Friday, May 29, 2015

My Favorite Picture Book Characters


from Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Garth Williams
Frances is such a spunky little girl, who wouldn't want to spend time with her? She knows how she wants others to treat her and demands nothing less, she appreciates a good song (and frequently writes her own), and she (mostly) loves her little sister Gloria.


from Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
My favorite thing about Harold is that when he gets hungry on his moonlit walk, he draws "all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best" and then, concerned about the leftovers, he leaves them for "a very hungry moose and a deserving porcupine.”


from Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber
Of all the children's books I read as a child, this one was one of the most relatable, because Ira has the concerns of a real child. I especially loved his relationship with his manipulative sister, and the realness of his embarrassment over sleeping with a teddy bear.

King Bidgood

from King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood
There is something irresistible about a supposedly responsible grown-up who acts like a child. I love to read this book aloud and say "Come in!" in a very kingly voice, which somehow makes his refusal to leave the tub that much more ridiculous.


from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
I love Max for his wildness, but also for his underlying sweetness, which ultimately causes him to calm down his angry feelings and wish for home and his mother.

Miss Nelson

from Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall
I remember thinking Miss Nelson was brilliant even when I was a kid, and that feeling has only increased now that I am an adult. She appears so sweet and innocent, and yet underneath her friendly smile lurks the diabolical mind that conjures Miss Viola Swamp.


from Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
You don't have to be the middle child to empathize with Nora's frustration in this book. In many ways, she is like a female Max, full of wildness when her feelings are hurt, but also willing to forgive when the anger subsides.

Owl Mother

from Owl Babies by Martin Waddell 
Though this book is mostly about the three owl siblings waiting for their mother to return, the mother herself is a definite force to be reckoned with. I frequently find myself quoting her, as I say to my daughter, "What's all the fuss?"


from Stanley the Builder by William Bee 
Little Miss Muffet is fascinated by Stanley, which makes him even more likeable than he might be on his own. I like his wide range of abilities, his willingness to help his friends, and his reliable adherence to a bedtime routine.


from Titch by Pat Hutchins
We have all felt like Titch - small and insignificant - at some point. This books reminds us of those opportunities when our actions mean something and impact the world around us. 

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