60 Not-to-be-Missed Picture Books (February)

I am excited to share five more of my 60 not-to-be-missed picture books with you. This year, I am sharing five not-to-be-missed picture books on the first of each month.

Tiny unicorns love Fredrick.

You are invited to read these books along with us!  Feel free to read all five books or only those that look interesting to you each month. This will be most fun if you stop back after you have read the books and let us know what you think. If you have not done so already, sign up to receive notices when new booklists are posted via email, RSS feed, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

For more about this project as well as to see the first five books on the list and others’ reactions to those books, see January’s post.

The Daddy Book by Todd Parr. Parr’s colorful, bold illustrations are great for babies and toddlers, while his humor and messages entertain older children. The Daddy Book, intentionally or not, also offers encouragement for parents. Ages 1+

Fredrick by Leo Lionni. A story about a family of field mice preparing for winter that celebrates the value of art and poetry. Leo Lionni is one of my favorite authors. His stories are always carefully crafted and give you something to think about. Ages 3+


Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr. A charming book about a young girl and her father who head out on a winter night in search of an owl. In lesser hands, this wisp of a storyline would fall flat. However, Yolen’s poetic prose and Schoenherr’s muted pen and watercolor illustrations are captivating. Ages 3+

Wolves by Emily Gravett. Emily Gravett is awesome. She is funny. She is clever. She is an amazing artist. I think Wolves is Gravett’s best book thus far. A rabbit checks out a book at the library about wolves, begins reading, and the book comes to life. Ages 5+

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson. The true story of a man Henry “Box” Brown who, born a slave, had himself packed in a box and mailed North to freedom. The story of Brown’s life as a slave, brought to life by Kadir Nelson’s rich illustrations, is heartbreaking. Ages 7+

  • Which of these books is your favorite, and why?
  • How have children you have shared these books with reacted?
  • Is there another book by one of these authors or illustrators — Todd Parr, Jane Yolen, Leo Lionni, Emily Gravett, or Kadir Nelson — that you particularly like?

I look forward to hearing from you!

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10 Responses to 60 Not-to-be-Missed Picture Books (February)

  1. Jeff Rivera says:

    A wonderful idea ,Amy. I love sharing opinions about books.
    My favorite is The Daddy Book by Todd Parr.The brightly colored illustrations are always very inviting and fun to see.
    As with all Todd Parr books, it is minimalist yet rendered with surprising insight and elegance.
    It’s a must read book.

  2. Hi Amy! Great list again! You might want to include this in the February database for the AWB Reading Challenge! :)

  3. I really like Todd Parr. He has some great ones. I personally am not that fond of the art but the message is great and the bright colors and simple drawings are enjoyable for my kids. I think my favorite is called The Feel Good Book and It’s Okay to Be Different. Having trained in Clinical Psychology I am always on the lookout for books that talk about feelings.

  4. I have read all but the Wolves book. LOVE Owl Moon, it reads like poetry! Love Frederick too for having the courage to be himself and realize that he’s a poet. The Todd Parr books are wonderful. Love The Daddy Book and love the quirkiness of Todd Parr in general and his inclusive messages.

    Henry’s Freedom Box is a great book, but my kids did not get the message that clearly. Maybe the story is too old for them given it’s a picture book, but a wonderful book in the context of slavery, and civil rights movement and I would use for an older group of 4th or 5th graders.

    So, hard to choose, but my favorite here is …

    • Amy says:

      Owl Moon does read like poetry. It made sense to me when I discovered that Jane Yolen writes poetry as well as picture books.

      My son read Henry’s Freedom Box for the first time when he was six and thought that it was an amazing book. He focused on the adventure and suspense of sending oneself through the mail and trying to not get caught. While six-year-olds can follow and enjoy Henry’s Freedom Box as an adventure story, I might wait to introduce kids to the topic of slavery until they can appreciate how horrible it was. It’s not a topic that I want to lightly introduce to a group of young kids.

      Any other thoughts on what age kid you would read Henry’s Freedom Box with?

  5. Mary says:

    I love pretty much everything Kadir Nelson has ever done – he is AMAZING! This is such a fun series to follow along with, thanks for sharing!

  6. I like this group of books! Frederick and Owl Moon are two family favorites. I personally admire Todd Parr and his approach to being an author. (Haven’t read the other two!) Can’t wait until March to see the next group.

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