August Picture Book 10 for 10: The 2014 Edition

pb 10 for 10Could you choose ten – only ten – favorite picture books? I took up that challenge as part of the fifth annual August Picture Book 10 for 10 blog event hosted by Cathy at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning. This year, as in 2013, I truly struggled to reduce my list to a top ten. These are the special books that I am giving as gifts, recommending to parents and teachers, and moving face out on library and bookstore shelves:


Gaston Written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson
Whether tough or tender, precious or brutish, readers will fall head over heels for the ooo la la charm of Gaston.  Zippy text and freshly retro illustrations guarantee read-it-again giggles in this delightful tale about families, belonging, and being true to oneself.


Mr. Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich
Oh how poor Mr. Bud suffers, forced to wear The Cone while a hot spot heals. Pesky Zorro is not sympathetic, despite his costumed humiliation in Zorro Gets an Outfit. I love this wacky dog pair, first introduced in Say Hello to Zorro! A canine Elephant and Piggie.


The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino
Because this adorable spindly-legged crocodile doesn’t like water, he plays alone while his snaggle-toothed siblings cavort. When Croc goes kersplosh and gets a snoutful of water, the reason for his struggle is ultimately revealed. Gush-worth illustrations galore.


Tea Party Rules Written by Ame Dyckmen and illustrated by K.G. Campbell
I love how the sly, sweet expressions on this cub’s face pair perfectly with Ame’s funny, well-paced text. Oh the anticipation of discovery! And there are cookies!


Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
Hysterically funny for parents and kids alike, goat glumly compares himself to unicorn’s sparkly awesomeness. But wait…is that a goat cheese pizza? Our copy of this book is nearly worn-out from re-reading and quoting favorite lines.


Dare The Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud
Written by Tracey Fern, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
This picture book biography features an inspiring naval pioneer who “had always felt the sea tug at her heart, strong as a full-moon tide.”  You can almost feel the spray of salt water on your face, and hear the weighty snap of thick canvas sails overhead.


The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins, illustrated by Jill McElmurry
Lovely life story of Kate Sessions, an accomplished arborist/scientist/gardener who followed her childhood passion and transformed a barren landscape into a lush public park. Well illustrated and clearly written, a nice “turf” to pair with Dare The Wind’s “surf”!


I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum, illustrated by Jen Corace
An energetic, enthusiastic killdeer chick with an irrepressible zest for life zips through this rhyming narrative nonfiction treasure. Surprises abound for the reader and the chick as he discovers his new world and his new body. A delight and full of fun.


Sparky! Written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Soon after Mom agrees that our nameless narrator may have a pet, Sparky! arrives by Express Mail. This charming tale, filled with slow sweetness and quirky humor, is appealing and fun. Don’t speed past this story without savoring its silly delights.


Mo’s Mustache by Ben Clanton
“Huzzah!” cries Mo, when he receives a big, black, beautiful mustache in the mail. As soon as he dons his snazzy new lip accoutrement, wacky trouble ensues. Now all the adorable monsters want their own mustache!

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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35 Responses to August Picture Book 10 for 10: The 2014 Edition

  1. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! I’ve read only three. Can’t wait to read the other seven. btw, I liked those three, but they didn’t make *my* favorites list.

  2. Lauri Meyers says:

    Great list and a few on here I haven’t read yet!

  3. LovableLobo says:

    Love your selections, Cathy! There are so many wonderful PBs out that I don’t think I could narrow it down to just 10. ~thoughts from another Cathy 🙂

  4. You have great taste!!!

  5. Linda Baie says:

    You’ve reminded me of some I’ve seen reviewed but still haven’t read, Cathy. Thanks for the good list!

  6. rnewman504 says:

    Great selection, Cathy! There are a few I’m not familiar with that I’m putting on my list. Hope you’re having a good summer. 🙂

  7. thelogonauts says:

    Really fun collection! Tree Lady sparked a great discussion with my third graders last year. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Nice choices. I’ve read about half of these, so I have work to do. Thanks for the post.

  9. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    We are currently reading Unicorn thinks he’s pretty great by Bob Shea EVERY night. I personally loved Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, but kiddo isn’t asking for it like Unicorn. Love your choices and will look up the ones I haven’t read yet.

  10. tinamcho says:

    Unfortunately, I haven’t read any of these NEW pbs. aghhhh. Some day…

  11. Sue Wang says:

    This is wonderful, Cathy. I wish I had a little one to read with. (not take care of…). I like the Crocodile and ‘I hatched.’ That’s a good phrase. Hello, I hatched. 🙂

  12. uiwpwendy says:

    You are going to get me in trouble! There are so many great titles to check out– on your pb10for10 list AND in your other posts. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Cathy Mere says:

    These are surely books worth recommending. You have some of my favorites here: Unicorn Thinks He is Pretty Great, Tea Party Rules and Gaston. I’m looking forward to checking out I Hatched, The Crocodile Who Couldn’t Swim, and Sparky. Sparky has been on a lot of lists as I’ve wandered around.

    Thanks for sharing your recommendations,

    • Thank you SO much for organizing this terrific event with Mandy! My book list is bulging and I can’t wait to get my hands on so many wonderful new-to-me titles! Already looking forward to 2015. 🙂

  14. After ready this back in August I found several of these at my library.Total enjoyment!

  15. Shoulda known we’d have such similar taste!

  16. Lynne Marie says:

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

  17. Melanie Roy says:

    I LOVE this list because there are 8 I haven’t read yet. Just added them to my Goodreads list. Thank you for such an interesting list!

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