Notable Children’s Picture Books From 2012


Or perhaps this post should be called the books I noticed and loved in 2012, as this is definitely not an all-inclusive list of the great books that came out last year. Whatever the title, I feel it necessary and enjoyable to point out a few of my favorite children’s books that 2012 offered. Some I’ve reviewed and will link to, and a couple others I intend on reviewing more in depth in the next few weeks. So here we go – 15 books to enjoy from 2012.


1. The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell

A great monster book in the vein of the famous Frankenstein tale. A group of naughty little monsters endeavor to create the monster of all monsters; but are surprised when he doesn’t act exactly like they intended. Here’s my full review.

2. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Delightful wintery tale about a special, endless box of yarn; a generous, knitting little girl; and an evil, greedy archduke who tries to steal it away. Check out my full review.

3. Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

This book has recently stolen my heart. A story about a little black bear and its mama who helps introduce the baby bear to the world around and its many colors. A truly beautiful, poetic, and simple book. Read my new review.

4. Oh, No! by Candace Fleming & Eric Rohman

Clever and fun book about a series of jungle animals who fall into a deep hole and nearly get caught by an observing tiger. I’ve heard many parents talk about their kids loving this book too.

5. Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Brand new book from the unpublished archives of the famous Berenstain Bear creators. This story follows a South Pole penguin who attempts to document marvelous occurrences about his day, but ends up being oblivious to the dangerous events he barely escapes. This is a very fun read with a unique twist with the text telling one story while the images show a much different view of what’s happening.


6. Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Interesting book about the color green (my favorite!). Seeger uses painted textured images, simple rhyming text, and strategically placed die-cuts to weave a subtle story about the many shades of green.

7. Alice in Wonderland: A Colors Primer by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Alison Oliver

A fun little board book by a clever duo who are turning classics into hilarious learning stories. This particular one uses the beloved Alice in Wonderland adventure and gorgeously illustrates colors like “the white rabbit,” “blue caterpillar” and a “yellow teapot.” Love this series! Be on the lookout for the others including my favorite from 2011, Pride & Prejudice: A Counting Primer, as well as their newest ones coming in February 2013; Sense & Sensibility: An Opposites Primer, Moby-Dick: An Ocean Primer and more. (See more of this book in my review!)

8. The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska

The special Christmas edition from the talented creators of The Quiet Book and The Loud Book. This book simply celebrates all the special quiet moments of Christmas like “mistletoe quiet,” “gingerbread quiet,” and “snow angel quiet” with breathtaking illustrations by Canadian illustrator, Renata Liwska. This book was included in my 25 Days of Christmas books series.

9. And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Another beautiful creation by the ever-so-talented (and 2011 Caldecott winner), Erin Stead. She actually had 2 books come out in 2012, this one accompanying Fogliano’s simple story about waiting and preparing for the coming of spring when everything changes from brown to green. The other new book, Bear Has a Story to Tell, is written by her husband Philip Stead, and is also lovely and worth admiring. See more of this book in my review.

10. One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small

Another penguin tale that arrived in 2012 is this humorous story about a proper young boy named Elliot and his newly acquired pet, a penguin named Magellan.


11. Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

This book may just take the cake for funniest book of 2012, at least for me, but I’m more than a little biased in my love for moose protagonists. You wouldn’t think there would be a new take on an alphabet book; but this nails it with a fun lineup of animals, a zebra in charge of it all, and a moose who wreaks havoc. If you don’t take any of my other recommendations, read this one. Your laughter is guaranteed.

12. This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Did I mention I have a fondness for moose? Oliver Jeffers is at it again with this curious tale about a boy who thinks he owns a moose, but can’t get it through to the moose, or anyone else for that matter. This time Jeffers combines his clever illustration style with some old-school landscape portraits by classic artist Alexander Dzigurski. Hop over here for my full review.

13. Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Ok, I may change my vote on funniest book with this one. But it is a tough call. The ever humorous and lovable Mo Willems has reinvented the classic tale of precocious Goldilocks as she finds herself in the wrong house, with the wrong animal family, and perhaps even in the wrong place at the wrong time! Hilarious from cover to cover.

14. The Hueys in The New Sweater by Oliver Jeffers

Jeffers was a busy guy putting out this book as well. And so begins his new series with some naive creatures called the Hueys who look alike, act alike and are completely alike—until one knits himself a sweater.

15. The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Perhaps the simplest book on my list, but definitely not last for a reason. This little board book gem is charming. Illustrator Julie Morstad has created some lovely images to accompany one of Stevenson’s poems about the epitome of childhood — the swing. I love this book dearly, and in fact, already have the poem memorized from so many rereads. Although it is a board book, I think all ages would adore this celebration of the beloved swing.

Well, there it is, my memorable 2012 book finds. I’m sure I have missed so many more from the year, but I’ll discover them yet. Hope this gives you a few new reads as well!

2 thoughts on “Notable Children’s Picture Books From 2012

  1. Ok, now that we’ve read some of these here is what I thought:
    LOVE: Extra Yarn, Baby Bear Sees Blue, Z is for Moose, Swing, and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.

    We haven’t read them all yet. We LOVE your recommendations. I told my mom about your blog. She teaches a children’s lit class. I hope she stops by. Your blog will save her a lot of time because you really nail the great books.


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