Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Annie Beth Ericsson's Picture Book List

Annie Beth Ericsson is a design assistant at G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin Young Readers Group), a recent graduate of Pratt Institute, and the illustrator of board books What's In My Garden? and What's In My Toybox?.  She chronicles her experiences in becoming a children's book illustrator and designer on her blog, Walking In Public.  Annie lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she spends a lot of time painting watercolors of sea turtles (and other creatures). You can view her illustration work on her website.
These are Annie Beth's top 10 favorite picture books:
RECHENKA'S EGGS by Patricia Polacco - This is my favorite picture book of all time.  While Polacco's more familiar Chicken Sunday never fails to make me sniffle, I prefer this equally heartwarming story of the old babushka finding an unlikely companion in a wounded goose and her miraculously-painted Ukranian eggs.

THE YEAR OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE by Barbara Cooney - The one I have to read every Christmas Eve. I always insisted on finding a Balsam fir, just like Ruthie and her Mama brought to the village from high on the rocky crags.  I still cry every time Mama makes Ruthie an angel costume from her wedding dress "the color of cream, all trimmed with ribbons and lace", and again, when Ruthie's father comes home from the war just in time to see her in it.
ELOISE by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight - Of all classic children's books, to me, this is the best-best-best. Her language is uniquely hilarious, and Knight's illustrations literally scamper across the page with gusto. She's the ultimate exciting, mischevious bad-girl. Oooooo I absolutely love her!

MIRETTE ON THE HIGH WIRE by Emily Arnold McCully - I wrote my college admissions essay on how much this book inspired me to dream big.  Mirette's intrepid balancing act, her fear of falling, and her ultimate conquering of the tightrope and stepping into the sky? It's all a metaphor, baby.

THE PAPER BAG PRINCE by Colin Thompson - Nestled in an endless world of trash is the bittersweet story of recycling and rebirth for both discarded people and things. The illustrations are easily the most complex I've ever seen, and I always discover something new and beautiful in the piles of junk.

THE STORY OF MAY by Mordecai Gerstein - Forget Hop On Pop... this was the first book I read on my own. Something about the soothing, cyclical journey of little May traveling through her family of months was the perfect bedtime story.  I used to go through the year over and over again... 'til I actually started reading!

CHRYSANTHEMUM by Kevin Henkes - Of the many, many Henkes books that I adore, it was tough to choose between mice like Lilly and Owen. But something just kept saying in my head, "Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum!" What can I say... she's one of a kind.

ISH - by Peter H. Reynolds - Artists are often their own worst critics, and sometimes they need a little encouragement from others.  When I feel like my work isn't measuring up, all I have to do is take a look at Reynolds' whimsical illustrations and remember that it's okay to be "ish"!

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL KID IN THE WORLD by Jennifer A. Ericsson, illustrated by Susan Meddaugh - I'd be crazy if I didn't mention the picture book about me, written by my mother (a children's book author). As the story goes, I loved to dress up in weird outfits, and busted them out at some inopportune moments, like fancy dinner parties. I may have outgrown the tutu, but this book captured my individuality in print for the rest of my childhood!

MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS by Robert McCloskey - Since Boston is the closest city to my hometown, I not only grew up with this story, but I experienced it annually by making the trek during the city's Duckling Day Parade. McCloskey's sensitive sepia drawings are nothing short of perfect, and I'll be cheering on the little homeward-bound ducks for generations.

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