#pb10for10). Here's the thing: I sat down to make a list of my 10 favorite books and very quickly made a list of four or five favorites. Then I got stuck. The problem wasn't that I didn't have five more favorites to fill the list. The problem was that I had about 35 more favorites to fill the list. After chatting with a colleague (thank you, @KristiCharette!), I decided to go with more of a theme. So here are, in no particular order, my 10 favorite* first grade picture book characters.
*Disclaimer: If you ask me to make a list tomorrow of my 10 favorites, I cannot guarantee that you will get the same results.
2. Pete the Cat (series by Eric Litwin) I want to be Pete when I grow up. Nothing fazes this cat. Whether he's stepping in really big piles of fruit, rocking out at school, or dealing with wardrobe malfunctions, he somehow manages to keep his cool. (In his newest book, Pete moonlights as a school bus driver and still maintains his very peaceful disposition. Seriously.) Pete is the perfect model of how to just "keep walking along and singing your song, because it's all good."
3. Scaredy Squirrel (series by Melanie Watt) Scaredy Squirrel could probably use a visit from Pete. He's a little, well, worked up. This is a squirrel with a backup plan for his backup plan. And yet, even though his plan never goes quite the way he imagined, it always works out in the end.
4. Gracie (The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant) Gracie is such a good little dog, enjoying her quiet afternoons in her quiet house, hanging out with the big dog and listening to the fish go "ploop, ploop." When her routine and her peace are rudely interrupted, this poor little dog is driven to desperation. I love her facial expressions throughout the book (thank you, Mark Teague!).
5. Boy and Bot (Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman) I'm cheating. This is two characters. These two friends step up when to help when the other is in need. While each is not too sure about what help would be appropriate for his friend, their hearts are in the right place. Is this a great book to check out? Affirmative!
6. Mouse & friends (The Doghouse, A Birthday For Cow, & others by Jan Thomas) Yes, I'm cheating again. Plus "friend" might be a strong word to describe Mouse who happily volunteers Cow, Duck, and Pig to go after the lost ball in [insert scary music here] The DOGHOUSE. I love reading this one aloud.
7. Mercy Watson (series by Kate DiCamillo) Everyone's favorite porcine wonder has some pretty funny adventures. While Eugenia may not be a fan, how can you not love a heroine who's always in search of hot buttered toast?
8. Wombat (Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French) Anyone who has ever had a pet, especially one who likes things done a certain way, will appreciate Wombat's efforts to "train" her new human neighbors. The fact that this story is based on the antics of an actual wombat named Mothball makes it even better.
9. Katie (Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman) Katie wants so very badly to be quiet and gentle and still so the kittens will not be afraid of her but she just. can't. do. it. She's a well-meaning, loving bundle of energy who is trying so very hard to keep herself in check. Sound like anyone you know, K-2 teachers?
10. Elephant and Piggie (series by Mo Willems) With apologies to the Pigeon, who is probably indignant about being left off this list, Elephant and Piggie are my favorite Mo Willems characters. Their dialogue sharp and funny for children and adults, and their comical adventures keep everyone coming back for more.