2014 Phinney Books Gift Guide: Picture Books

One of the real treats of opening a bookstore (especially since our own kids have long aged out of them) is seeing all the new picture books come in: gorgeously drawn, inventively designed, and wittily told. Here are thirteen of our favorites, including one picture book with no pictures at all.

Animalium by Katie Scott and Jenny Broom

"Animalium is reverent towards its subjects, with giant, lush illustrations across the animal kingdom and well-chosen facts that make this the kind of book a curious kid (or grownup) can get lost in for hours at a time." —Tom

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

A book that, apparently, cannot be read aloud without snorts and giggles taking over the toddler audience.

Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli

This sequel to the equally chock-full alphabet book, Alphablock, is an inventive, wonderfully designed counting book like no other.

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

A delicate, wordless tale that reveals what's behind the darkness in reassuring and amusing ways.

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson

"Gaston is a wise tale about identity and belonging, but what really makes it a keeper is its charming humor, its sprightly rhythm, and its Madeline-like insouciance. Highly recommended!" —Tom

I'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

The cover illustration says it all: the jauntily funny tale of an almost completely self-sufficient canine.

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea and Lane Smith

Sheriff Ryan might only be seven years old, and he might know nothing about shootin' and ropin', but he does know a lot about dinosaurs, which proves to be surprisingly important for his new duties in the town of Drywater Gulch.

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

A sweet tale of a tiny, spotted elephant lost in the massive buildings of a big, '30s-style city.

Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet

Tullet's follow-up to the wonderfully conceptual Press Here makes the flat paper pages of his book seem interactive and alive.

The Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup

The art in this one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other collection is wonderfully simple and warmly retro, and the puzzles themselves are just puzzling enough for a young read-along observer to proudly work them out, and enjoy seeing them again and again.

S Is for Salmon by Hannah Viano

Alphabet books are a dime a dozen, but this one, one of our most popular picture books all year, is a lovely introduction to, or reminder of, the riches of our region.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

"The real fun of the book comes from how excruciatingly close Sam and Dave get to not finding treasure after treasure, near-misses your young readers will love to spot the first time around and then anticipate every other time you read it. Which we guess will be a lot." —Tom

Wednesday by Anne Bertier

A simple story of two best friends, Little Round and Big Square, and all the fun their imagination can bring them, even when their differences threaten to divide them.