My Top 10 Picture Books of 2015

This year has been another great year for picture books.  There has been a good mix of laugh-out-loud picture books to read aloud to groups and picture books with lots of details to share one-on-one.  Below is my list of favourite picture books from 2015 (some with links to my reviews).  I’ve been doing lots of school visits in my library role this year and most of the books below have been real winners with the kids I’ve read them to.  Some of them I didn’t get a chance to review (these I’ve elaborated on) but they have proved to be very popular.

  1. Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey
  2. Little Red Riding Hood (Not Quite) by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley
  3. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
  4. I Want Spaghetti by Stephanie Blake
  5. My Dead Bunny by Sigi Cohen and James Foley
  6. The Mystery of the Haunted Farm by Elys Dolan
  7. Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey – another winner from Aaron Blabey.  This was the book that got me hooked on his stories.  It’s about a pony called Thelma, who really wants to be a unicorn.  She discovers that fame isn’t all that its cracked up to be and that being yourself is more important.  Boys have groaned when they have first seen it but they laugh along with the story too.
  8. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton – for a debut picture book this is absolutely brilliant!  Princess Pinecone wants to be a warrior and she needs a big, strong, fast horse to help her.  Her parents don’t get her wishes quite right and she ends up with a short, fat little pony that farts a lot.  This little pony might not be what she asked for but together they become a great team, and help the meanest warriors show their cuddly sides.  Kids from Year 1-8 have all loved this book and I never get sick of reading it aloud.
  9. Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers – Two huge names come together to bring imaginary friends to life.  It’s a quirky, funny and absolutely stunning book.  Fred is the best imaginary friend you could ask for, but he always finds that he isn’t needed anymore and he fades away.  Then one day, a boy called Sam wishes for a friend and everything changes.  It’s a book that I want to share and tell everyone about.  The only downside is that it is too long to read to a group of children.  I love it though and it will be one that I’ll read again and again.  Check out the book trailer here.
  10. The Cow Tripped Over the Moon by Tony Wilson – I always enjoy retellings of fairy tales and nursery rhymes and this book is a hilarious take on Hey Diddle Diddle.  The cow tries again and again to jump over the moon but she keeps messing up.  She trips over the moon, crashes into the moon, and sails straight over the moon, but she is determined to do it.  It’s a perfect book to share with pre-schoolers and it will have them laughing out loud.  It had me in stitches!

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I absolutely love The Day the Crayons Quit, the hilarious collaboration between Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers about Duncan and his crayons.  If you haven’t seen this picture book you need to grab a copy IMMEDIATELY! It features letters for Duncan, written by his crayons who feel overused, underappreciated and unhappy.  When I saw that Drew and Oliver were publishing a follow-up I was super excited!  The Day the Crayons Came Home is out now and (if this is possible) even funnier than the first book.

The Day the Crayons Came home starts with Duncan and his crayons colouring happily together, when a stack of postcards arrives in the mail for him.  What follows are postcards from Duncan’s crayons that have been lost, forgotten, broken – even melted in a clothes dryer and stuck to a pair of underpants!  There are postcards from Pea Green Crayon (AKA Esteban the Magnificent), Neon Red Crayon, Glow-in-the-Dark Crayon and Big Chunky Toddler Crayon and many more.  Duncan must come up with a creative way to make his crayons feel included.

This is a brilliant picture book!  I couldn’t get through the book without laughing – in fact, every page had me cracking up.  It is a perfect combination of text and illustration and it’s very clever.  Drew Daywalt has given each of the crayons a very clear voice and they’re each very distinctive.  It certainly comes across how angry, upset or totally clueless the crayons are.  It’s so hard to pick a favourite crayon but I think mine would have to be Pea Green Crayon or Esteban the Magnificent as he likes to be called.  Oliver Jeffers’ artwork is stunning as always.  His illustrations are full of humour and add extra character to each of the crayons.  There are lots of little details to love about Oliver’s illustrations, from the crayon end papers, to the hand-drawn text and the use of real postcards.  One of the coolest aspects of this book is that there is a special glow-in-the-dark drawing on one of the pages that will be a lot of fun to share with kids.

The Day the Crayons Came Home is one of those rare picture books that children of all ages will love and adults will only be too happy to read it over and over again.  I know I’ll be sharing it with as many children as possible.

The Day the Crayons Came Home is available now from HarperCollins NZ.