Let's cover every age group, shall we?
"Now the series is whole and I love it. This is just all the things I love: high, epic fantasy; heart-wrenching battles; life-changing choices; and just plain awesomeness (I know, I'm getting so technical)." (see the rest of my original review)
This was a bit of a tough choice. I didn't read a lot of teen this year, but what I did read was all for my own personal enjoyment. So you'd think I'd have a clear winner. Well, yes, here we have Beauty of Darkness which wrapped up the Remnant Chronicles Trilogy in such a beautiful way. But then there was Calamity which wrapped up its own trilogy, The Reckoners, in a total kick-but, high-action sci-fi way. It was a close call. But fantasy wins my heart. So thank you, Mary Pearson, for a fantastic trilogy. (Still highly recommend The Reckoners of course).
"I laughed, I cried, I loved this book. The depth of story, what with the look into labor laws and inequality between classes, was heartbreaking and well-researched. And yet, the touch of romance, the humor, the love between family just made it so heartwarming, too." (See my original review)
I gave one 5-star rating to a middle-grade novel this year. Just one. (Methinks I'm getting a bit tougher on the whole perfect five stars thing). It was for Disenchanted, which was a total personal favorite. A perfect sequel to Grounded (which also got five stars). What can I say? I love a good fairytale retelling. BUT that's not to say there weren't other (many) notable middle-grades that I read. I did love book four in the Lockhart & Co series, Creeping Shadow (book 3, The Hollow Boy, getting the favorite win last year). And then, for a standalone novel (I know, finally) that was WAY outside my comfort zone...Wolf Hollow. Ouch, that book was a doozy and elicited one of my most commented-on reviews. But it still lingers with me, which is how I know it was a good one. Ah! So many good books, so little time....
Chapter Book Favorite
"Oh my, I just want to hug this book and eat some waffles—so, so funny! This beginner graphic novel is a perfect introduction into illustrative storytelling." (See my original review)
I had a tough time with chapter books this year (like I do most every year). So, for the win, I selected one that is a bit of a stretch. This winner is a beginning chapter book, perfect for younger readers. Plus, being a graphic novel, it's even easier. But it was just so clever and the characters so well done...It had to get some spotlight. If you want one on the very upper end of the chapter book spectrum, then I'd pick Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, which was just so delightfully creepy. Another great one for all ages of kids: Animal Planet's Animal Atlas. So well done.
Early Reader Favorite
Dan Santat, Mo Willems
"Pure GENIUS. Yes, I know, I'm already a huge fan of both Mo Willems and Dan Santat so I'm extremely biased but really that just means I had higher expectations so when it totally and completely met those expectations then you better bet your socks I'm going to say it's GENIUS. Like, run-on-sentences-excited genius." (See my original review)
What do you get when you combine two of my most favorite children's authors? The winner of all winners: The Cookie Fiasco. I mean, come on: Mo Willems (with my beloved, beloved Elephant & Piggie) combined with all the awesome humor and illustrative talent of Dan Santat? Yeah, I don't think there was any way that I was going to not love this book, thank you very much. Easy pick, right here.
Picture Book Favorite
"Um, it's perfect. I'm in love with this barnacle. I will sing this book's praises forever more. Seriously." (See my original review)
A picture book that also makes for a great early reader, a perfect readaloud, and some awesome humor...it was a match made in heaven. I do love Fenske's work and his newest did not disappoint. It was my one five-star picture book of the year and totally rocks my socks. Still, I had some other close favorites, such as Pug Meets Pig, King Baby, There is a Tribe of Kids, A Hungry Lion (or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals), Are We There Yet?....okay, so there were a lot of close favorites.
Board Book Favorite
Ruth Spiro, Irene Chan
"I don't know that I've ever been as impressed with a board book as I am with this one. No, it doesn't quite appeal to my normal cheesy humor...but MAN does it explain nuclear physics on the perfect level for young toddlers!" (See my original review)
What, with a one-year-old running my house, it only seems fair that I add a board book winner for the first time this year. And this one was a definite favorite all around. I mean, if you want to brush up on your nuclear physics, this is the book for you. I'm really looking forward to what this team will be publishing in the future.
And so we kick off a new year with even more new and exciting books! If only I could just sit and read all day (as the one-year-old calls for my attention even now)... Ah well, here's to nap time!
So what were your favorite books in 2016?