Tag Archives: New York Times Best Illustrated Book

Where the Wild Things Are


That very night in Max’s room a forest grew
and grew–
and grew until his ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around

I love to read this book aloud.  It feels like music or magic (and I love to gnash my terrible teeth and roll my terrible eyes and show my terrible claws).  Unfortunately (and hopefully coincidentally), it is one of the only books that actively bothers my oldest.  But my youngest is fascinated by it, so occasionally we let the wild rumpus start.

Author: Maurice Sendak
Illustrator: Maurice Sendak

Henry Hikes to Fitchburg


One summer day, Henry and
his friend decided to go to
Fitchburg to see the country.
“I’ll walk,” said Henry.
“It’s the fastest way to travel.”
“I’ll work,” Henry’s friend
said, “until I have the money
to buy a ticket to ride the
train to Flitchburg. We’ll see
who gets there first!”

Based on a passage from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, this book focuses on how there are many ways to reach the same destination.  Some of them are more conventional.  Some of them are quicker.  Some of them are more fun.  And all of them take effort, of one sort or another.

Being thoughtful about the kind of effort is best suited to a particular task, rather than just hopping into the first thing that comes to mind is a good message for anyone.  The boys like the racing aspect of the book, they like counting the money and the miles accumulated by the two bears, and they are always a bit surprised that the “winner” is ambiguous.

While we really enjoy this book, we’ve tried out a few other in this series (Henry Builds a Cabin and Henry’s Night) that did not connect with the boys.  Your mileage may vary.

Author: D.B. Johnson
Illustrator: D.B. Johnson

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


I tried reading the original version of Alice in Wonderland to my oldest about a year ago as our before-bed-chapter-book.  It did not click; we abandoned it.  This version, on the other hand, has been entirely successful.  It contains the essence of the story, the visuals are wonderful, and it never feels too long.  Both boys are thrilled when I pull it out.

Author:  Adapted from Lewis Carroll’s book
Illustrator:  Robert Sabuda in the style of John Tenniel

Kitten’s First Full Moon


It was Kitten’s first full moon.
When she saw it, she thought,
There’s a little bowl of milk in the sky.
And she wanted it.

Kitten tries (and tries) to reach the little bowl of milk that she wants so much.  Things do not go well.  (Poor Kitten!)  But, as you might expect, there is a happy ending waiting.

This soft, sweet, short story is perfect for just before bed.

Author:  Kevin Henkes
Illustrator:  Kevin Henkes