3 (+3) Favourite Picture Books from Childhood

Today is the second day of PiBoIdMo. I have already had several ideas during the PrePiBoIdMo activities. Let’s hope that I will continue to have ideas and not dry out during the actual challenge.

If you are looking for further inspiration during this challenge, then head on over to the Picture Book Month website, where a series of picture book champions blog about why they think picture books are important.

There have been many other related picture book activities tied into PiBoIdMo. For example, you can twitter your thoughts on #YIWritePB. I’m not big on Twitter, but I couldn’t resist answering the request for people’s favourite childhood picture books. These were my responses (expanded here):

1. “Good Morning Farm” by Betty Ren Wright

I was lucky to rediscover this book at a library book sale. I snapped it up in order to read it to my daughter.

I am a big animal lover, and so this simple story about a dog saying good morning to all the farm animals always delighted me. My favourite part was the surprise creature at the end of the book.

2. “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats

Even before I knew it was groundbreaking, I enjoyed reading this book.

I loved being wrapped up, warm inside, while I read about Peter’s journey through the snow. I still shiver looking at those huge mounds of snow.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading this book, then there is a website where you can read it for free called We Give Books.

3. “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey

If you have forgotten the story, then click here for a youtube reading.

My favourite part of the book was when the police officer called Michael stood with his hand raised, stopping the traffic, helping the ducklings cross the road.

I noticed that there have been a couple of similar duckling rescue books published in the last few years including “Lucky Ducklings” by Eve Moore. It would be interesting to compare the differences between the Robert McCloskey book and the newer versions.

Because my mother was German, she read me books that were in her mother tongue. I still have many of my favourites, including these:

1. “Der Schwarze Schimmel” by Ernst Heimeran

When I was young, I was horse crazy. Naturally horse stories always were amongst my favourites.

In this book, the main character, a horse, is uncomfortable in its own skin. So it asks the local artist to paint it a different colour. The horse is ecstatic until the weather conspires to put things right.The horse though is forever left with a reminder of its short journey as a different creature.

2. “Ich bin das kleine Baerenkind” by Ole Risom

A little bear takes us through a day in its life, introducing us to its home and friends.

3. “Wenn die Sonne Scheint” by Hilde Heyduck

This book is nothing more than  few simple statements about what happens when the sun shines.

It is the smell of it that really appeals to me. I have one other book that smells like this, a Christmas story, and I have never know any other books to smell like these. It must be a secret from Ravensburger. But it’s funny how the smell of these books can transport me back to my childhood and the many warm memories I have.

One thing I noticed is that my childhood books are much simpler than the books of today. When studying picture books, I have been advised that I really need to focus on the recent publications in order to find out what publishers really want now. Yet some of my childhood favourites are still popular today. Some stories will appeal for generations, and it is these stories that we as authors hope to write.

What are your favourite picture books from childhood?


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