Fact the first: I love picture books. And I get arguably more excited by them than the five-year-olds that I show them to.
Fact the second: I’ve always loved books in general. Always. I would constantly cling to books in my baby carriage, well before I could actually read. I have no recollection of learning to read, and am fairly cretain I just taught myself via osmosis. (My mother also claimed she had no recollection of my first word, because I was just “always talking,” so there’s that, too.)
Fact the third: Surprisingly enough, however, despite fact the second, my love of picture books is very much a recent thing. I had Little Golden Books galore, and stacks of those cheap 8×8 paperbacks, but almost nothing in the way of proper picture books. Not until I grew up, and accidentally ended up working in the children’s department of a bookstore.
But once I finally was around them, I fell in love, and I fell in love fast.
Picture books are kind of magic. And I’ve decided that I want to spend this month celebrating them.
I fawn over them on a daily basis as it is — so why not fawn over one a day here, as well? Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop.
And I’ve picked out my list of Jacey’s Top Thirty Picture Books, so let’s go!
I couldn’t, in good conscience, start this list with anything but the one picture book I did have a child, and that I still love to pieces now:
I blame this book for quite a few of my writing proclivities as an adult — namely, a sense of magical realism; intense attention to detail and atmosphere; and alliteration, alliteration, alliteration.
Its premise is simple: “Each page features one letter and images related to that letter — as well as a hidden picture of Graeme Base as a child.” (In short, imagine the alphabet exploding and Where’s Waldo running amok in the world’s most surreal zoo.)
The art, however, is anything but. More than twenty years later, and I’m still just as fascinated staring at its pages as I was as a kid. And I still spot new things in them, even now.
Animalia serves as a reminder that you can spot magic in the every day, if only you find the right words.