Here is my first author booklist of 2010. I’ve been getting into the picture books of Alison McGhee, also a novelist, but I can’t say that she’s a brand-new discovery to me since I’ve read some of her books in the past. But the more I read, the more I like.I haven’t read all of them, but almost.


Someday is a song from mother to daughter, a just-this-side-of-sappy verse about all the potential a mother sees in her daughter throughout her life. This is one of those books that you give as a gift for Mothers’ Day or baby showers. I’ve actually given it as a baby shower gift.


Little Boy is sort of a companion to Someday. It celebrates all the things that are great about being a little boy, like playing in boxes and treasuring rocks. It’s a little less precious than Someday, but it’s still a good baby shower gift. For funkier moms-to-be.


So Many Days is advertised as a companion to Someday (which was wildly successful). It was just released a week ago, and it seems to follow her trend of releasing one ode to childhood a year (I still haven’t been able to get my hands on last year’s Always). Of all her books of this type, Little Boy is my favorite. But here she does work with illustrator Taeeun Yoo, and that gives this one a different texture and imagination.


Only a Witch Can Fly is a great read-aloud for younger kids who are still frightened of spookier Halloween stories. The text is very lyrical and soothing, and the story of a little girl who wishes she could fly after trick-or-treating taps into the dreams of most little kids. Taeeun Yoo’s illustrations are gorgeous and slightly dark; definitely a departure from McGhee’s collaborations with Peter H. Reynolds.


Another Halloween story, A Very Brave Witch has a welcome twist. A young witch is terrified of the humans she keeps hearing about (who aren’t even green!), but she gets brave on Halloween and decides to meet them. This is a book I know I read last year and apparently forgot to add to my list.


Countdown to Kindergarten is a very cool story about a little girl counting down the days until kindergarten starts. She goes into full-on panic attack mode while she frantically tries to learn to tie her shoes before school starts. I like all of McGhee’s books with Harry Bliss illustrations.


Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth is the sequel to Countdown to Kindergarten. Now our heroine is starting FIRST grade, and a mean 2nd grader warns her that her new teacher is actually an alien who steals teeth. Not quite as delightful as the first book, but still a crowd-pleaser.


Song of Middle C was released last year, illustrated by Scott Menchin. I really do love the illustrations here, and I love the story. A cool little girl is having her first piano recital. She is completely confident in all her practices, even in the face of her tormenting older brother, but when she gets out on stage…something unexpected happens.