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January 3, 2011

2010 Wrap: Books, Part 1

I wrote about most of my favorite kids' books of 2010 in individual posts during the year, of course, and especially in this category, a true "best of" list would for the most part just echo those posts directly. So instead, I'm going to mention some of the trends I saw during the year in my and my kids' reading, which will allow me to give nods to both books I've covered in the blog and ones I've missed or not gotten around to yet.

And since I haven't been posting nearly as often as I'd like of late, and this post will probably get long enough that writing it will put things off another few days otherwise, I'm also going to break it up into multiple posts.

So, first off: As has been common in recent years, many of the most brilliant and revelatory picture books of the year were either nearly or entirely wordless. In some cases, the focus on image and imagination was the explicit point (David Wiesner's Art & MaxSuzy Lee's Shadow); in others, it was just a remarkably effective way of telling the story (Elisha Cooper's Beaver Is Lost and even his somewhat wordier Farm; Bill Thomson's Chalk; Lane Smith's It's a Book). All of them demonstrate one of the lessons Pixar—and Charlie Chaplin, for that matter—have been teaching creators of kids' entertainment for years now: Sometimes, a great idea told entirely through images is the best storytelling there is.

Tomorrow: What Rick Riordan hath wrought.

[Images courtesy of Chronicle Books (Shadow) and Macmillan (It's a Book)]

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