Favorite children's books of 2008

December 04, 2008|By AREN MACPHERSON / Scripps Howard News Service

Here's a look at some of my favorite children's books published this year:


"Baby Happy Baby Sad" and "No No Yes Yes" (Candlewick Press, $6.99 each). Babies and toddlers, as well as their parents, will love the humorous way that author/illustrator Leslie Patricelli tackles teaching the concept of opposites. (Ages infant-2.)


"Wave" (Chronicle Books, $15.99). In this spectacularly illustrated picture book, author/artist Suzy Lee vividly captures a young girl's reactions as she plays in the waves. (Ages 3-7.)

"Old Bear" (Greenwillow, $17.99). Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes demonstrates his mastery of the picture-book form once again in this tale of an old bear cavorting through the seasons. (Ages 3-6.)


"Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes" (Harcourt, $16). Parents and little ones will love this perfect picture book, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. (Ages 1-3.)

"In a Blue Room" (Harcourt, $16). Author Jim Averbeck joins forces with artist Tricia Tusa to offer a beautifully illustrated bedtime story about a girl whose creative mother gradually coaxes her to sleep. (Ages 3-6.)

"The Day Leo Said I Hate You" (Little, Brown, $16.99). Author Robie Harris and illustrator Molly Bang spotlight how the successful way a mother deals with her preschool son's first use of the four-letter word. (Ages 3-6.)

"A Kitten Tale" (Knopf, $15.99). Three kittens are afraid of snow, but one can't wait to jump into the snowdrifts in this comical adventure story written and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmer. (Ages 3-6.)


"I Will Surprise My Friend!," "I Love My New Toy!" and "Are You Ready To Play Outside?" (Hyperion, $8.99 each). Author/illustrator Mo Willems brings his signature humor and artwork to this series featuring best friends Elephant and Piggie. (Ages 4-7.)


"The London Eye Mystery" (Random House, $15.99). Author Siobhan Dowd asks readers to solve a type of "locked room" mystery in this intriguing story set in a London of the near future. (Ages 10-14.)

"Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things" (Random House, $15.99). Author Lenore Look offers a humor-filled look at a second-grader who's torn between his desire to be a superhero and his fear of talking in school. (Ages 7-10.)

"Masterpiece" (Henry Holt, $16.95). An unlikely friendship between a lonely boy and a beetle is the focus of this delightful novel by Elise Broach. (Ages 8-12.)

"The Hunger Games" (Scholastic, $17.99). Author Suzanne Collins provides a chilling look at a world where teens compete against each other to the death on live TV. (Ages 14 up.).

"Princess Ben" (Houghton Mifflin, $16). Author Catherine Murdock crafts a wonderfully rich twist on fairy tales in this book starring a rebel princess who must learn a bit of self-discipline as she works to save her kingdom and herself from the enemy. (Ages 12 up.)


"How I Learned Geography" (FSG, $16.95). Caldecott Medalist Uri Shulevitz tells how his father's decision to buy a map instead of bread one day changed his life. (Ages 4-8.)

"Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum" (Random House, $16.99). Author/illustrator Robert Andrew Parker recounts how jazz great Art Tatum embraced music the minute he could reach the keys of a family piano by standing on his tiptoes. (Ages 4-8.)

"We Are the Ship" (Hyperion, $18.99). Author/artist Kadir Nelson hits a homerun in this sumptuously illustrated book about the Negro Leagues. (Ages 8 up; adult baseball fans also will love this book.)

"Knucklehead" (Viking, $16.99). In 38 short, photo-filled chapters, Jon Scieszka vividly details what it was like to grow up with five brothers (he was the second-oldest) who were always getting into some sort of trouble. (Ages 8 up.)

"The Trouble Begins at 8" (Greenwillow, $18.99). Newbery Medalist Sid Fleischman gives readers a rip-roaring look at how Samuel Clemens transformed himself into master storyteller Mark Twain. (Ages 10-14.)

"Our White House" (Candlewick Press, $29.99). More than 100 of the nation's best-known authors and illustrators for children provide their own unique views of America's most famous address. (Ages 8 up.)

"The Way We Work" (Houghton Mifflin, $35). Caldecott Medalist David Macaulay offers readers a meticulously researched, humor-filled look at the human body. (Ages 10 up.)


"Rapunzel's Revenge" (Bloomsbury, $18.99). Author Shannon Hale and illustrator Nathan Hale craft an entertaining new twist on an old tale. (Ages 8 up.)

"Chiggers" (hardcover, GineeSeo/Simon & Schuster, $17.99; paperback, Aladdin, $9.99). Author/illustrator Hope Larson explores the ups and downs of summer-camp life in this hard-to-put-down graphic novel. (Ages 10 up.)

Karen MacPherson, the children's/teen librarian at the Takoma Park, Md., Library, can be reached at For more stories, visit

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