2012 Finalists: Fiction Picture Books

Black Dog
by Levi Pinfold
Nominated by: librarygrl2One day a black dog of inderminate (but undoubtedly large) size scares the Hope family terribly, leaving the youngest member, called Small, to face the animal. In her bright yellow jacket, she leads the dog on a merry chase with the refrain, “You can”t follow where I go, unless you shrink, or don’t you know?” The dog does follow, and as he shrinks the reader’s heart swells, for Small Hope is a picture of brazen confidence and the face of the dog shows the reader that the only thing he’s hungry for is a friend. Both the text and illustrations offer much to ponder, with younger readers able to enjoy the delicious wordplay and adventure while older readers can explore the allegory of the black dog on a deeper level.

— Julie Jurgens, Hi Miss Julie!

Chloe and the Lion
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
Nominated by: Teacher.Mother.ReaderAuthor and illustrator appear in their own book as sculpted doll versions of themselves working together to tell the story of Chloe, a young girl who saves her money to ride the merry-go-round in the park. When author Mac decides to fire illustrator Adam over artistic differences, the variety of styles used to tell Chloe’s story creates the perfect illusion that multiple illustrators are taking his place. The differentiation between the “on-stage” happenings of Chloe’s story and witty behind-the-scenes banter of Mac and Adam is expertly defined through the use of different media and fonts for each. Readers are sure to remember the difference between an author and an illustrator after enjoying this clever story-within-a-story.

— Laura Given, LibLaura5

Creepy Carrots!
by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
Simon & Schuster
Nominated by: Danielle SmithJasper Rabbit has a big problem: he can’t stop chomping down all the carrots in Crackenhopper Field, and they’ve had enough! As Jasper’s love of carrots turns to fear, he attempts to conquer the Creepy Carrots once and for all. Through vivid noir-style illustrations, readers young and old will be captivated by the pop of bright orange against a Twilight Zone feel of background colors and characters. A perfectly creepy and hilarious story of a gluttonous bunny that may even help little readers conquer their fears of what goes bump in the night.

— Danielle Smith, There’s a Book

Extra Yarn
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Balzer + Bray
Nominated by: Flowering MindsIn a dreary town, young Annabelle finds a box filled with yarn of every color. Incredibly, the supply never seems to run out. Annabelle decides to share, slowly changing her world for the better. “Timeless” can sometimes be code for “old-fashioned”–that’s not the case here. In Extra Yarn, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen craft a story with staying power that feels fresh and modern. Barnett touches on themes of giving while Klassen works wonders with the visuals, covering the once-drab town in technicolor yarn. It’s funny, it’s quirky, yet at the core Extra Yarn is an engaging story that kids won’t soon forget.

— Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes

Home for Bird, A
by Philip C. Stead
Roaring Brook
Nominated by: Amy @ Hope Is the WordA carved bird is launched off the back of a truck and discovered by a cheerful frog who adopts the silent creature as his new friend. As Bird says nothing, Frog decides he can only make Bird happy by finding his home, and he bravely takes on that important quest. The reader always understands what Frog does not–that this bird belongs in a clock–and that knowledge makes the completed journey rewarding as the right home is found and Bird finally speaks with a loud CUCKOO! Sweeps of bright colors and playfully sketched illustrations convey the light tone, while underneath lies a heart-warming tale of friendship, dedication, and the beauty of caring for another. Powerful, engaging, and beautifully crafted, this is the perfect book for parent-child reading time.

— Jodell Sadler, Picture Book Lunchables

Infinity and Me
by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Carolrhoda Books
Publisher/ Author SubmissionAs she stares at the night sky, young Uma wonders about the confusing concept of infinity and she decides to ask her friends what it means to them. Infinity and Me introduces a challenging mathematical concept though the creative explanations of her friends and Uma’s own wonderings, as well as through the mostly muted illustrations that have just enough personality (the bright red of Uma’s precious new shoes, for example) to give them life. The almost abstract illustrations perfectly suit the mathematical theme of the book, and the child-like, yet accurate, understandings of infinity work together to provide a discussion of a mind-boggling topic, well disguised as a compelling story about one girl and her friends. Inspired by the author’s discussions with children about infinity, Infinity and Me includes a two-page author’s note in which she mentions a bit of the history of the concept of infinity and also shares what some other children
think about it.

— Rebecca Reid, Rebecca Reads

One Special Day
by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Jessica Meserve
Nominated by: rebecca kaiSpencer is just as strong and fast and loud as any of the wild animals that inhabit his world. Yet when a new sibling comes along, Spencer has no trouble adding “gentle” to his list of personal qualities. Simple text provides a fun introduction to similes, cleverly allowing children to fill in missing blanks. Gorgeous art swirls with motion and emotion until the climax which, by contrast, becomes dear and intimate. One Special Day is an engaging book that thankfully depicts the experience of getting a new sibling in a positive light.

— Aaron Zenz, Bookie Woogie