Bookends Favorites 2016: Focus Group Favorite Picture Books

BookendsLynn: The youngest members of our focus group members (pictured below) are now six and three. Like the other three boys in the group, they have strong opinions! Here are their 2016 favorites of the many we’ve read together this year. I added three more titles at the end that are personal favorites
of mine.

1 Big Salad, by Juana Medina

This was the three-year-old’s favorite, and I lost count of the number of times we read this unusual counting book to him. Try saying “radicchio lions” fast, over and over!

Picture of 2 members of the Bookends Focus Group

Our focus group

Before Morning, by Joyce Sidman

We read this gorgeous book together during one of the first snows of the winter, and it captures perfectly  the magic of an unexpected snow day.

The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo, by Drew Weing

Six-year-old Henry claims this as his favorite of the year. We both loved the comic illustrations and the just-slightly-scary story with real sweetness underneath. He’s been asking ever since for the next installment. Hear that, Drew Weing? Hope you are hard at work!

Flora and the PeacocksFlora and the peacocks by Molly Idle, by Molly Idle

Both boys are fans of the Idle’s other books, especially Flora and the Penguins, so they were eager to see this next installment. I think this book is crafted masterfully, and we talked a lot about each page as we read it. I admit my enthusiasm may have colored their reactions, but Henry suggested it for this list without prompting. Have I mentioned what smart kids they are?

Nanette’s Baguette, by Mo Willems

No one can resist a freshly baked baguette! The boys thought this was hilarious.

The Night Gardener, by the Fan Brothers

The mystery and the magic of this book appealed to both boys, but Henry looked at it again and again on his own. I made a mental note to hide the garden shears till he is night gardener by the Fan Brothersbigger.

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper, by Mike Twohy

Both boys loved this book. The three-year-old was a fan of the funny simple story, the illustrations and the large clear letters that he is beginning to recognize. The six-year-old loved the story too, but now that he’s a reader, he was also tickled by the alphabet plot device.

They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel

We are all huge fans of this fascinating and thought-provoking book. Little Oscar didn’t quite get the idea at first, but loved the pictures anyway while older Henry was riveted by the concept.


Lynn’s Additions

How This Book Was Madehow this book was made by Mac Barnett, by Mac Barnett

A great book to use with middle-grade students in writing units. But really, the simple truth is that this just cracked me up!

Leave Me Aloneby Vera Brosgol

The focus group liked this one too, but as a knitter who can never find enough time to finish any project, it had my name all over it! Besides, the illustrations are hilarious.

A Poem for Peter, by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Beautiful, informative, and evocative, this tribute to Ezra Jack Keats went straight to my heart.




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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