I think it goes without saying that I read picture books more regularly now than I have the last *cough cough* years. There are many good ones, many great ones and about a billion that I've never read (and probably never will). But I thought I'd list some current favorites from the ones that I HAVE read, ones that meet the Speck's exacting standards of quality.
(And here I must disclose that all of these favorites have recently been almost entirely preempted by any Richard Scarry book featuring vehicles.)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Of COURSE. We've read this since he was a very tiny baby and "hush" was one of his first words. Now he likes to find the mouse, the moon, the fire and the elephant on the shelf. On a similar Margaret Wise Brown note, he also loves Big Red Barn (so many animals!) but I CAN'T recommend her The Dead Bird, except as a point of curiosity because, well, it is certainly curious.
The Boss Baby and Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
I found Boss Baby at the library one day and proceeded to check out all of her other original books (she also illustrates other books). The Boss Baby is hilarious in its accuracy and its illustrations. If you ask Monsieur Speck what a Boss Baby says, he will tell you with gusto. As for Roller Coaster, well, let's just say we all have that book REALLY well memorized. It's fun, with lively illustrations that tell their own stories. I've read this book many times in a single day.
Flip, Flap, Fly! by Phyllis Root
Just a sweet little book with lots of mamas and babies of all kinds. I love the illustrations by David Walker and it reminds me of a book I read a lot as a kid, Over in the Meadow.
Everything by Sandra Boynton
Granted, we have not actually READ everything by Sandra Boynton, but I think I can safely list it thusly. They are so funny and engaging and brief in the best way (pet peeve: opening a picture book and finding too many dang words). Particular favorites have been 15 Animals, Moo, Baa, La La La, and Happy Hippo, Angry Duck. But really just all of them.
Everything by John Butler
Granted, we have not actually READ everything by John Butler (another illustrator and author/illustrator), but I think his books are so charming and gentle. Again, lovely illustrations with just enough words and plenty of animal noises to imitate. Bonus: they are perfect for bedtimes. Particular favorites are Can You Growl Like a Bear?, Can You Cuddle Like a Koala?, and While You Were Sleeping.
My Lucky Little Dragon and We Belong Together by Joyce Wan
Okay, okay, I admit that I think I love We Belong Together more than anyone else just because it's so CUTE, but they are both winners. Can you tell we like animal books? There is a reason why Mr. Speck knows so many animal noises and it is mostly from books like this.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
Confession: I have been reading this book for well over a year and yet couldn't get the title right without searching for it. Drewbles always reads the title when he reads...maybe he is on to something. Anyhoo, this is one Drew picked out from his own childhood and I had never read it before. It's fun and funny and I love all the details in the illustrations.
BabyLit and Cozy Classics
I'm listing these together because they both present classic literature broken down to a handful of simple terms. BabyLit has themes, for example their Anna Karenina is a "fashion primer" and Alice in Wonderland is colors. Cozy Classics is geared more toward the story, but still does so with terms. I like both and even with similar purposes they're very different. I'm not going to explain, you just have to look for yourselves! I recommend Moby Dick, from either series.
It's hard to make a complete list of favorites because there have been so many and it's hard to remember them all when you don't see them at the library for a long time. Needless to say, this list is not all encompassing, but it's a fun snapshot of what we've liked so far. Who knows what new favorites the Poppy will find? Or maybe we'll just proceed directly to Richard Scarry.
(Seriously, he is obsessed with Cars, Trucks and Things That Go. He points out every car, truck, tractor, train, boat and "uh oh".)
(It's super cute.)
(Especially now that he is finding motorcycles and calling them "goyogoyos.")
(Remember when I worried about having a boy baby? Hahahahahaha.)