After surveying the stunning range of children's book blogs out there, I'm taking it all back. In fact, I'm apologizing. This is a great bunch of people with a love for children's books and, clearly, for children.
And, to top it off, most of them do seem to be professionals. (In fact, a lot of them are children's book authors themselves!)
These children's book blogs have a lot to offer...
and the bloggers are offering it for free. So I'm advising you to check out their sites and get some terrific book suggestions from people other than me.
What I did was ask the authors of a few of the top children's book blogs to each come up with a category of children's books they love and then name the top three books in it.
I love the categories they came up with. And I hope some more of them submit lists.
So here we ago. And remember to check out their blogs!
Blogger: P.J. Rooks
Children's book blog: Tell It Again Tales
My notes on the site: Well, clearly P.J. is my favorite children's book blogger; that's why she was the first official children's book reviewer on this site. P.J. always has a uniquely thoughtful take on whichever book it is she's reading.
Critical Thinking 101: Toddler Style
1) The Butter Battle Book, written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
With his usual imaginative flair, Dr. Seuss launches an arms race of crazy contraptions between neighbors who disagree (with increasing vehemence) over which side of the toast should contain the butter. A peace-lover's take on war, this book is one of the best-kept secrets of a true genius.
My notes on the site: Wow. Anne used to post a review a day, and she has the impressive credentials to back up her opinions. She does a great job of telling you what you want to know. And her grown-up book reviews appear in the Los Angeles Times.
The Picture Books That Will Change Your Life
1) Zen Shorts (reviewed on this site), written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Three siblings befriend a giant panda, who turns their little psyches inside-out. Muth is one of the most in-demand illustrators, and his spare, watercolors and calligraphy-brush drawings pull us into the panda’s imagination. Although this is a "message" book about being more clear-eyed, wise and forgiving, it delivers its lessons with Zen quietude and not Western preachiness.
My notes on the site: Jill specializes in reviewing books with something in common, for instance Five Books About Mingling Cultures. The reviews are extremely thoughtful and she's great at finding books that are out of the mainstream.
Delightful Dragon Tales
1) Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, written and illustrated by Grace Lin
The story has a Chinese-Wizard-of-Oz feel, steeped in Jasmine-Scented Fairy-Tale Tea, a sweet beauty that will not be rushed, and poetic prose. The book is beautiful: gorgeous full-color pictures,many line-drawings and decorations, beautiful jacket, well-chosen fonts,even creamy, lovely paper! Read a review!
2) My Father's Dragon, written by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett
3) Bearskin, written by Howard Pyle, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.
My notes on the site: Voluminous. This is a site that covers, well, everything. Resources for parents, children, teachers and writers. But most notably, Cynthia is a children's book author herself. Her books receive some amazing reviews.
Gorgeous Art Picture Books
1) An Egg is Quiet, by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long
Kids, meet eggs! Gorgeous pics and lyrical prose combine for a terrific book with a unique concept.
My notes on the site: Ray is an assistant prof of Christian Studies at the R.C. Ryan Center in Jackson, TN. His blog is the perfect destination for parents looking to incorporate faith into their children's reading. A focus on the bible, history, and just good fiction.
Bible Story Books for Young Children
1) Big Picture Story Bible, David R. Helm; Illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker
The Big Picture Story Bible is an incredible book. Whereas typical Bible story books simply retell various stories this one sets out to communicate how all the stories fit together in one grand story. This is accomplished with the text and the pictures. Especially young children can even gather much of the story simply from the illustrations.