Children’s Books I Love

This page features children’s books–mostly picture books–that I love for a variety of reasons. They are by authors and illustrators who I feel are masters in their craft, and I’ve learned different skills and elements that make a story exceptional.



PieElfOne day the people who live with Elmer, who was a little elf, baked a blueberry pie. The minute Elmer had a chance he jumped right into that rich, melting pie and ate till his elfin stomach bulged. It was delicious, and Elmer wanted another one right away. But nobody can see an elf, or hear an elf, or feel an elf, so none of his people knew he was trying to tell them something.

Then, when Elmer was unhappily sampling cherry pie, he had an inspiration! But, dear reader, we can’t give the ending away. Let’s just say that Elmer’s ingenious solution satisfied his craving for blueberry pie and, being a polite elf, he thanked his people.

Elmer has been the most appealing and industrious elf around for nearly fifty years, and he’ll continue to delight children for generations to come. Seymour Fleishman’s charming illustrations transform our familiar household world into the tiny world of elves.(from

The Grouchy Ladybug ladybug

The Grouchy Ladybug, 1977
A grouchy ladybug who is looking for a fight challenges everyone it meets regardless of their size or strength. How this bumptious bug gets its comeuppance and learns the pleasures to be gained by cheerfulness and good manners is an amusing lesson in social behavior. Die-cut pages add drama and dimension. (from the Eric Carle official website)


streganonaStrega Nona: An Original TaleIN PRINT “Strega Nona – ‘Grandma Witch’ – is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results. In this Caldecott Honor-winning 1975 children’s classic, author-illustrator Tomie dePaola (whose middle name is Anthony) combines humor and warmth in his retelling of an old tale.” (Ages 4-8) 1975/2015 (from the Tomie DePaola website)