The first half of 2018 has been filled with quality picture books. Month after month we have been blown away by the quality, depth and imagination of amazing writers and illustrators. We have read a stack of books from brilliant Australian creators, and some quality books from international authors too. With half the year gone, we thought it was time to sit down and put together our list of the top ten picture books of 2018 (so far)!
Emma and I spent a long time thinking about this list. We had plenty of great books to choose from and, to be honest, some pretty amazing books didn’t make the cut. It was brutal, but eventually we came up with a top ten list that we could both agree on.
As for Hannah, she had her say. We took into account her choices whenever she has the chance to select a book to read. Some of the books on this list are her go-to books, she loves reading them again and again.
Below is our list of the top ten picture books of 2018 so far. They are truly amazing books and well worth having on your child’s bookshelf.
The Top Ten Picture Books of 2018 (so far)
10 – Red House Blue House Green House Tree House – Jane Godwin and Jane Reiseger
Red House Blue House Green House Tree House! edged out some quality picture books to take the tenth spot in our list. The illustrations are engaging and relatable for little readers, and the story helps little people to learn all about colours.
Red House Blue House Green House Tree House appeared in the April Picture Book Roundup.
9 – The Last Peach – Gus Gordon
The Last Peach is a quirky and hilarious picture book. It completely appeals to my sense of humour. Two bugs contemplate the last peach, in an incredibly deep and meaningful way (for bugs). The artwork is fantastic and the clever twist at the end makes the story thoroughly enjoyable.
The Last Peach appeared in the March Picture Book Roundup.
8 – Square – Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Square is the second instalment in Barnett and Klassen’s shape trilogy. It is a beautiful story of misunderstanding, persistence, desperation and triumph. The story is full of wit, and the pictures are highly engaging.
Square appeared in the May Picture Book Roundup.
7 – Thimble – Rebecca Young and Tull Suwannakit
Thimble was one of Emma’s favourite books so far this year. It respectfully and meaningfully introduces children to the concept of losing a loved one. This is an important theme, but one that is rarely addressed with such integrity.
Thimble appeared in the June Picture Book Roundup.
You can find Thimble here.
6 – Kookaburras Love to Laugh – Laura and Philip Bunting
Kookaburras Love to Laugh is another of the quirky books that appeals to my sense of humour. Hannah loves all of the different birds in the book, while I enjoy the wit. Beyond all that, the story contains a profound message about compassion and compromise in relationships.
Kookaburras Love to Laugh appeared in the April Picture Book Roundup.
5 – Goat’s Coat – Tom Percival and Christine Pym
Poor, kind Alfonzo. He is incredibly taken by his new coat, and rightly so – it’s truly majestic! But when strangers are in need of help, Alfonzo selflessly uses parts of his coat to help them out. Goat’s Coat teaches children that kind deeds can quickly turn strangers into friends, and that friends help each other out in times of need. It’s a beautiful story – the world needs more Alfonzos!
Goat’s Coat appeared in the May Picture Book Roundup.
4 – The Lion in Our Living Room – Emma Middleton and Briony Stewart
The Lion in Our Living Room is a glorious celebration of the relationship between fathers and children. It beautifully expresses the absolute joy that can be found in simple imaginative play. As a father, I find The Lion in Our Living Room easy to relate to – Middleton and Stewart have hit the nail on the head.
A special mention goes to their follow-up book – The Bear in Our Backyard.
The Lion in Our Living Room appeared in the January Picture Book Roundup.
3 – Go Go and the Silver Shoes – Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
Hannah loves Go Go. She sits in my lap and repeats each sentence after me. She adores the pictures, especially the ones that have native Australian animals hiding in them.
I have to say that I thoroughly agree with Hannah. It is a beautiful book. Go Go is a wonderful character – full of life, thought and intelligence. The artwork is absolutely beautiful and it captivates me just as much as it does Hannah.
Go Go and the Silver Shoes appeared in the February Picture Book Roundup.
You can find Go Go and the Silver Shoes on the Penguin Website.
2 – There’s A Dragon in Your Book – Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott
Second place in our Top Ten Picture Books of 2018 (so far) goes to another of Hannah’s favourite books. There’s a Dragon in Your Book is chosen by Hannah almost daily. She adores the interactivity of the book, and I tend to agree. It’s amazing to see how engaged a 2 year old can be by one book.
Hannah’s favourite part is when she gets to ‘high five’ the dragon. She lives for it!
There’s A Dragon in Your Book appeared in the May Picture Book Roundup.
1 – The Incredible Freedom Machines – Kirli Saunders and Matt Ottley
Even in this list of ten truly incredible picture books, The Incredible Freedom Machines is a standout. There was little discussion needed for this one – both Emma and I had it as our number one pick.
Kirli Saunders’s words are original and powerful. Matt Ottley’s pictures are intricate and stunning. Together they ignite the imagination and uplift the spirit. If there is one book from this year that everyone should have on their shelves, this is it.
The Incredible Freedom Machines appeared in the May Picture Book Roundup.
You can find The Incredible Freedom Machines here.
A final note
Reviewing picture books has been one of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of Blog of Dad this year. It is a joy to watch Hannah devour new books and begin to form favourites from the many brilliant books that fill her shelves. Picture books inspire her, they enlighten her and they spark language and imagination in ways I could never have dreamt. If I’ve learnt one thing from the past eight months, it’s that toddlers lives should be packed full of great literature!
It’s never too early to immerse children in the literary world, and the earlier you do, the greater the rewards.
Of course, we are only half way through the year. The picture books are still rolling in thick and fast, and we already have some incredible ones that may come close to challenging The Incredible Freedom Machines for top spot by the end of the year. Make sure you keep an eye out for the monthly roundups to find out about all the best new picture books each month. Better yet, subscribe to the Blog of Dad Email or follow me on social media to make sure you never miss a roundup!
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the May 2018 Picture Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.