I cannot remember more than a dozen or so picture books from my childhood, in fact I think that was probably all there ever were in the rotation. That this never became tedious is testament to the sort of literary magic that some of us never really outgrow: Sure, we always know what’s going to happen in the end, but we can’t quite believe how we got there.
Now in this age of picture book plenty, with titles available from Norway and New Zealand, from yesterday and fifty years ago, for as little as a penny plus the cost of delivery, it can be tempting to want to visit every one of these exotic destinations, and yet I think it’s still possible to limit our itinerary and the kids will be all right. Maybe better than all right: Curious. Independent. With a sense of humor not inhibited by reflexive pieties, and an attention span worthy of their position in the evolutionary chain. Nostalgic, a little weepy perhaps, but most of all possessing an appreciation for the larger, mysterious story unfolding all around them, and the determination to carve out stories of their own.
There are no Best Books, only books you would personally rescue from a flood. The books piled right represent an admittedly impulsive selection, for today and tomorrow and a thousand rainy mornings to come.