Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown. I almost don't know why I love this book so much. The story is pretty simple: Mr. Tiger wants to stop being so prim, and he does, and then he makes it easier for others to do the same. Maybe it's partly that I'm really proud of Mr. Tiger; there are reasons, some of them straight out of crit class, that so many people embrace "be yourself" stories. Or maybe it's just that Peter Brown knows how to create really, really appealing illustrations.
The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. This longer picture book's popularity is a mini-phenomenon. Duncan's crayons are fed up, all for wholly original reasons that made perfect sense to my inner six-year-old. Yes, yellow and orange would fight about who should draw the sun. Yes, black would be sick of making outlines. Yes, if crayons wrote angry letters, they would look just like that.
Battle Bunny, by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matthew Myers. A syrupy story about a birthday bunny might be right for some readers, but not for Alex. He scribbles all over the book - it's his book, after all - and turns it into a much higher-octane story. I am all about books that show kids that reading - and writing! - can be about anything they want, and I have visions of reading this aloud in tandem, with one reader reading the "original" story and the other grabbing the book and roaring the changes. (The book is probably too small for this to work for large groups.)
Coming soon: middle-grade and YA!