50 Picture Books

Last month, I had a manuscript critiqued by Heather Alexander, Dial Assistant Editor.  One of the things that she recommended was that I spend some time reading recent picture books to improve my feel for picture book dialogue.  I try to periodically read 50 new picture books.  But I don’t do this on any kind of a schedule.  When was the last time?  Who knows!  I sure don’t.  But I’ve been reading for the last five or six weeks and finished 52 picture books as of last week.  Here is my list.

Manners Mash-Up: A Goofy Guide to Good Behavior (Dial)
Auch, Mary Jane and Herm. The Plot Chickens (Holiday House)
Black, Michael Ian. Chicken Cheeks (Simon and Schuster)
Black, Michael Ian. The Purple Kangaroo (Simon and Schuster)
Blackall, Sophie. Are You Awake (Christy Ottaviano Books: Henry Holt)
Brett, Jan. Home for Christmas (GP Putnams)
Brown, Peter. Children Make Terrible Pets (Little Brown and Co)
Capaldi, Gina and Q.L. Pearce. Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala-Sa, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist (Carolrhoda Books)
Carlstrom, Nancy White. This Is the Day! (Zonderkidz)
Chast, Roz. Too Busy Marco (Atheneum)
Collins, Ross. Dear Vampa (Katherine Tegan Books)
Crisp, Marty. Titanicat (Sleeping Bear Press)
Cronin, Doreen. Rescue Bunnies (Balzer + Bray)
Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Holiday Drama (Viking)
Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Home with Mama (Viking)
Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Red Pajama (Viking)
DiPucchio, Kelly and Matthew Myers. Clink (Balzer + Bray)
Dormer, Frank. Socksquatch (Henry Holt and Company)
Feiffer, Kate. My Side of the Car (Candlewick Press)
Grey, Mini. Three by the Sea (Alfred A. Knopf)
Hawkes, Kevin. The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York (Alfred A. Knopf)
Lehman, Barbara. The Secret Box (Houghton Mifflin Children’s Books)
Loewen, Nancy. The Last Day of Kindergarten (Marshall Cavendish)
Lunda, Darrin. After the Kill (Charlesbridge)
Lunde, Darrin. Hello, Baby Beluga (Charlesbridge)
Lyon, George Ella and Katherine Tillotson. All the Water in the World (Richard Jackson: Atheneum)
McDonnell, Christine. Goyangi Means Cat (Viking)
Myers, Walter Dean. Looking for the Easy Life (Harper)
Nargi, Lela. The Honeybee Man (Schwartz & Wade)
Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Dog a Doughnut (Balzer and Bray)
Pulver, Robin. Happy Endings: A Story about Suffixes (Holiday House)
Numeroff, Laura. Ponyella (Hyperion)
Ryan, Pam Munoz. Tony Baloney (Scholastic Press)
Sayre, April Pulley. Rah, Rah, Radishes! (Beach Lane Books)
Sayre, April Pulley. If You’re Hoppy (Greenwillow Books)
Sill, Cathryn. About Hummingbirds (Peachtree)
Sill, Cathryn. About Raptors (Peachtree)
Smallcomb, Pam. I’m Not (Schwartz & Wade)
Smith, Alex T. Foxy and Egg (Holiday House)
Smith Lane, Grandpa Green (Roaring Brook Press)
Spinelli, Eileen. Princess Pig (Alfred A. Knopf)
Sullivan, Sarah. Passing the Music Down (Candlewick Press)
Stein, David Ezra. Interrupting Chicken (Candlewick Press)
Stevens, Janet. The Little Red Pen (Harcourt Children’s Books)
Stockdale, Susan. Bring on the Birds (Peachtree)
Tillman, Nancy. The Crown on Your Head (Feiwel and Friends)
Tullet, Hervé. Press Here (Handprint Books: Chronicle Books)
Wadham, Tim. The Queen of France (Candlewick Press)
Wild, Margaret. Harry & Hopper (Feiwel and Friends)
Willems, Mo. City Dog, Country Frog (Hyperion)
Willems, Mo. Knuffle Bunny Free (Balzer + Bray)
Yorinks, Arthur. The Invisible Man (Harper)

When you read 50 picture books, you start to notice trends.  Chickens are totally in right now. Does this mean your chicken picture book would be easier to sell right now?  Not if the market is already glutted.

My favorite nonfiction is still coming out from Charlesbridge.

Think humor.

Illustrations are vital, especially accurate illustrations.  A book I was prepared to adore was completely ruined for me when I looked at the illustration.  The text clearly says chimpanzee.  The creature hanging by its tail from a tree branch?  Who knows, but it isn’t a chimp.

My favorite?  Herve Tullet’s Press Here.  Only briefly did a feel a bit odd following the directions to press on specific dots, blow on them and tilt the book from side to side.  My son laughed at me but then I handed the book off to him.  Next thing you know, he’s shaking it over his head.  “Reboot,” he said.  Don’t get it.  Then you need to read the book!

What new picture books have you read lately?

–SueBE