Picture books were scarce at my house when I was growing up. My family came here to the United States when I was four years old, and no one in my family knew how to read, write, or speak English. My parents read, wrote and spoke Korean, but we didn’t have Korean picture books available to us.
My children do not have this problem! My shelves are FULL of picture books, old and new. And I am just as excited by picture books as they are!
By Eric Carle
My children grew up listening to the repeated readings from memory of The Very Hungry Caterpillar while they nursed. It seemed very appropriate with caterpillar’s own voracious appetite. It starts off sweetly with: “In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.” A very hungry little caterpillar hatches, and eats his way through the days of the week as he feasts on one apple, two pears, three plums, . . with a more decadent menu on Saturday, before he transforms into a beautiful . . . well, I don’t want to give it away!
My little wiggly caterpillars grew up to be big, healthy toddlers, now boys, with a mom who still eats up the words and pictures from this cherished board book.
Ages 0-5 | Publisher: Philomel | 1994 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0399226908
I sob when I read this book. Every. Single. Time. Maybe it shouldn’t be a favorite—because it makes me so sad! But I find it so powerful and moving—which is always a sign of a good book whether it makes you happy or sad. The Giving Tree is a tender story about unconditional love and sacrifice. How much should one give and how much should one take are questions left to be answered by the reader.
I’m sure the strong, maternal relationship between the boy and the tree influenced my own boy and tree story in Penguin and Pinecone… but with a much happier ending, and no chopping!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | Feb. 18, 2014 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 978-0060256654
Gifts are so hard to pick out—especially for adults. My husband made many attempts at gifts for me over the years; a massage at a nice spa, an iPod, and lovely purple flannel pajamas that came in a very fancy box one Valentine’s Day. I’m not one to enjoy massages it turns out. I had him return the iPod since I mostly require complete silence when I’m writing and drawing, and I rarely wore the flannel pajamas, because I actually prefer fleece over flannel. I wish I was easier to shop for. Is there a perfect gift for me? Well… this book would be it.
The Gift of Nothing is about a little cat named Mooch, who struggles to find the perfect gift for his bestfriend Earl the dog, who he thinks has everything. So Mooch decides to give him something he doesn’t have—nothing! The sparse words and simple pictures are perfectly paired, much like Mooch and Earl, and the story is humorous and fun. It truly illustrates the gift of friendship—which is NOT nothing!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Sept. 14, 2005 | ISBN-13: 9780316114882
By Ed Emberley
Some books are just FUN, FUN, FUN! Ed Emberley is a master of FUN, but if you think Go Away, Big Green Monster! is just for entertainment, you’d be wrong! The sparkly shimmering foil and die-cut cover house the ingenious layering of die-cut pages that grow a monster one shape and color at a time. Right when the monster is complete, we yell out, “GO AWAY,” and with each turn of the page, we see the monster disappear, bit by bit. Empowering, delightful, and magical, too! Warning to parents: Read with care. Giggles will ensue!
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | Feb. 18, 2014 (Reprint) | ISBN-13: 9780316236539
Last, but not least …
By Molly Idle
Feast your eyes on Flora and the Flamingo! In a word—PERFECTION!
The book is wordless—because it doesn’t need them. The illustrations in soft toned hues of pink and yellow are utterly elegant and sublime. A young girl in a stout frame mimics the tall graceful flamingo—unsuccessfully. While the flamingo is annoyed with the distraction at first, he soon takes Flora under his wing and coaches her patiently until they are dancing in perfect harmony. This book will make you want to move, stretch, and dance—as much as your imagination! I don’t care if this book is pink. It remains on my boys’ bookshelves to be enjoyed again and again!
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Chronicle Books | Feb. 5, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1452110066
About Salina Yoon
SALINA YOON is the award-winning author/illustrator of nearly 200 books for children, including Penguin and Pinecone, Penguin on Vacation, Penguin in Love, Penguin and Pumpkin, and Found! She lives in San Diego with her family. Visit Salina online atwww.salinayoon.com.
By Salina Yoon
When Penguin and Bootsy plan a field trip in search of Fall, Penguin’s little brother, Pumpkin, wants to come. Pumpkin is heartbroken to find out he’s too little to go, and when Penguin tries to say good-bye, his brother is nowhere to be found! At the farm, all the pumpkins Penguin sees remind him of his own special Pumpkin.
So Penguin and Bootsy bring a special surprise home to share a little touch of Autumn with Pumpkin. Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating Autumn and family in many forms!
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Walker Childrens | July 29, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0802737335