Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Really Beautiful Picture Books

My boys like that I have favorite picture books. When we go to the library, they suggest I go get some of my own choice to add to the pile. This tickles me. 

Their favorites are often wild and wooly--tales of knights and goblins and clever, fierce animals and powerful battles and high shenanigans, while my favorites tend to be books that are lovely to look at and have thoughtful, poignant stories. Sometimes, my stack of precious tomes goes mostly unread.

 I once went up to one of the children's librarians at the downtown branch of the Tallahassee library when Woody was much younger and asked what I thought must have been the most naive question--can you help me find the really beautiful picture books? The librarian nodded, knowing exactly what I meant, and walked with me for twenty minutes pulling her favorites of the shelf. 

Barbara Berger's Grandfather Twilight was the book I had in my hand when I asked--I wanted more of that! My friend Terra Beth, who once owned a little store with creaky floors and an old woodstove where she sold "the really beautiful picture books (a whole store of them--can you imagine?)," suggested the illustrator Greg Couch, whose work is new to me.

And today, I found this list.

My friend Candice and I talked a while back about getting ahold of favorite children's books in hardback so they'd hold up to many re-readings and be nice to touch. That favorite list is getting long! But even if it takes years to amass, we'll be the crones with the most popular reading corner on the block.