August Picture Book 10 for 10

pb 10 for 10Could you choose ten favorite picture books? Just ten? I took up that challenge as part of the August Picture Book 10 for 10 blog event sponsored for the fourth year by Cathy at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning.

In past years, participating bloggers have interpreted the top ten challenge in extra-clever ways to share diverse and interesting lists of books.  I tried and failed to apply categorization or classification to my list.  Ultimately there is no unifying thread other than the fact that I’m head-over-heels in love with them!

The newest title on my top ten for 2013 is Snippet: The Early Riser by Bethanie Deeney Murguia.  Snippet is a fresh, cute story with lots of kid appeal and clever illustrations. The link will bring you to a trailer and activities to download.


Look beyond Snippet’s patchwork shell to appreciate and celebrate this strong, beautiful shape in the brilliant nature observations from Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman.


From snail to reptile, the classic Crictor by Tomi Ungerer has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Such an endearing boa and doting owner – in Paris! Oo la la.


Snakes not your speed?  Perhaps you’d prefer a more traditional pet like Won Ton: A Cat Tale in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw.  The wonderful, much-lauded tale of a shelter cat finding home will warm your heart through and through.

won ton

Once you have savored those luscious feline haiku, turn to the rollicking rhymes of The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz. This is a super fun read-aloud storytime book featuring a strong girl pig who knows the value of determination and practice.

ninja pigs

Did that put you in the mood for a little more poetry?  Wonderful!  I’m delighted to recommend one of my favorite poetry collections for kids, A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk by Deborah Ruddell. My review from last year is one of this blog’s most viewed posts!


Perhaps you’d like to read more about animals and their habitats.  I love Rain by Manya Stojic for its color soaked illustrations and evocative descriptions of the parched African savannah, transformed in dramatic fashion by a thunderstorm.

rain stojic

Precipitation of a colder persuasion is gorgeously depicted in another long-time favorite,  Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, featuring Mary Azarian’s incredible 1999 Caldecott winning woodcuts.  This gem has it all: nature, biography, art, history, science and fabulous curriculum resources.


Snow is still falling in my next favorite friendship story,  Salina Yoon’s Penguin and Pinecone.  Sweet, funny and touching, these unlikely friends don’t let distance become a barrier.  Plus – a penguin who knits! I almost tucked Boy + Bot by Ame Dykeman in this slot for its equally lovely emphasis on  friendship and communication.  penguin

boy bot

I’m crazy about book ten on my list, the marvelous Exclamation Mark by powerhouse duo Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. This treasure explores the emotional turmoil of feeling different, then ultimately finding and celebrating your true self.  It’s inspiring, compelling, and appealing for kids as well as adults.  I smile every time I read it!


It’s not too late to join the fun at August Picture Book 10 for 10.  Check the links for participating bloggers, or look on Twitter for posts under #pb10for10.  What favorites would you put on your top ten?


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at or Twitter @catballoumealey
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62 Responses to August Picture Book 10 for 10

  1. rnewman504 says:

    This is very tough. Sendak, Marshall, and Steig would probably dominate my top 10.

  2. Wonderful list! I think being head-over-heels in love with all of them is the perfect unifying criterion. I also love Exclamation–and indeed everything Rosenthal writes. I haven’t seen Ninja Pigs–my boys are obsessed with ninjas, so this looks like a winner. Thanks!

  3. I am a sucker for a book list, so thank you for sharing. I haven’t read any of the books here, but I have been meaning to check a few of them out for a while, so this is a great incentive.

  4. Great list! I’m going to have to check out Snippet! Also, I love Swirl By Swirl! Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  5. You’ve listed great books here Cathy! I added Snippet and Penguin and Pinecone to my reading list. I love the Three Ninja Pigs and Wonton too! Yes, it would be tough for me to list just 10.

  6. Love your choices, many I’ve read, but a few I haven’t. Do the books nominated have to 2013 books? Must get Snowflake Bentley. Think my favorites are Swirl by Swirl and Exclamation Point!

  7. Gayathri says:

    Interesting list! Haven’t read most of these books actually. And the to-read list just gets longer & longer 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Sue Wang says:

    Great books, Cathy!!! I had Snowflake Bentley. It was truly lovely. I wish I still have a young one -all of these books sound wonderful. Would have loved to know your blog 10 years ago!

  9. So many new to me titles! Thanks – what a fun idea too!

  10. alybee930 says:

    You have some great titles on the list. I love Snippet!

  11. marcieatkins says:

    Yay! So excited to add a few news ones to my list. 🙂

  12. A fine list indeed! I’ve read a few and haven’t heard of a few. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  13. Lots of great choices on your list, Cathy! Loved the trailer and activities for Snippet. I haven’t see that book yet – I’ll have to read it! 🙂

  14. Lee Wardlaw says:

    Thanks so much for including WON TON, Cathy! Purrs, Lee Wardlaw

  15. Oh wow oh wow — if you’re recommending them, I know I have to read them! WON TON, WHIFF OF PINE, SWIRL BY SWIRL, and BOY+BOT are already on my shelf and I feel like you do about them all. But next on my shopping list HAS to be SNIPPET, just from the cover alone – adorable!!!!

    • Are your twins early risers Renee? If so, Snippet might give them some unwelcome inspiration…! My little one used to stand beside the bed and pat my face until I got up to “play” in the pre-dawn hours.

  16. Wow. I think I would like Snippet. I’m an early riser (who tries to sleep in) Great list! 😀

  17. These are some wonderful, unique suggestions. I also included The Three Ninja Pigs on my Three Little Pigs post at

  18. izatrapani1 says:

    I guess my comment via my iphone a couple of days ago did not go through… Thanks for this wonderful list, Cathy. I look forward to checking out some titles I am not familiar with!

  19. carriegelson says:

    Wonderful list! So happy to see Crictor on this list. We frequently read this story to our children when they were younger. I am also a big fan of Snowflake Bentley – an amazing story.

  20. I put several on my list including Snippet! Thanks for the mention of that one. I was traveling and just now returning to my library list.

  21. You’ve mentioned some of my favorites and some I’m sure will become favorites when I get a chance to read them! Thanks for the list 🙂

  22. Hannah Holt says:

    Thanks, Cathy! Some of these are new to me, and you’ve helped me fill up my library list for later today. 🙂 Looking forward to checking out these titles.

  23. Nina Crittenden says:

    Great books! It is always hard to choose favorites, it was fun to see your top ten! 🙂

  24. Pingback: PPBF: Found - Stacy S. Jensen

  25. Pingback: August Picture Book 10 for 10: The 2014 Edition | bildebok from Cathy Ballou Mealey

  26. Lynne Marie says:

    Great list! Some of my favorites, too!
    Lynne Marie –

  27. I totally connect to the fact that sometimes, we just need to share books because we LOVE them! This is a wonderful collection and I have noted a couple of new titles for me – Snippet looks adorable and I am excited about the Whiff of Pine poetry book! Thanks for sharing these!

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