Guessing the Top Ten Picture Books

I’m am having so much fun following the blog of Betsy Bird, Children’s Librarian at New York Public Library.

She recently did a survey of the librarians and children’s book lovers who follow her blog, asking them to list their ten favorite picture books of all time.  For awhile now, she’s been posting the top 100, where she scored the books with ten points for a first place vote, nine for second place, and so on.

It’s been truly wonderful reading the list, being reminded of so many incredible books.  I am proud that I have read almost all of them, and made sure that I did read any I wasn’t familiar with.  Almost the only book I didn’t really like was Who Needs Donuts? but I brought it home for my teenage son, and, just as I guessed would happen, it is now one of his all-time favorites.  (He has a thing for donuts, hammered into him as a toddler when we let him play “Dilbert’s Desktop Games” with its refrain, “Gotta get more donuts!”  He also loves highly detailed pictures.)

This week, she offered a challenge.  Can you guess which books will make the top ten?

If any of my readers want to play, you will want to read all the books in slots 100 to 11.  Instructions for submitting your choices are at:  You only have about 24 hours — Sunday night, May 3, at midnight is the deadline.  Today I submitted my guesses and really enjoyed doing it.

However, the fun of reading these posts got me thinking.  Originally, I hadn’t submitted my votes.  I rather scorned the idea of choosing only ten favorites.

But then the fun of the list coming out made me wish I had voted for the ones I love.  At the same time, my co-worker read some of my favorite books and has asked me repeatedly for a list of favorites.

With all this in mind, I have started on several lists.  I like it that Betsy Bird confined the list to Picture Books, but did not include Easy Readers.  Somehow, breaking it into narrower categories makes it easier to recognize wonderful books without excluding others.  So I have started on lists of my favorite Board Books, Picture Books, Easy Readers, Beginning Chapter Books, Middle Grade Books, and Young Adult Books.  Hmm.  I will have to also do a list of favorite Fiction for Adults, but I do not think I will make a list for Nonfiction — too much variety.

One thing I don’t like about the lists idea is when a new book comes along that is worthy of the list, how can you kick off an old favorite?  With that in mind, I think I will give up my idea of having Top Ten lists, and just make them as long as they need to be.  I also want to have some sort of rule to keep from hastily putting a new and wonderful book on the list.  I think I will require myself to have read the book at least two times, at least a year apart.  (One of those times can be the audio version.)

Now, I’m already making lists each year of my favorites in each category — the Sonderbooks Stand-outs.  This would be something different.  I will need to add a whole new area to my website for lists of favorites.  Who knows?  Once I make the general lists, I might make some new lists, such as lists of favorite YA fantasy, lists of Jane Austen related books (I already have that going within each review), lists of math-related fiction, and the like.

What do you think?  Please comment on my blog if you like the idea.

The little catch is that I’m in the middle of a local move, my house is filled with boxes, and I’m already quite behind on writing reviews and posting them on my main site.  I also want to give myself some time to make sure I remember all my favorites before I start posting the lists.

So — that’s what I have in mind, and here’s hoping it won’t be too long before I bring you some lists of favorites.

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