The Best Picture Books of 2013

Here are our top ten picks for best picture books from the past year, voted for and loved by Readings staff. Displayed here in no particular order.

Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Mr Tiger is living the civilised life but he is yearning to walk on the wild side! He heads back to nature but he misses his friends and they miss him. On his return, Mr Tiger finds they have succumbed to a little wildness themselves. Wonderful illustrations make this a great gift for ages 3 and up.

– Alexa Dretzke

Banjo and Ruby Red by Libby Gleeson & illustrated by Freya Blackwood

From an established pairing comes another beautiful story about an unlikely friendship between a farm dog and a chicken. Freya Blackwood creates movement and pathos while Libby Gleeson’s words are perfectly restrained – art and text in total harmony. I love the quarter cloth binding and the story has been a hit with the pre-schoolers at Readings’ Story Time.

– Emily Gale

Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty & illustrated by David Roberts

A rhyming story with a message for today’s children who are constantly told they can do it … Well, sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, but ‘The only true failure can come if you quit.’ Rosie’s gadgets, built out of dolls’ heads, skateboards and hula-hoops, don’t always work, but she learns that every attempt is worthwhile.

– Emily Gale

My Superhero by Chris Owen & illustrated by Moira Court

This clever rhyming picture book celebrates the special powers of superheroes, as well as acknowledging the real heroics fathers perform every day. With plenty of repetitive sound effects – Kaboom! Kapow! Kersplat! – this is a fun story that makes dads feel pretty super too!

– Angela Crocombe

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors?: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Gorgeous illustrations and sparkling text vividly bring to life a story that could have been solely educational. America’s first female doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, is far from boring and her journey will thrill and inspire readers in equal measure. A wonderful story, suitable for ages 4 to 7.

– Angela Crocombe

On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne & illustrated by Vladimir Radunksy

Quirky illustrations and wonderful prose celebrate the extraordinary mind of Albert Einstein, a dreamer who maintained his childlike curiosity into adulthood and, as a result, revolutionised the way we think about the universe. I can think of no better book to entertain and inspire the genius in every child.

– Athina Clarke

I Wish I Had… by Giovanna Zoboli & illustrated by Simona Mulazzani

Have you ever wished for the stealth of a tiger, the dexterity of a lemur, or the speed of a hare? This deceptively simple picture book, with its naïve illustrations and sparse prose, is a celebration of the wonder of every child’s imagination. There’s a wealth of exploration and delight to be had here for any pre-schooler.

– Athina Clarke

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean

A family has moved from the city to a vacant block in the country and it is here that they will build their new house. Following the family as foundations are laid, frames are assembled and moving-in parties are thrown, this is a fun book about family and building something special together. For ages 3 and up.

– Katherine Dretzke

Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester

A lovely picture book to give to a new baby or share with a pre-schooler, this poem celebrates a young child’s life and the beauty of the natural world. Colourful, lyrical and full of loving detail, it must be one of our Children’s Laureate Alison Lester’s most inspired books. Sheer magic!

– Kathy Kozlowski

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Duncan’s crayons have decided it’s time to air their grievances and each of them has written him a letter demanding that he make amends – some are worn out, some want more glory and others are fighting among themselves! A very funny picture book with fantastic illustrations.

– Kim Gruschow

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Cover image for Kissed by the Moon

Kissed by the Moon

Alison Lester

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