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 & Max, Suzy 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)]