Entertaining Them

Bear juggles orange pear_int

A recent post on Motherlode posed this question: What’s your desert island picture book? Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project was decisive; she’d bring Where the Wild Things Are. KJ Dell’Antonia was more equivocal. She landed on Pooh—or maybe Kipling, if she could stretch beyond the bounds of picture books.

This is, to me, an impossible question to answer. I am such a huge fan of picture books that it may not be a stretch to call picture books my favorite genre. I really couldn’t narrow things down to one book.

I have on the counter to go out in the mail a new baby gift of two picture books I consider must-have’s, one old-school and one completely current choice. The classic is Ezra Jack Keats’ 1969 book, Goggles. Now, it’s possible that the “best” EJK book is The Snowy Day. That’s certainly the most famous one, which is precisely why I opted to give a different one as a gift, assuming the chances were high that my friend will receive the classic EJK offering. I could have opted for Whistle for Willie, too, but again, I thought the chances were higher she’d already have it. The second book I’m sending is by a completely contemporary author/illustrator Emily Gravett. Her work is gentle and beautiful and my friend is an artist, so I chose both books with her artist self firmly in mind. The one I chose is Orange Pear Apple Bear, because I so enjoy it with my daughter. At four-plus, she has begun to “read” it to me these days.

Often, when I give baby gifts, I go by themes, the way I did with this duo—two books, one older, one newer, a new parent/artist must have to enjoy with her babe. I’ve chosen books about New York City for Manhattanite parents or music or food or particularly funny books for my comic writer cousin’s first baby. It’s fun to seek out favorites this way.

Momfilter readers: what’s your desert island picture book? I am deeply curious!

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a writer, whose work appears in the ebook anthology Welcome to My WorldBrain Child Magazine & the Huffington Post, Babble & Bamboo Magazine amongst others. She does some blogging for Teen Life and keeps her own blog—Standing in the Shadows—at the Valley Advocate. She and her dear husband are raising four children and enduring a great deal of chaos in the relatively sleepless process.


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Comments (2)


  1. Posted by: Amy

    “A Sick Day for Amos McGee” about a gentle zookeeper who has to stay home sick, so his animal friends come to visit him at home. Beautiful illustrations and a lovely story.

  2. Although I will want to come back and change my answer again and again and again, I will go with my gut: One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey.

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