Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Popular Picture Books (or They Tell Me What They Want, What They Really Really Want*)

*With apologies to the Spice Girls

Tip of the Day: Chilled, sweet NYS Finger Lakes wines are delicious treats for summer writing nights on the porch. My recommendation? Red Cat.

I love working the Reference Desk in the Children's Center at my library. Watching kids get so excited about books is encouraging and energizing! I know this blog's focus is on YA and MG work, but with my recent picture book dabbling, I have to do a post on The Most Asked For Picture Book Topics.

So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Cars and trucks (I like TRUCK STUCK)

2. Trains, specifically Thomas the Tank Engine (I like ALL ABOARD THE DINO TRAIN)

3. Sesame Street, specifically Elmo (most of ours are board books)

4. Faries (we have a lot of chapter books on them, less picture books)

5. Princesses, often Disney princesses (Barbie works, too)

6. Dinosaurs (Jane Yolen's a winner here)

7. Earthmovers, cranes, construction vehicles (The McMullans's I'M DIRTY and I STINK are hugely popular. I'M BAD fits the dino category.)

8. Airplanes (Nina Crews is good for this)

9. Well-known characters, specifically the Berenstein Bears, Curious George, Clifford

10. Dr. Seuss, specifically anything

...and parents often ask for...

11. A new baby coming into the home

12. Potty training (MY BIG BOY/GIRL POTTY)

I know that publishers don't like to have too many competing subjects on their lists or backlists, but man, we buy every picture book involving dinos that comes out -- we can never have enough! The new books that come out on these topics are ALWAYS checked out for AT LEAST A YEAR before we can get our hands on them to give requesting patrons.

Non-fiction books on these subjects are good, too, especially the ones on construction vehicles, trains, etc, for the little kids (ages 5 and under).

What picture books are popular in your homes/families/libraries/book stores?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Alissa said...

I used to work in the children's department of a library, and would agree with all the subjects you listed. We had an overwhelming amount of divisions/sections for sorting picture books. The superheroes section was almost always empty. Spider-Man especially, is big with the younger set. By far the favorite holiday (year round) is Halloween. Another popular category was "I Spy" where we kept not only original "I Spy" books but anything similar like Where's Waldo and Look Alikes.

DeenaML said...

Yes! Someone just asked for I SPY this morning. And superheroes definitely! We actually have a J Comic section now and Superman and Spiderman are out ALL the time.

Kristina Springer said...

Good list! The level one readers are big with my 6-yr old. Also, they like anything I Spy, Arthur, Strawberry Shortcake, super heroes etc. When they were tiny it was the trucks and dinos and princesses etc.

Kate Fall said...

OMG, I know everything about dinosaurs now. I could work in a museum. We like the poetry books on dinosaurs. Jack Prelutsky has an awesome one. Also, a book called DINOTHESAURUS just came out that's almost as good.

But in my house, nothing beats Scaredy Squirrel. And anything by Mo Willems.

DeenaML said...

Oh yes! Scaredy Squirrel is big, but no one asks for him. And we have DINOTHESAURUS! I love it! The character books, too, like Strawberry Shortcake are popular.

Liz said...

You forgot Mother Goose! Always a good one, and they come in board book versions. Helen Oxenbury (sp?) -- and my kids loved one called "Each Peach Pear Plum," by someone ... can't remember who! And tehre are the books by Kevin Henkes, too, especially "Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse." We're now having fun buying books for two new babies in the family, and my girls pick out the ones they loved, plus ones that just catch their fancy. Our most recent pick, for the 8-month-old: What I Love About You. It's a board book, completely suitable for little Emery. I keep picturing his mom cuddling with him and reading this sweet, playful love letter that tells Mr. Round-headed boy why he is so utterly irresistible. The book is, too.

Christina Farley said...

This is interesting. My boys love, love non fiction. They like to learn how things work and all about animals. But then they are boys. They like fiction too but their favorites are silly books. They do like well written ones too like The Big Hungry Bear, The Paper Boy and Where Would I Be types of books.