Today we again depart from The Broke and the Bookish to list our favourite picturebooks featuring animal characters. Non-mythical animals, this week.
I’m not as well read picturebooks-wise as I hope to be but my favourite picturebook contains animal characters. And it is, *trumpet sounds*:
Animal picturebooks! What fun! I’m not sure – there are so many and so many different varieties! Here’s an assortment.
- Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown. This book is adorable – actually there are a couple of adorably scaredy-bunny books (honourable mention: The Black Rabbit by Phillepa Leathers) that I adore, but this is probably my favourite.
- It’s a Book by Lane Smith is probably one of my favourite postmodern picturebooks and the humour of the story hinges on the animals.
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky (and his other classic Make Way for Ducklings) is an old animal story classic. Told with the viewpoint of child and baby bear with a wonderful, sweet, twist. This book is just great!
- Voices in the Park by Anthony Brown also features an animal voice. The story revolves around four different points of view (another postmodern picturebook!) one for each of the seasons. While it is not exactly fun and cute, it is interesting, inspiring and sophisticated.
- To round out the assortment of books that I have going here I’ll end on one that I would like to feature next month as crossover it is Death, Duck and Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch. This is, well, this’ll make you cry. It’s a complete story of life, love and death – well that’s the title isn’t it? Death, Duck and Tulip. If you read it, you won’t be dissapointed.
I did not really grow up with picturebooks and have only recently begun reading them, so I don’t have quite the variety that Steph does. Still, here are some of the picturebooks that I adore and just happen to involve animals:
I have a special fondness for this one since I heard my friend’s ridiculously talented kid read it aloud.
2. Mangoes and Bananas by Nathan Kumar Scott and T. Balaji.
It features a mousedeer as a trickster figure. For a more detailed explanation of why this picturebook is lovely, click here.
3. Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault.
It’s not really an animal picturebook but it does, for a significant part of the book, involve a wolf-child!
4. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen.
Obviously. It’s the funniest book ever, picturebook or otherwise.
5. This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers.
I have Steph to thank for introducing me to this beauty. I can’t really pick between the many Jeffers books I love, but this one is definitely up there.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, for the rhythm of the words and the texture of the illustrations.
In the Sea by Karen Patkau tells the story of Crystal, a glass fish, who is swept into the sea. The spare, poetic text is beautifully matched with colourful, unique illustrations.
Old Turtle by Douglas Wood and Cheng-Khee Chee. Poetry and paintings.
Waiting for the Whales by Sheryl McFarlane and Ron Lightburn, the west coast Canadian classic picturebook about “a serious little girl, a wild little girl, a stubborn little girl” and her grandfather, and the orca whales that come every summer.
Janet’s Ponies by Kady MacDonald Denton. I think the name says it all. Fur, Feathers, and Flippers: How Animals Live Where They Do by Patricia Lauber. I don’t remember if I ever read all the text as a child (it’s pretty dense, and I was young) but I loved seeing the photographs of the wild animals. The photographs made animals real and inspired reverence and love in a way that no other art did quite as powerfully.
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury. Yup, you read that right. Three little wolves build house after house in an attempt to escape the big bad pig, and to save their china teapot, too.
Otter and Odder: A Love Story by James Howe and Chris Raschka. I don’t know why I like this one as much as I do but the attraction was immediate. Perhaps it was the opening page: “The river sparkled the day Otter found love. He was not looking for it (love, that is). He was looking for dinner.”