Friday, August 10, 2018

Top 10 on 10 – The picture book fiction edition


Well, I’m back from holidays and what better way to get back into the swing of things but by highlighting some of my favorite picture books.


For the last several years, I’ve participated in the Top 10 on 10 event where bloggers and other types of children’s literature aficionados  recommend their favorites picture books.  It can be a nail biting experience as you try to figure out how to rave about only 10!  count’em 10! books when really you could rave about 100s. But it’s a great exercise and I always come away with so many new (and old) titles that I know will be of interest to the student-teachers who use the Doucette Library.

I decided to focus on a theme and because I’m still in holiday mode decided to highlight mystery and detective stories. I do love mysteries and it’s what I typically read when I’m not working.  The following is my list of books some, new and some oldies-but-goodies which keep me guessing and leave me in awe of remarkable observation and deductive reasoning skills. 

 
Whether you’ve lost a pair of eyeglasses, a cat or a goldfish, Hermelin is on it. A master of observation, he finds all that is lost for those living in his neighbourhood. The gratitude of these neighbours turns to shock and horror when they realize he’s a mouse. All except for one aspiring detective…



Who knew that Fairy Tale Land was a hot-bed of crime? Five classic fairy tales are framed as if a crime has been committed and it’s up to Officer Binky to save the day. Goldilocks is behind bars for breaking and entering. In the case of Hansel and Gretel, killing the witch  was a clear case of self-defense. Humpty Dumpty was pushed and will not be living happily-ever-after. Snow White will no longer have to fear for her life from the evil, vain queen. And figuring out what the real story behind Jack, his beanstalk and the goose who can lay golden eggs is all in a day’s work for Officer Binky.


Pigeon P.I. by Meg McLaren
Another noir-type detective story involving an old-timer and a keen youngster looking to crack the case of missing birds. Did they fly the coop? Or, is there some other nefarious plan about to hatch?





The Strange Case of the Missing Sheep: a thriller by Mircea Catusanu
Apparently, this one was inspired by true events. Ten sheep go missing and it’s up to Doug, the sheep dog to find out where they went.  “Careful” deduction indicates that Wolf living in the Dark Forest is responsible. But as will all good mysteries, things are not what they seem. The twist is – well, you’ll just have to read and find out for yourself. The illustrations are a treat.



Piggins by Jane Yolen
This one falls into the classic category for me. In this case, “the butler did it” refers to the butler solving the mystery of the stolen diamond necklace belonging to his employers. I love the early 1900s vibe and details.






The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base
If you love solving puzzles then this one’s for you. Every page has clues and codes to be figured out. The illustrations are detailed and will give you a run for your money. The answers are provided in the back of the book.

The LaRue dog books, are hilarious! In this caper, LaRue is accused of catnapping a neighbour’s two felines. As he explains to his human who’s on vacation, writing her frequent postcards it’s all a big misunderstanding. It’s up to LaRue to find the cats and perhaps, those responsible for the crime spree that is spreading through town that started the same night the cats went missing. Coincidence? I think not!



I love this noir mystery for the puns it works into the narrative. (See title.) We have an elephant detective who “works for peanuts”, a chanteuse whose “lost her marbles”… you get the idea. This one works through the clues and a list of suspects in a pretty linear way. The black and white illustrations add to the atmosphere of a gritty 30s noir flick.

Ever notice how many picture book mysteries and detective stories feature fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters? Well, this one feels like it’s a bit of a pop quiz. A traveling painter requests that his family return several portraits he’s painted to their owners. There are clues attached to each painting that will help with this task. This one will appeal to kids who really like fairy tales.



The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg.
My last recommendation is not so much a mystery but definitely falls into the category of mysterious. The set-up is an illustrator, Harris Burdick, dropping off a portfolio of his illustrations to a children’s book publisher. It features a single picture from several different stories with only a title and a caption to give us a clue about what’s going on. Each picture has some element of spookiness, creepiness or intrigue. It leaves the reader wanting to know what the stories are about and what happened to Harris Burdick. He never did return to pick up his illustrations.

So, there’s the list for this year. Please check out some of the other blogs and lists for going to 2018 #pb10for10.  You won’t be disappointed.

12 comments:

laurasalas said...

Love this list, as I'm a huge mystery lover (in adult books) and wish there were more picture book mysteries. Adding some of these to my TBR shelf. Thanks!

Jana Eschner said...

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick were very popular in my classroom. Mysteries are so much fun. Thanks for sharing your awesome list!

Mary Lee said...

Great list! I'm bad at mysteries, so I'll be coming back!

Wendy said...

These are great fun. I want to use picture books to introduce genre to my middle schoolers this year, so I'll definitely pull a few of these for "mystery." There is a follow-up to the Harris Burdick book in which different authors each take the challenge of writing a story that fits the picture and the caption. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10508526-the-chronicles-of-harris-burdick?ac=1&from_search=true

Lori Sabo said...

Fun theme! Thanks! Can';t wait to read The STrange Case of the Missing Sheep.

Mary Ann Reilly said...

I appreciate your list as I am making a unit focusing on mysteries and you have such great ones here. Thanks.

Tammy Flanders said...

I'm glad you liked the list, Laura. Tammy

Tammy Flanders said...

Jana, I remember reading Harris Burdick for the first time and being totally blown away. The premise and execution of the illustrations are really amazing. Thanks for stopping by.
Tammy

Tammy Flanders said...

Hi Mary Lee. I'm happy that the list be helpful. Tammy

Tammy Flanders said...

Wendy, I did read the follow up book to Harris Burdick and appreciated what the authors wrote. But I still like the picture book best. Thanks for stopping by. Tammy

Tammy Flanders said...

Hi Lori. I thought the illustrations were the best part of this picture book. Thanks. Tammy

Tammy Flanders said...

Hi Mary Ann. I love the idea of using picture books with older readers. Have fun with your unit. Tammy

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