As editor and founder of CCBR, I get to start :) And my top pick is A Good Day by Kevin Henkes. In just 118 words, Henkes (a Caldecott Medal winner) tells a tale that begins with the words: "It was a bad day."
We learn that a yellow bird, a white dog, an orange fox, and a brown squirrel are all experiencing disappointments and frustrations in their life. For example, the fox turns around, and his mother is missing, while the squirrel accidentally drops her nut in the river. "But then," the author tells us, blessings, patience, and perseverance turn the day around. Best of all, we learn that the very thing that was spoiling the day, unexpectedly made things much brighter for someone else.
The implied moral is that it's our attitude that will allow us to see life's frustrations in a more positive light. For Christians, this also means learning to recognize life's setbacks as God-given moments that may teach us something great.
What I Like: There is much to love about this book. The story is told in simple words, yet the message is crystal clear. Too, there are the fabulous illustrations (also by Henkes), which remind me of vividly colored woodcuts from the 19th century. (To see a sample of the book's illustrations, check out this New York Times book review.) My 22 month old loves this book, and spends a lot of time examining the detailed illustrations.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: Infant - preschool.
Publishing Info: Greenwillow , 2007; ISBN: 006114018X ; hard back, $16.99.
Special Info: You may wish to visit Kevin Henkes' website.