These are some of the books my little guys are digging right now. We love the old standbys like “Goodnight Moon” and the like, but I think these are a bit more off the beaten path. All links are to Amazon but of course you can get them anywhere.
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon — This is a beautifully illustrated book about a day spent with family and friends. It imparts a sense of community that seems lacking nowadays. I love the scenes showing different kinds of families, old trucks and garden co-ops, family style meals and multigenerational singalongs by the piano. My twenty-month-old always asks for this one, which makes me happy.
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg — A clever and creative book about turning mistakes into art. A few of the effects are a bit fragile for the little ones, but they can enjoy it if Mama helps them out; you’ll know what I mean when you see it (I don’t want to ruin the surprise).
Flotsam by David Wiesner — David Wiesner is one of my favorites even if most of his books are a few levels above my kids. This one is no exception but they love it, especially my little one. It has no words, only gorgeous illustrations of a boy who finds an underwater camera at the beach and discovers amazing worlds.
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble — I loved this book when I was younger, but my mister says I was one of those “horsey girls.” That’s probably true, but it’s still a lovely book. It’s about a Native American girl whose true home is among the wild horses.
The Golden Egg Book and Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown — My older son can ask for this author by name because she also wrote “Goodnight Moon” and “Runaway Bunny,” among others. Big is going through a bunny phase right now and these have the most adorable illustrations, the bunnies look so cuddly!
Good Night, Sweet Butterflies by Dawn Bentley — Another one with gorgeous illustrations and a cute, rhyming story about different colors. The boys love to touch the 3D glittery butterflies on each page.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson — My British friends turned me on to this and it’s so cute. It’s about a mouse who keeps himself safe in the woods by creating an imaginary creature called the Gruffalo. There’s also a super movie of it, with British stars like Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid from “Harry Potter”) and Tom Wilkinson providing the voices.
Hush, Little Dragon by Boni Ashburn — Written to the tune of “Hush, Little Baby,” this book cracks me up because it seems so subversive and dark. It’s written in a mother dragon’s voice as she raids a castle to grab some knights /musketeers / wizards / queens / etc. for her baby to eat.
Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle — “Horn went beep, engine purred, friendliest sounds you ever heard.” That line is stuck in my head forever. These books are about a friendly little truck and his adventures on a farm and in the big city. The rhyming is very smooth so they are fun ones to read aloud.
My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck — Another one that brings out my inner goth. Adorable illustrations of all the things a mother monster does for her son, like baking him cookies with bugs in them, taking him to swim at the swamp and giving him lizard juice with ice.
One by Kathryn Otoshi — Blue is constantly bullied by Red and no one will stick up for him until 1 comes along. “It only takes 1.” This is a great book about not tolerating bullying but told with colors and numbers so that little kids can understand.
Press Here by Herve Tullet — This is a must for mamas who are too plugged in and are afraid their kids might be, too. It’s an interactive book that’s very low tech but a delight for the kids. It requires a bit of suspension of disbelief that might be boring for older kids unless they are willing to play along with the joke.
Smash! Mash! Crash! Here Comes the Trash by Barbara Odanaka — For boys who love smelly, dirty things. These pictures can make even garbage look beautiful.
Subway by Christoph Niemann — I’ve been following Niemann’s art in The New York Times for a while, so I had to buy this book. For anyone who has a connection to NYC, it’s a must. This story is a love affair with the NYC subway system and it’s told with bright colors, bold graphics, and lines that are simple and rhyming but very specific to the city.
When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore — Cute story about a little boy who builds a sandcastle at the beach, only to have a dragon move in and ruin his family’s day out. My kids think it’s real, but Mama can see the clues that the boy just has a very active imagination.
What are your favorite books for kids?