Read Hen  Dianne de Las Casas
This is a fractured fairytale  that a friend shared with me just this morning; I like it so much, that I want to share it with you. When the Little "Read" Hen's friends won't help her write an "egg-cellent" story, she doesn't let it ruffle her feathers-she just does it herself Readers of all ages will laugh aloud at the determined Little "Read" Hen as she coops herself up and cracks open her books for research. She doesn't let her friends put her in a fowl mood-instead, she googles for information on her "eggPad." Brainstorming, researching, outlining, drafting, editing, and proofing: all the ingredients of the "write" recipe for a well-crafted tale are included in this punny book. Readers are encouraged to try writing their own story using the steps provided in this literary spin on a beloved folk tale. In a true collaboration with the author, Holly Stone-Barker's vibrant cut-paper illustrations add riotous fun to each page. Throughout the book are silly wordplays on popular names, such as "The Hen in the Hat," "Where the Wild Hens Are," and a favorite coffee house, "Starbawks." From hand-cut straw to individual feathers, each illustration is something to crow about.