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OK, it's been 18 months since we adopted two toddlers and I, a high
school librarian, have discovered the joy of picture books.  We have so
many picture books they are spilling off the shelves (I've tried to
teach the little tykes proper shelving techniques, but to no avail).
Neither of my children was ever exposed to books before we adopted them-
even in their middle class foster homes, but they are now book worms.
Needless to say, I now consider myself the ultimate authority on picture
books (even though I haven't read 1/3 of the books on the list and I
only took one kiddie lit class during my MLIS training).  Here is my
critique of the list.

Glaring omissions:
_Wings_ by Christopher Myers (son of Walter Dean).  A wonderful book
about being different, bullying, alienation, empathy, etc.  It is by far
my favorite story.  My son took it to preschool and the teacher read it
to the class and all of the students loved it.  She said it generated a
lot of discussion among the kids.  The cut paper illustrations are truly
wonderful.  If you have never read it, get it now!  It is very hard to
find in stores so log on to Amazon and order it.  Go on, open a browser
right now and order it.

_Chicken Sundays_ by Patricia Polacco.  If this one doesn't bring tears
to your eyes something is wrong with you.  It has a little too much text
for toddlers but I really enjoy it.  You get the feeling this story came
right from Polacco=92s heart.

_Chato's Kitchen_ and _Chato and the Party Animals_ by Gary Soto and
Susan Guevara.  Guevara's art work is incredible, reminiscent of Mexican
and Mexican-American Muralism.  _Party Animals_ is my son's favorite.
The text is a great mixture of English, with a little Spanish, and
Chicano slang thrown in.

_The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders_ by Jack Prelutsky.  The poem "Peanut Peg
and Peanut Pete" alone makes this book worth the money.

_Moo Baa La La La_ by Sandra Boynton.  We sing this clever little rhyme
in the car when the kids get bored or cranky.  Just a great little board

_Jack and the Giant: a story full of beans_ by Jim Harris.  This is a
slightly twisted retelling of Jack and the Bean Stalk.  It is very
clever and has great illustrations. (hard to find)

_The Great Adventure of Wo Ti_ by Julie Downing.  Beautiful, understated
illustrations accompany this fable-like story (hard to find).

_The Cat in the Hat_ by Dr. Seuss.  Give me a break!  No _Cat in the
Hat_ on a list of top picture books.  This is the book that practically
created (or revolutionized) the genre.  And it is a great story.  What
were they thinking?

_Snowmen at Night_ by Buehner and Buehner.  Great pictures and a very
clever story.  This snow book is second only to _The Snowy Day_.

_Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening_ by Frost, Jeffers, and Jeffers.
An absolutely gorgeous book.  The illustrations really make this great
poem even better.  For kids or adults.

Suspect inclusions:
_Curious George_.  Now this was one of my favorites when I was a kid and
my kids seem to like it.  But I find the story to be disturbing.  The
kindly Great White Hunter captures George and takes him to live in the
zoo where he will be much happier than in the jungle.  Not to mention
the firemen throwing him in prison for playing with the phone.  Yes, in
its time it may have been a great book but it has few redeeming values

_Goodnight Moon_.  This is just a dumb book.  I don=92t get why people
like it.  There is absolutely no story and the art work is nothing

_If You Give a Mouse a Cookie_.  A cute idea with cute pictures but it
is just not a great read.  It is good, but it is not one of the top 100.

_The Very Hungry Caterpillar_.  This is another one that is not bad, but
top 100?  I think not.  And while I=92m on Carle=92s case, what=92s the =
with _Today is Monday_?  This has to be one of the worst books around
(right up there with _Goodnight Moon_).  I have read the glowing reviews
that seem overly impressed with the multiethnic group of children on the
last page but I don=92t see why this book is supposed to be so good.  I
think it is proof that illustrations alone do not make a great picture
book.  Just had to get that off my chest.

_Chicka Chicka Boom Boom_.  My son really likes this one, I guess it is
the rhyme, but I think it is another overrated work.

Random observations:
_Where=92s Spot?_  Who knew that lift-the-flap books were so much fun.  =
daughter wants to read this book every day.  She now reads it to us.

_Brown Bear, Brown Bear=85_  The best Carle book ever- but more for the
text than the illustrations.

_I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly_  What a sick little story.  I
love it and so do the kids.

_The Snowy Day_  Why isn=92t this book in every book store in America?  =
couldn=92t find this one in any of the area stores.  We took our kids to
Yosemite over Christmas break and they still talk about =93the snowy
mountains=94.  They love reading this book and talking about how they =
a snowman, and snow angels, and snow balls just like the boy in the
book.  We probably read this book 5 times per week.

_Where the Wild Things Are_  Sendak is a genius.  What a cool story.
When my daughter first arrived she latched onto my wife=92s stuffed
creature from this story (now called Wild Thing, as is my daughter
sometimes).  It is her constant companion and the only toy that comforts
her when she is upset.  It is (now) a threadbare, blue, horned, fanged
monster whose limbs are about to separate from his torso but it is her
equivalent of a teddy bear.

I would love to hear what others think of this list, especially which
great books were left out.
Tony Doyle, Librarian
Livingston High School
1617 Main St.
Livingston, CA 95334
"You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get
people to stop reading them."-- Ray Bradbury

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