Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving

The prompt this week for Top 10 Tuesday is Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving. The prompt goes on to add, "those covers or titles that don't fit the books, a book that was totally different than its summary, or those books you thought were going to be fluff that turned out to be more serious etc etc."    

I want to take a second look at books that are defined as children's picture books. Often people think of children's picture books as simplistic, with controlled vocabularies, and overly-rosy views of the world.

That can be true.

It is not true of the best of children's picture books. The best children's picture books are small poems that ponder all the big issues of life, with illustrations that add to the thoughtfulness of the poems. 

I will go so far as to say that the best children's picture books are...gulp...Literature.

Here are some you might consider reading again. And again. And sharing with a child. Or even another grownup....

Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski
(or Tacky the Penguin
or Chrysanthemum or a dozen other books 
about children...or grownups...who don't feel like they fit in...)
Woolbur refuses to go along with the rest of the flock....

That's Good! That's Bad! by Margery Cuyler
A boy is lifted up into the sky by his balloon.
That's good, right?
Or is it bad?

Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis
Do you think you are in love?
Take a look at this little story....

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
I seem to love this story about a beautiful little house
that falls into disrepair with age
more and more as I grow older....

Window by Jeannie Baker
Here's another Jeannie Baker book
that you can only really appreciate, I think,
as an adult....

Rotten Island by William Steig
You must read this picture book.
Or any other William Steig book.

Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
Another fabulous author.
Chris Van Allsburg is a philosopher.
In the disguise of a children's picture book author.

Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks
Yet another author that you must try...

Terrific by Jon Agee
Jon Agee knows human nature....

Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka
Anything Chris Raschka.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
I've always loved William Joyce's books.
He's apparently been puttering around with movies
for a while and taking a break from books,
but now he's back with a book/movie,
an iPad book app that is...well, fantastic.

I could go on and on with this list, and I probably will on another day. 

Do you have titles for this list?

What did you do with this prompt? Where did it take you?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.


  1. I like that you themed this on children's picture books! I don't read many but I did when I was younger and my mum's a primary school teacher so I am exposed to quite a few! I would love to give Jumanji a try!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier! x

  2. Children's books are probably the most deceiving.

  3. Love this post! Rotten Island has always been one of my favorites!!

    The Butter Battle Book, the Paper Bag Princess and Miss Rumphius are some others that I can think off the top of my head that definitely have things to say to the adults reading them too.

  4. Loving your list. That's Good! That's Bad! by Margery Cuyler is great for teaching cause and effect. :)

  5. I completely agree with Jumanji! It's definitely one of my favorite picture books---forget the whole Brendan Fraiser movie.

    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. I could not agree more with your post! As an elementary school teacher, I read TONS of children's books and many of them are brilliant!!! When I've taught 1st and up, I use Yo! Yes? every year to discuss punctuation and the power of conversation. The writings I get from using that book are always some of the best of the year.

    Some other titles I would add are Paper Bag Princess (an all time fave - I agree with Carissa), Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale, A Bad Case of Stripes, Stellaluna, I could go on and on!!!

  7. What a fantastic list! Love to see this week's top ten mixed up a bit with the children's books.


  8. I love this list!! When I took an Adolescent Lit class in college, we spent a week on picture books. Jumanji was my favorite one from that unit. It was definitely not just for kids.

  9. What a fun post! I was an Arthur and Clifford kind of kid, but maybe I should think of these for my future children! Thanks for the recommendations, and for stopping by my blog today!

    - Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl

  10. I like the theme you chose. Honestly, I haven't read many children's book, even as a child! But I like how you focused it. I think a lot of these kid books have tons and tons of adult themes that can go over a child's head sometimes.

    But very nice!

    Thank you for stopping by!

    -Marybeth P.

  11. Thank you for the suggestions, Erin and Carissa!

  12. I love your take on this list and will be adding these to my TBR.

  13. I LOVE The Little House! SO cute! Great picks! I need to check out Woolbur...it looks adorable! Thanks for stopping by our Top 10 this week!

  14. Loved that they were children's books! You are definitely right, some children's books can be deceiving and some have real meaning in them and are underrated. :) Great TTT.

  15. virigina lee burton's books are such treasures! so many of these are bookstore favorites that i must read someday!

  16. I'm sorry I didn't make hit here yesterday! I LOVE the theme that you chose. I hang around mostly in the YA blogosphere, and people are constantly bemoaning the larger population's misunderstanding of YA lit as real literature--and you're completely right that people do the same thing with picture books! There are so many books for kids that are absolutely wonderful, have depth and meaning that can mean a lot even (and sometimes especially) to adults. Love your choices!

  17. Oh, good choices -- at least, the few I've read are favorites. The Little House will always hold a special place in my heart. Hey, Al is beautiful. We never did buy a copy, but I checked that out and read it to at least one of my kids. Jumanji creeped one of my children so thoroughly that he wouldn't let me read it, again, but the illustrations are amazing (and I liked the story).

    I just read a book that had a deceptive cover: More Like Her by Liza Palmer. The cover is three sets of legs -- it practically screams "CHICK LIT!" And the first 100 pages do read like chick lit, but the prologue warns you that it's going to take a serious turn; it's a 911 call made during a school shooting. Once the shooting occurs, it's about friends helping each other through the trauma. But, it still has that chick lit flavor, even though there are some very heavy scenes and it's so gut-wrenching that I had to keep putting it down to choke back tears. You'd never guess it was going to be such a hard read from the cover.

  18. A great list. It's perhaps crazy to admit it but The Tadpole's Promise made me particularly angry! Window is fantastic and can only be truly appreciated by an adult I think.

  19. Hmmm...I'm wondering about Tadpole's Promise..."never change"...well, that's quite impossible, especially for a tadpole and a caterpillar!


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