Monday, November 12, 2012

Meanwhile, on the Kids' Display Wall...

The New York Times knows a lot of things. It knows what's happening in the world and how to analyze it. It knows what's worth seeing on Broadway and what's not worth your time or your time. It certainly knows which adult books are nightstand-worthy. Well, the Times' taste also extends to children's books.

Now in its 60th year, the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books list covers an interesting cross-section of each year's children's book output. It includes plenty of picture books for the younger set; just try to look at Naoko Stoop's woodcuts in Red Knit Cap Girl without feeling tranquil, or the well-dressed eggs with legs in Oliver Jeffers' The Hueys in the New Sweater without feeling bouncy.

But the list doesn't stop there. Many of the best children's books with illustrations are works of nonfiction, which can appeal to a broader age range than the typical picture book. Though a preschool-aged science buff might certainly enjoy the creepy-crawly close-ups in Steve Jenkins' The Beetle Book, an independent reader will probably get more out of the factoids about each species. Similarly, Joe McKendry's One Times Square is a fun flip-through for any young armchair tourist, but the longer text is geared much more toward elementary-aged historians (who are also old enough to appreciate the signed copies we currently have in stock). And then there's Henry Cole's Unspoken, a completely wordless picture book that invites readers to interpret the story its pictures tell about the Underground Railroad.

The vast majority of the books on the list are on display now, and the last few are on their way. Are you on your way?

No comments: