Picture Book Tour: Excellent “E” Authors

We’re moving right along in our picture book tour! While the “E” sections of the libraries that we frequent contain fewer titles, they are home to some heavy hitters! My bookworms and I have been kept quite busy with the eight authors I’m recommending.  We’ve revisited so many books that were storytime winners with my library students.

Excellent “E” Authors

Eastman, P.D. (toddler, preschool, early reader) Not to be confused with Dr. Seuss… they’re not the same person. P.D. Eastman is not a pseudonym. Eastman was a protege of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and wrote under the Dr. Seuss brand of Random House. This is why you’ll see the Cat in the Hat emblem on many of his books.

Seuss is not P.D. Eastman

Eastman and Geisel DID know each other, serving in the army on the same unit; Geisel would later invite Eastman to write for his “Beginner Books” series. (Further complicating the whole pen name confusion, Theodor Geisel/Dr. Seuss also wrote under the pen name Theo LeSeig when others illustrated his words.) Anyhow, I actually prefer Eastman’s early reader books to the great Seuss; my pre-reader Bookworms also enjoy reading Eastman’s books. Our favorites: Go, Dog, Go; Sam and the Firefly; The Alphabet Book; Are You My Mother? 

Ehlert, Lois. (baby, toddler, preschool, early elem) I have so many memories of reading Ehlert books with my students, and now with my own bookworms. Her bright, bold illustrations and (many) nature themed stories are just the ticket for the youngest bookworms. She expertly introduces concepts to young readers (colors, shapes, following flowers from seed to bloom; caterpillar to butterfly; leaf types; and the diversity of edible plants), blending facts with eye catching illustrations and layers of information for older readers (many books include diagrams, labeled pictures, and appendices with further info). Our favorites: Planting a Rainbow; Waiting for Wings; Leaf Man; Color Zoo (winner of the Caldecott Honor); and Snowballs. My booklist Eat These Up: Picture Books for Picky Eaters includes Ehlert’s Growing Vegetable Soup and Eating the Alphabet.

Emberley, Ed., Barbara, and Rebecca. (early-late elementary) Quite the talented family– husband Ed, wife Barbara, and daughter Rebecca’s books can all be found in the “E” shelves of the children’s section. Barbara & Ed teamed up to produce two Caldecott titles in the 60s, One Wide River to Cross, and Drummer Hoff. These weren’t huge hits in our home but were worth a read through to enjoy the rhyme & rhythm of the text and exposure to a different illustration style (woodcuts). (Although Preschool Bookworm found Drummer Hoff a few weeks after we initially read it and said, “Oh, mommy would you read Drummer Hoff fired it off?” so clearly it made an impression!)

Ed is also famous for his drawing books which would be most suitable for mid-older elementary kiddos. These have been around for decades and are still big sellers!

Rebecca has teamed up with her father to create folktale/song retellings:  The Red Hen, Chicken Little, The Itsy Bitsy Spider. She has also created a bilingual (Spanish/English) series which are nicely illustrated word books: My Food/Mi Comida; My Garden/Mi Jardin; My Big Book of Spanish Words.

Ernst, Lisa Campbell. (older preschool-mid elementary) Some of my favorite early elementary read alouds were penned by Lisa Campbell Ernst. The Gingerbread Girl, Goldilocks Returns, Stella Louella’s Runaway Book, and Little Red Riding Hood: a Newfangled Prairie Tale are among my list of treasured read aloud titles that I pulled out year after year with my students. Her stories are fun, creative, and keep kids engaged! Her many twists on traditional tales make for great extensions– compare/contrast, prediction.

Ellis, Carson. (toddler-early elementary) One of year’s four Caldecott Honor books was Ellis’ Du Iz Tak? This book has earned a special place in our home as my 2yo Toddler Bookworm finds it hilarious to yell out various phrases, to the great entertainment of all who hear. What makes this more humorous is that the book is not in English but in an invented bug-language. I shared this with my storytime group of 3-5yo and they were simultaneously perplexed by what I was saying to them (quite a few sideways glances came my way) and captivated by the story unfolding through the illustrations. It was immediately snatched up upon the final page with requests for repeat readings. I think it’s a brilliant book, masterfully crafted by Ellis to provide a whimsical look at the natural world; with emotional highs and lows, it follows the cycle of seasons, growth, transformation, predator-prey cycle of life, and regeneration– all within a square foot of dirt. Ellis’s only other picture book to date is Home, another one to pore over. She is also the illustrator of many bestsellers– the Mysterious Benedict Society and Wildwood Chronicles chapter book series, a Cynthia Rylant mythology compilation, and even a Lemony Snicket book.

Elliott, David. (preschool-early elementary) I’m always on the lookout for poetry books that keep the attention of my very young bookworms. David Elliott’s books have done the job! We have enjoyed the pairing of Elliott’s nature themed poetry with the colorful illustrations of Holly Meade (who herself won a Caldecott Honor for Hush! A Thai Lullaby). Look for In the Wild, On the Farm, and In the Sea.

For a printable list to take to your library or bookstore, click here

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Books mentioned in this post should be readily available at your library, or at the affiliate links provided. Thanks for supporting the blog if you choose to purchase!

For a listing of all the stops on our tour, check out the index page here.




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