Best Picture Books of 2014
Horton & the Kwuggerbug and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss: Dr. Seuss fans, rejoice! Beloved characters such as the ever faithful Horton the Elephant, the miserly Mr. Grinch and Marco of Mulberry Street make a comeback in a compilation of four stories, dusted off from days gone by and published for the first time together, all thanks to the valiant effort of Seuss scholar Charles Cohen. New readers will delight in stories that showcase the imaginatively absurd artwork and zany sing-song text of America’s most revered children’s author. An instant classic!
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems. Everybody’s favorite persnickety pigeon is back, and this time he has a bone to pick with bath time. Don’t try to tell him he needs one. After all, he had one just last month! Pigeon reasons the water might be too hot, too cold…or, heaven forbid, too wet! And those flies swarming around him? Why, they’re completely coincidental. In due time, Pigeon takes the plunge and—wonder of wonders—discovers baths aren't half bad! This comical bath time convert will have parents and their reluctant little bathers alike in stitches. A welcome addition to any home library.
The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak. Some may wonder how a book without pictures can make it as a world class picture book. Great question! BJ Novak, whose name might ring a bell with some for his role in the sitcom The Office, answers just that in his hilarious first book. Children delight when they discover that the reader is required to read the print on the page—no matter how ridiculous it might be. An excellent read-aloud for story time, it allows children to discover that the only limit to this book's charm is their own imaginations. A modern classic!
Ball by Mary Sullivan. If a picture paints a thousand words, it's no wonder only one is necessary in this sweet title. Beautiful illustrations invite readers to observe a dog's quest to play fetch with someone—anyone!—which proves easier said than done when his human goes to school. When Mom, Baby and an angry cat prove to be less than stellar companions, our main character goes on a mission to make “fetch” a one-man (make that dog) sport. Comical and endearing, it’s only fitting this tale is a 2014 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor book!
Maple by Lori Nichols. Maple’s parents decide to plant a sapling when their firstborn is still “but a whisper,” and with each page, readers observe how Maple and her honorary tree grow alongside one another. Maple loves her constant friend, despite its limitations, and is intrigued to find that her parents have planted a willow tree nearby in honor of what’s to come. Lori Nichols’ debut book depicts seasons of change and love through whimsical illustrations. A perfect gift for an older sibling on the advent of Baby’s arrival!
Lauren Greenlee considers story time to be one of her favorite marks of motherhood. She writes from her home in Olathe.