Classic Remarks: Picture Books

Classic Remarks 1

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

CorduroyMy 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 am otterI 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.

Leave your link below! Krysta 64

11 thoughts on “Classic Remarks: Picture Books

  1. Risa says:

    I haven’t read or heard of either. The picture books I mentioned are both ones I read when I was much older, but they stick with me even now.:)

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    • Krysta says:

      Otter’s books are just being published now and they’re certainly delightful even for adults! Her blog in particular seems to have a sizable online following and it’s probably not small children.

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  2. Jarrett Lerner says:

    Sendak’s IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN was one of my favorites growing up. Such glorious and magical illustrations. And so many new good ones to choose from. Some that come to mind: THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN (Marla Frazee), LOUISE LOVES ART (Kelly Light), LITTLE ELIOT, BIG CITY (Mike Curato), THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND (Dan Santat). I could go on!

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    • Krysta says:

      It’s so exciting to see someone so enthusiastic about picture books! I haven’t read most of these–I think I’ve only read the Sendak one and maybe just seen some illustrations from the others–so now I have a nice list for next time I get to the library!

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  3. David says:

    Yup, Corduroy was one of those gentle classics I grew up with. A very nice story paired with the right style illustrations to bring it to life. I’m not familiar with many of the newer kids’ books, obviously, although since I’m still working with kids I do occasionally get to read to them. It’s fun. Once during the summer I read “Tacky the Penguin” to a class of 2nd graders in an outrageous Russian accent, with several parenthetical asides.🙂 Because I could. It was as hit.

    Hey, I think I’ll poach some of your meme topics! I’m looking for another blog meme to that will let me post more frequently, since my reviews take so long. I can’t do all the Classic Remarks because several of these books I haven’t read, but some topics, like this one, I definitely can!

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    • Krysta says:

      For some reason I was under the impression that everyone grew up with Corduroy, but whenever I say something about it, no one knows what I’m talking about! But I admit I’m not up on all the recent releases, either. And sometimes I just don’t understand why some of them are so popular. Dragons Love Tacos is nice, I guess, but I wouldn’t have predicted that it would become huge. Perhaps if you read it aloud with an outrageous accent, it would be funnier. 🙂

      We would love to have your participate! We tried to pick a variety of classics and stick to more popular ones to help people out, but unfortunately it is the nature of the meme that not everyone can participate every week. Sometimes I look at the topic and I’m not sure I can participate! There’s a Great Gatsby question coming up and I haven’t read that book in at least three years. So I’m not entirely sure why I wrote the question. I guess I figured that if you went to high school in America you’ve probably had to read it at some point.

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      • David says:

        Oh gosh, it’s been much longer than 3 years since I read Gatsby. Try over 10, since I have to think back to high school. I remember enough to recall the broad impressions I had, but not enough to feel I can effectively judge it.

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