A few of the fiction staff members shared their favorite childhood picture books with me recently:
For me, it was definitely Lon Po Po by Ed Young. My mom said it scared me every time she read it, yet I kept asking her to read it to me again and again and again. It’s kind of fun to think back on, because to this day I love wolves and comics (and this book was one of the few picture books to have sequential art in the form of panels). Second place has to be The Story of Ferdinand. I’ll never forget the way Ferdinand looked back at me with his sad, timid face. For whatever reason, it captivated me as a kid.
Sean Tulien, Editor
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. When Harold had nowhere to walk, he draws his own path. That notion has always resonated with me because it challenges the notion of fate and empowers us to determine own destiny—that as individuals we have ability to “draw” an idyllic world to own liking. It balances on an utopian dream and a humbling reality.
Russell Griesmer, Graphic Designer
My favorite book as a child was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I’m not sure why I loved it so much, but I do love cookies and milk and predictability, so it might just be that simple. I’m happy to say that I now get to read this book (and many others from the series) to my children and I still love it, which is the mark of a true classic.
Christianne Jones, Managing Editor
My favorite picture book from childhood is There’s a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss. The cover and binding on my childhood copy looks like it predates the Civil War, just to give you an idea how much I read this book. Also, this story made me feel less nervous about monsters in the house, since according to Dr. Seuss they’re mostly just lazy furry things who sit around on your couch and eat bon-bons all day. “But that BOFA on the SOFA...”
Bob Lentz, Art Director
Mine was (and is) Goodnight, Moon. I loved all the details—the tiny mittens, the little mouse, the lit fire, the bowl full of mush. And now I love reading it to my son, who at one point a year or so ago asked for it so often that I had it memorized. It’s such a lovely book.
Beth Brezenoff, Managing Editor
My dad read a ton of picture books to me growing up, most of which were a bit fractured or skewed, but since the holidays are coming up, I’ll pick Berkeley Breathed’s A Wish for Wings that Work: An Opus Christmas Story as one of my favorites. It’s so adorable and funny, about a penguin who makes a Christmas wish that he could fly and ends up saving Santa’s sleigh. I could probably recite the whole thing from memory at any given time. My family still reads this book every Christmas!
Alison Deering, Editor
My favorite picture book from my childhood was titled Cheese, Peas, and Chocolate Pudding. Our school librarian often read it to us, and I loved the stubborn boy who would only eat . . . you guessed it: cheese, peas, and chocolate pudding. But the best part is its funny ending. It is out of print now, but when I need to hear it, I can watch a video of a stranger reading it on YouTube.
Julie Gassman, Editor
What about you? What is your favorite picture book? Do you love any of the same ones from our list? And has anyone out there ever read Cheese, Peas, and Chocolate Pudding?!