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Best Children's Books of 2012

Every year, approximately 30,000 children's books are published in the USA.

After reading stacks of books (a delightful duty), we've hand-picked the very best titles of 2012.

A World of Food: Discover Magical Lands Made of Things You Can Eat

written and illustrated by Carl Warner


There's not a kid in the world that wouldn't pick up a copy of this book based on the cover alone. Who can resist life-size lollipops, mega marshmallows, and gargantuan gumdrops? Inside the book are equally extravagant food scenes. Each pages features one color and a whimsical scene made completely of edible items. Pasta palm trees, a couscous desert, cinnamon stick lamps, a chocolate train. Delectable delights will make your mouth water and your imagination grow.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep

written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail


Trying to get your little one to nod off gently? Pick up this ABC bedtime book that reads like a lullaby. Gorgeous watercolors of animals (A-Z) getting ready for sleep make for a quiet and lovely book. Wordies will especially appreciate the wonderful repertoire of adjectives and verbs woven throughout the text.



C.R. Mudgeon

written by Leslie Muir and illustrated by Julian Hector


The primary character is a grumpy and complacent hedgehog who enjoys predictable routines. When lively and daring Paprika the Squirrel moves in next door, the two personalities meet head-on...eventually learning that change is the spice of life and the gift of friendship is not to be taken for granted.



Extra Yarn

written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen


Annabelle is a little girl, living in a black-and-white world...until she finds a box of yarn that never runs out. With her knitting needles and quiet generosity, she creates beautiful garments for everyone in her town - including inanimate objects. When a villainous duke arrives from across the sea and steals the precious box, it seems that all hope is lost. But, as the text so aptly demonstrates, things are not always as they seem.

Good People Everywhere

written by Lynea Gillen and illustrated by Kristina Swarner


Simple text and pretty corresponding pictures show people...doing good. Midwives delivering babies. Musicians creating music. Big sisters holding babies. Farmers growing vegetables. The actions are ordinary in scope, but unquestionably important in the grand scheme of life. The narrative ends with a not-too-moralistic challenge, encouraging children to think about what good they can do.


If All the Animals Came Inside

written by Eric Pinder and illustrated by Marc Brown


In this comedic and colorful tale, the author invites kids to consider what would happen if animals came inside the house. The rhyming text makes this a super fun read-aloud (ideal for story time with a group!). Our two daughters were in fits of laughter over the preposterous scenarios.



Lost and Found

written by Bill Harley and illustrated by Adam Gustavson


A young boy with strawberry-brown hair has lost the special winter cap that his grandmother knit for him. After mustering up his courage to visit the eccentric janitor Mr. Rumkowsky, Justin discovers that the Lost and Found can be a place of many mysteries. Aside from the inclusion of the word "dumb" in the story (tsk, tsk, editors...unnecessary), our family "found" this to be a creative story with interesting illustrations.


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

written by William Joyce and illustrated by Joe Bluhm


"Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books." And so begins a book for all book-lovers everywhere. The fanciful illustrations will make every bookworm's heart soar - and little kids will love the picture scenes that so elegantly combine reality and fantasy. Truly, Mr. Bluhm deserves his name on the cover of the book too. A Caldecott winner? Yes, I expect so.

What were your favorite picture books published in 2012?