Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation. Feel free to comment even if you are not officially participating! This week’s question is:
What is your favorite classic picture book? Or you can tell us about a picture book you think will/should become a classic.
Favorite Classic Picture Book
My favorite classic picture book is Don Freeman’s 1968 Corduroy, which tells the story of a teddy bear who longs for a home. He fears, however, that no one will buy him since he’s missing a button on his overalls, so he goes on a journey through his store to find his lost button. The premise is simple, but the story resonates with me every time. Corduroy’s desire to belong, his bravery while on his adventure, and his final happy ending all make this a book worth rereading. Also notable is that the little girl who sees Corduroy is the store is African American–this type of diversity isn’t something one might expect from a book published in the late 1960s. All around, the book is simply heartwarming
Picture Book I’d Love to See Become a Classic
I can’t praise Sam Garton’s I Am Otter (which began as a blog) enough. Otter is, as you guessed, an otter who lives in a house with Otter Keeper and her best friend Teddy–who is actually a teddy bear and not a real bear, funnily enough. Otter has a great imagination and a knack for getting into mischief, so it’s always a pleasure to read her stories and wonder whom she’ll blame for her mishaps–Teddy gets a bit of a rough time, but it tends to be Giraffe who gets stuck with the blame. Funny and charming, Otter is an original character as far as picture books go. I hope one day she becomes a classic.