Not only did I practically read holes in these books when I was a kid, but looking back I think they had a profound, if subliminal, impact on my wanting to be an illustrator when I grew up:

First of all, Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel. I loved the simple art and the great story here of self-sacrifice… if I remember correctly, the Steam Shovel worked himself out of a job and ended up being permanently enclosed in the ground floor of a museum after helping build it… Plus, it was illustrated by the author herself, which I think is just cool!

I also loved Syd Hoff – his simple colored line art was easy to stare at for hours. It would have been even better if my kid brother didn’t add his own illustrations to”Danny and the Dinosaur” when he was a baby!

Another great one by Syd Hoff – along the same lines, a kid and their giant animal buddy. =)

Next, “The Sneetches” by Dr. Seuss. I never noticed the profound lesson against prejudice in this story as a kid, but I loved it. And the animated version was very fun too… Poor poor sneetches without stars upon thars… Dr. Seuss was AWESOME.

I still remember coming back from our library when I was in first grade, with armloads of Richard Scarry books every week. I loved the level of detail in his work, and I also still remember my teacher telling my parents in a conference “Robbie’s drawings are so detailed – I always look for tiny little things he’s added”… definately Scarry’s influence as a first-grade illustrator. =)

I LOVED Harold and the Purple Crayon. I always wanted a crayon or pencil that would create in “real life” the things I drew. I probably got in trouble for drawing on the walls a time or two because of this book as well.

This Disney book was second hand when my brother and I got it, but I went through it time and time again. I made that Captain Hook coin bank several times as a kid, and now that I look at this, I bet I could still teach my kids to make one. Too fun!

I *LOVED* this book. Much like Richard Scarry, I’d stare at these illustrations FOR HOURS. I was shocked when starting this blog, because I entered “The Giant Jam Sandwich” as one of my favorite books, and later on I noticed that it linked me to others who were fans of this book as well! AWESOME. Last year my wife and I took a trip to Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon. We were there for hours! In fact, kids teased me because I was sitting “indian-style” in the kids section almost the whole time. I got some funny looks from the employees too!

And last but not least, my all time favorite children’s book EVER:
The art in this book inspires me to this day – I love the murals and mood and just… EVERYTHING about “Where the Wild Things Are”!

So now that I’ve shared, what are some of your favorites?