Thursday, June 24, 2010

Author Audrey Vernick shares her 5 favorite picture books

Audrey Vernick is the creative mind behind the buffalo and his first adventure in IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? (as well as his second, coming out next summer). After taking a look at the illustrator's (Daniel Jennewein) favorite 5 picture books yesterday, today Audrey's going to share which picture books she goes back to again and again.

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

I don't think I've ever said the title Roxaboxen without sighing with delight. Oh, Roxaboxen. A world of thorny cactus, desert glass, a dead lizard, ocotillo swords and little Anna May in jail. Special bonus: Barbara Cooney's art makes me swoon.

George and Martha by James Marshall

You'd think those two hippos in their fancy hats and accessories would be outdated by now, but there's something about their friendship, and their respect for one another, that stands the test of time. And I know it's wrong, but whenever I hear of someone named Martha, my first mental image is of James Marshall's Marha. For reasons I cannot fathom, this is not true of men named George.

Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Sometimes, ideas come along that are so spot-on and brilliant that it's almost as though they've been there all along. (I feel that way about certain songs, too.) But it took this combination of writer and illustrator to execute a great idea with such brilliance. And hilarity. And universal appeal.

Teammates, by Peter Golenbock, illustrated by Paul Bacon

I'm a sucker for baseball picture books, and it's hard to choose a favorite. I admire this one so much because of the way it shines a bright light on a single, easily forgotten moment between Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese on a baseball field in Cincinnati, Ohio. Teammates is a celebration of baseball, friendship, and the power of doing what's right.

Big Rabbit's Bad Mood by Ramona Badescu, illustrated by Delphine Durand

A bad mood can suck the funny right out of you. But Big Rabbit's bad mood is personified. It's a character. A hilariously nasty one. Isn't that brilliant? This book is that rarest of things--one that is really funny to read and brilliantly illustrated.

Thanks Audrey!

Audrey Vernick is the author of IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? and SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY, both to be published by HarperCollins this year. She is a two-time recipient of the New Jersey Arts Council's Fiction Fellowship and a lover of picture books. You can visit her online at


bermudaonion said...

I'm pretty sure Vance had Teammates, but the other books are new to me. My copies of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? should be here next Monday!!

Zibilee said...

Oh, I love Gorge and Martha! That's one I but for every child I know!

Daniel said...

I really like the illustrations in "Big Rabbit's Bad Mood". They are very french style...

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Great picks! The only book I've read and immediately reminds me of childhood if George and Martha... good times... :D

Tom Lichtenheld said...

Hi Tom Lichtenheld here, illustrator of Shark vs. Train. Thank you for recommending our book!

Alison said...

I love Roxaboxen. I used to live in Yuma - the town where it's set. I've driven right by the place where the big hill used to be. I met the author when I was about 8. I should buy Roxaboxen...I own other books by Alice M, but not that one.

Shelley said...

I write for grownups, not little ones, but I remember clearly that George and Martha were one of the few children's books I read to my daughter that didn't bore me to death.

Andi said...

I do love a good picture book, and I haven't read ANY of these! What a treasure of a post. Can't wait to try some out.