Nap-a-Roo, by Kristy Kurjan

nap-a-rooNap-a-Roo

Written by Kristy Kurjan

Illustrated by  Tyler Parker 

Publisher: KPO Creative LLC

Board book: 16 pages

Age Range: 0-4

ISBN-13: 978-0986075001

Traverse City, MI- Fast, fun, and engaging, this Nap-a-Roo board book makes sleepy time special for children and parents alike. Follow the kangaroo through the zoo as he gets ready for a nap-a-roo. Little ones can’t get enough of this adorable modern book that centers around naps. With colorful images and imaginative text, this story is easy to fall in love with. Children will enjoy taking a nap-a-roo just like the kangaroo.  Parents will enjoy reading it “again and again!”

Nap-a-Roo has received numerous awards including the 2015 Silver IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Picture BOok (ages 0-3), the 2014 Silver Moonbeam Award for Best Board Book, and was named a Finalist in the 9th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

Published by KPO Creative LLC, the book is available through bookstores nationwide. Find more information by visiting: www.kpocreative.com

Purchase Nap-a-Roo children’s book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0986075000

The Author Showcase is a place for authors and illustrators to gain visibility for their works. This article was provided by the author of “Nap-a-Roo Board Book,” Kristy Kurjan. Learn more about marketing books and finding an Author Showcase book marketing plan that is right for you …

Play and Rest, both by Elizabeth Verdick | Book Reviews

REST and PLAY are two delightful books for newborns through two years old. Featuring adorable pictures of babies and small toddlers, children will delight in the pictures that look just like them. The children are interacting with parents and caregivers, snuggling and playing.

Play Board Book Elizabeth VerdickPlay

By Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis

Age Range: 0-2

Board Book: 22 pages

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

ISBN: 978-1575424262

What to expect: Board books, baby pictures, simple text.

PLAY is a book featuring adorable little ones romping around cribs, playing in bathtubs, and playing pat-a-cake and peekaboo. The text is simplistic and rhyming, so that even the smallest children can nod along with the rhythmic pace. The pages with words also feature comforting illustrations of children and parents playing with toys and doing activities.

Rest Board Book BedtimeRest

By Elizabeth Verdick and Marjorie Lisovskis

Age Range: 0-2

Board Book: 22 pages

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

ISBN: 978-1575424279

What to expect: Board books, baby pictures, simple text.

REST is an excellent book to read before nap or bedtime. The photos feature babies sleeping, yawning, stretching and snuggling. This is a great illustrative guide for toddlers, especially, who don’t think they need to go to bed. This book also features a rhyming story and clever illustrations.

Transportation Books For Lovers of Things That Go

Transportation Books For Lovers of Things That Go-3

My kids are obsessed with anything that goes these days. Construction trucks. School buses. Airplanes. You name it, they can’t get enough of it. Here are a few of our favorite books of Things That Go:

Red Light, Green Light By Yumi HeoRed Light, Green Light

Written and Illustrated by Yumi Heo

This board book is perfect for young readers aged 2-5. It’s an easy way to introduce them to the various signs you see on the road (One Way Street, Stop Signs, Railroad Tracks), and the illustrations are pleasant and not harsh the way some children’s books are. We have read this book at least twenty times in the past two days, and my two, three, and five year old boys all LOVE it. It has also stimulated many conversations in the car about traffic signals and signs (“The light is red! What does that mean?” and “That sign has a picture of people walking! What should we do?”). The book is also interactive and has sturdy flaps that have not been destroyed by my eager two year old. Yet.

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Cartwheel books | June 30, 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0545744638

Planes Go By Steve LightPlanes Go

Written and Illustrated by Steve Light

A sturdy board book with fetching watercolor illustrations, this is a fun read because it involves a great deal of noise making (“The jumbo jet goes wheeeeeeeeee vrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuu hmmmmmmmmmmm”) that your kids can join in with, along with providing fun discussions of which vehicles make which noises. It’s a simple, fun, noisy read, and the oversized board book format is effective in really drawing out the sounds!

Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Chronicle books | August 12, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1452128993

The Ultimate Book of Vehicles- From Around the World From Chronicle BooksThe Ultimate Book of Vehicles

By Anne-Sophie Baumann and Didier Balicevic

This book is so cool. Every single page is filled with pictures of vehicles from around the world, and it has lift the flaps, pop-ups, pull-tabs, and even working arms to some of the construction vehicles. Largely interactive, it has all of the vehicles labeled and grouped so you can explain to your child the purposes of each (my five year old was particularly riveted by the French pooper scooper scooter). I would definitely recommend ages 4 and up because some of the pull tabs are delicate and overzealous toddlers may get easily excited and pull things off, and some of the pieces are potential choking hazards. This book has sections on Agriculture, Commercial Transportation, Fishing, Space travel—something for everyone!

Ages 3-9 | Publisher: Twirl (Chronicle Books) |  March 18, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-2848019420

I’m a Dirty Dinosaur, by Janeen Brian | Book Review

I'm A Dirty DinosaurI’m a Dirty Dinosaur

Written by Janeen Brian

Illustrated by Ann James

Age Range: 2-5 years

Board Book: 22 pages

Publisher: Kane Miller EDC Publishing

ISBN: 978-1610672962

What to expect: Bath time, dinosaurs, rhyming

This musical, rhythmic dinosaur book is a delight for small children getting ready for bath time.

Meet this cute little dinosaur in his dirty swamp. The unique and engaging illustrations are literally painted with mud. The multi-colored sketched dinosaur romps through the mess with abandon, detailing all of his dirty parts. Start with his snout, his face and his “tum.” Then move on to feet and tail, slithering and sliding and stamping in the mud wherever he goes. Readers can singsong the words into a rhythmic melody, making “I’m a dirty dinosaur with a dirty snout,” a fun interactive dancing experience for your toddler. Kids will love to “Sniff sniff, snuff snuff, sniff and snuff about,” in time to the story.

This book is entirely unique in its stark white pages with magic pencil-sketched dinosaur, real mud used as paint, and watercolors. The bold colorful print detailing the story really pops, making it easy for readers who are just starting out to follow along. We thoroughly enjoy the book in our household, singing “wash, wash, wash, wash, give myself a wash,” all the way to the tub. Pick up this cute dirty little dinosaur for your preschoolers and you’ll be singing along, too. Highly recommended.

Toni Buzzeo, Author of Whose Tools? | Speed Interview

Toni Buzzeo, Author of Whose Tools-- Speed Interview

Toni Buzzeo is the author of the 2013 Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times bestseller One Cool Friend, as well as many other books for children. A former elementary school librarian and secondary-school teacher, she now lives with her husband in both Buxton, Maine, and Sarasota, Florida.

Which five words best describe Whose Tools?

Fun, informative, inspiring, challenging, diverse.

If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from your book, who would it be? Why?

I can’t tell you how much I love that woman roofer way up on that roof with her nail gun!

Roofer

Can you imagine how she’d feel about climbing a mountain or traversing a rope bridge? Maybe we’d go to Costa Rica together, a place I’ve never been (though I’ve been to Africa three times) and she’d challenge me to relinquish my fear of falling from a great height!

What has been the best reaction from a reader of Whose Tools?, so far?

I have so enjoyed the praise we’ve heard about the diversity in the book [“Women are well represented among Datz’s carpenters, roofers, electricians, plumbers, and painters (who are drawn in a range of skin tones), providing a subtle “you could do this, too” message…” ~ Publishers Weekly starred review], but by far this set of two photos is the best reaction, first Logan enjoying the text and illustrations with his dad, Derek, and his mom, Jen, and then Logan enjoying the board book in the way babies do best!

Logan Photo1Logan Photo2

What’s on your nightstand? Any books?

Goodness yes! I have two children’s novels from the library, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell and Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia. Then there’s a lamp, my iPad, a candle, and my earplugs. I also have a huge pile of picture books over on the desk because it’s too wobbly to set on the nightstand!

For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?

Definitely Earl Grey tea and a Kind nut bar—the sort with lots of nuts and a pinch of sweet-and-salt.

Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?

Mostly my MacBook Air, whose name is Elizabeth, but in a pinch, pen and paper, especially when I’ve just started a manuscript.

Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Whose Tools?, your writing style, or yourself?

My husband, Ken Cyll, is a silent co-author of the book. He’s an engineer and a woodworker and when I told him my idea, he jumped on it (practically to the point of harassment as he regularly repeated this question, “When are we going to start that book?”) His knowledge was absolutely invaluable throughout the writing and development process and the book is dedicated to him!

Whose Tools? by Toni BuzzeoWhose Tools?

Written by Toni Buzzeo, Illustrated by Jim Datz

Publisher’s Synopsis: This nonfiction ode to building a house from the ground up features six kinds of craftsmen and the 24 tools they use, accurately labeled. The answer to each inquiring refrain is revealed under a gatefold, seven in all, engaging the reader in an informative guessing game. With lyrical (and factual!) text by New York Times bestselling author Toni Buzzeo, and the expertly stylized art of illustrator and designer Jim Datz, this sturdily constructed board book is perfect for curious and playful young readers.

Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1419714313

I See Kitty, by Yasmine Surovec | Book Review

I See Kitty  Written and Illustrated by Yasmine SurovecI See Kitty

Written and Illustrated by Yasmine Surovec

Age Range: 0 and up

Board Book: 30 pages

Publisher: Roaring Book Press

ISBN: 978-1-62672-093-0

What to expect: Adorable kittens, bright colors, board book.

I SEE KITTY is an adorable board book, perfect for preschoolers and younger. The simplistic, bright and engaging illustrations will delight small children. They will be entranced as we follow Chloe, a sweet little girl who loves kitties. First she sees them in the pet shop window up for adoption, which sets her imagination on fire. Chloe sees Kitty in the clouds, in a puddle, in cotton candy and in a woman’s crazy up-do hair at the bus stop. Chloe dreams of kitty in a psychedelic kitty paradise complete with a milk river and more cardboard boxes than any kitty could ever dream to hide in. Then, she hears a noise at her bedroom door—it’s kitty! And her Mommy says she can keep her. A truly happy ending for all.

Yasmine Surovec is already an immensely popular cartoonist, playing on the daily interactions between cats and their humans. She is truly talented in bringing the sweet and funny cat presence into your home, even if you only dream of owning a cat someday like Chloe. My two-year-old daughter loved this book so much that she kept taking it out of my review pile to flip through the pages by herself. The simple prose and elegant depictions of adorable kitties will engage even the smallest children. I also appreciated that at thirty pages, this was a very long board book. We could always use more pictures of kitty! Highly recommended for all children, 0 and up.

Daytime Nighttime, by William Low | Book Review

Daytime Nighttime  Written and Illustrated by William LowDaytime Nighttime

Written and Illustrated by William Low

Age Range: 0 and up

Board Book: 28 pages

Publisher: Henry Holt

ISBN-13: 978-1-62779-172-4

What to expect: Animals, Day vs. Night, Board Book

William Low is a renowned children’s book author, and he has created another book that is sure to become a favorite. The illustrations are surprisingly vivid and lifelike, and the words are simple enough for early readers to sound out themselves. Start in the daytime, where butterflies, robins and beavers bustle about in the sun. Rabbits, puppies and geese enjoy playing in beautiful flowers and stylistic sunrays. Then it’s nighttime, and time to explore what happens while children sleep. Fireflies, raccoons, owls and frogs are all at home in the moonlight. Then we see a child with a teddy bear laying down for bed, making this a perfect bedtime story.

This is an excellent book to use for compare and contrast discussions with your child, day versus night, daytime animals versus nighttime animals, etc. The book is sturdy and longer than average for lots of reading enjoyment, and the illustrations are beautiful and calming for bedtime. This is sure to be a favorite of both parents and kids!

Are You My Daddy?, by Illanit Oliver | Book Review

Are You My DaddyAre You My Daddy?

Written by Illanit Oliver

Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

Board Book: 12 pages

Age Range: 2 – 5 years old

Publisher: Cartwheel Books/Scholastic 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-77558-8

What to expect: Touch-and-feel, Zoo animals, Daddy themes

This delightful touch-and-feel book is sure to be a hit with babies and toddlers. It features easy prose, colorful pictures and popular zoo animals. Who wouldn’t want to search for a walrus at the zoo?

Walt the Walrus, a clever young walrus, is playing hide-and-seek with his Daddy at the zoo where they live. He discovers a penguin hiding in an igloo (a fun slide out picture that is easy for little fingers to maneuver), and a shiny daddy lion. Fuzzy monkeys and fluffy goats encourage children to touch the pages. Then, we meet a zebra, koala, elephant and more under cute flip out cards. Kids will love the happy ending of Walt finding Daddy Walrus behind a large folded tree page.

A departure from mom-centric baby books, ARE YOU MY DADDY? will keep kids entertained over and again. Children who enjoy Kunhardt’s PAT THE BUNNY will love this book upon first reading. My two-year-old daughter was very excited to pet the animals and search for Walt’s daddy. This book encourages questions and exploration by matching zoo animals, which is a nice bonus. It’s solidly constructed, and should last for many repeat readings. And, thanks to the colorful characters, this book is sure to become a daily favorite.

21 Board Books For Babies and Toddlers

Many books have board book editions but aren’t always available at your library or bookstore. The 21 board books for babies and toddlers listed here are generally found in this format anywhere you find books. If you have a favorite board book you don’t see listed here please leave a comment for me and other readers about why it’s your favorite!

 

How Big Is a Pig? by Claire Beaton is a favorite in our house and has been for both my kids. I love the felt illustrations, the detail amazes me and helps distract me from noticing that I have read it 20 times in as many minutes. The story itself is great too, it focuses on opposites in the farm yard with a zippy rhyming text. My daughter loves taking this one in the stroller while I run and because it’s a board book I can give it to her without worrying that after a few miles it’s ripped and ruined.

Doggies by Sandra Boynton has been one of my daughter’s favorite books for ages. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a simple counting book about dogs, their different barks and one pesky cat. Toddlers love barking along with it so it’s a great book for places where they don’t have to be shushed, it’s not a great one for quiet only places like a church service.

Moo Baa La La Laby Sandra Boynton always makes me laugh. There is something about the facial expressions her animals always have that crack me up, and lets me honest if the book is good for the adult reading it, it’s always a plus. Super bright colors on each page is a huge plus for my baby girl as I flip the pages, and even though she doesn’t get the humor yet she will soon enough and it’s a book that will grow with her.

Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton.  This author is a preschool parents dream, short and easy to read melodic books with illustrations to die for. The story is simply a little love song about all the ways the dog loves the puppy, simple and touching. As an educator something I love is that the dogs don’t have an obvious race , they don’t even have an obvious gender which is perfect. Regardless of who loves who in your family your child can see you in the dog and themselves in the puppy! I think that is the perfect valentine! My son didn’t warm up to this book right away, but now not only does he love it he is very very specific that only I can read it to him . It’s become a big favorite in our house.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown isn’t an innovative choice but I make babies who love this book. My son could be “Goodnight Mooned ” to sleep as a baby if we simply recited the words and while my daughter isn’t at that point yet she sits happily listening to our voices as we read it to her. I will be the first to admit I didn’t always love this book but as a mom it’s been more than a book, it’s been a signal to my son that it’s bedtime and I hope that it becomes part of my daughter’s routine soon too.  The story is simple , it’s not even really a story so much as a baby bunny saying goodnight to all the objects in his room including the moon peeking in the window.

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle was one of my son’s favorite books to read before bed when he was a toddler, not so much because of the story but because the board book version has flashing lights at the end ! The story is all about a firefly looking for another firefly but mistaking all different light for a friend. Toddlers love this book because it gives them a chance to be bossy and say ” No that’s a flashlight” to the firefly. The text is the right length for little guys but not boring for older kids , and I need to mention the little lights are really quite magical in a dark bedroom, especially if you are in a place that doesn’t have fireflies!

Learn the Alphabet with NorthWest Coast Native Art by Ryan Cranmer (and others) was an amazing gas station find. Yes I said gas station. I ran in for some diet coke and came out with an alphabet book ! This book is amazing, bright beautiful and even though I bought it for my daughter since it’s bright colors and sturdy pages are perfect for a baby, my almost 4 year old son adores it. What I love is when he reads it to her . The Native art is gorgeous and if you are unfamiliar with North West coast art you are in for a treat.

Clap Your Handsby Lorinda Bryan Cauley is a rhythmic rhyming book that suggests movements for the readers ( perhaps when she is sitting or standing she will follow along) with fun and silly pictures of kids mixed with animals doing the actions. What probably appeals to my 3 month old are the bright colors on the white background and the rhythm of the text.Also it’s a fun book to have an older sibling join in with and do the actions as you read.

Beddy-bye, Baby: A Touch-and-Feel Bookby Karen Katz is a cute bedtime book for the toddler crowd.  I like the rhyming text and that it’s a feel and touch book  but with the exception of the final page the textured pieces are too small . Fumbly flappy infant hands have a a hard time hitting the small textured sections. Ideally they would be larger so the child can explore as the adult reads . It’s not a huge complaint and I love Karen Katz so I would still recommend this book for families with little ones.

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?by Karen Katz. This lift and flap book is the newest addition to our Karen Katz collection. My son adores these books. I read this in the check out line 3 times and he was asking for more before I could get my groceries in the fridge. I like this book because it’s a cute and gentle introduction to Halloween and all the creatures that go along with it. Also there are fun textures to many of the illustrations which help keep little hands busy! Edited for 2012 : Even though this is a Halloween book both my kids loved it and it’s never been put away since I bought it in 2009. It’s easily one of my daughter’s all time favorites.

This Little Chick by John Lawrence is just about the perfect board book for my daughter right now, she didn’t even try to eat it! The rhymes are melodic the text full of animal sounds is spot on for our littlest readers . My son and I had fun reading this old favorite to my daughter for the first time.  The illustrations are fantastic with lots of contrast and is the perfect length for  a quick snuggle and read for wiggly babies who are eager to move.

Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski is a cute cowboy book for the younger set. We have the board book edition and it’s been loved for a long time at our house, although since our return from the Calgary Stampede it’s been read constantly. The text is simple, the drawings are charming and the book covers all the basics of what a cowboys does day and night. My son loves that Cowboy small has a guitar, and is pretty fond of the part when he gets bucked off a bronco as well.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter actually sits looking at these pages instead of simply trying to eat the book, which in my opinion is a great review from a 6 month old!

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault  is a fantastic board book and shorter version of the longer book. My son loves this book and it’s the perfect amount of text for a toddler, the illustrations by Lois Ehlert are so bright and bold that even very young babies will respond to it! A must have for all bookshelves.

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This  book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is simply one of my favorite books ever. I love it and love that my daughter doesn’t fuss when I read it to her because it was a special book for my son when he was little and it’s a book he will still curl up and read quietly with us, making it fun cuddle time for all three of us. If you aren’t familiar with this book it’s all about a sneaky gorilla who unlocks all the animals at the zoo and they quietly follow the zoo keeper home and climb into bed with him, until his wife wakes up! I love this book cause I relate to the zoo keepers wife , when I wake up there is always a sneaky 3 year old gorilla in my bed!

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root looks like an everyday book , but inside you will find a brilliantly repetitive storyline, that promotes teamwork, and mathematical skills! See a duck gets stuck in the muck and while others are eager to help the duck isn’t unstuck until they all work together. My class was nuts about this book a few years ago and my son has greatly enjoyed it since infancy. Don’t pass this book up.

Dinosaur Roar! Board Book by Paul and  Henrietta Stickland and is a board book that I’ve read often enough that I don’t need to look at the book. The premise is simple, using 2 different dinosaurs every page illustrates a pair of opposites. Toddlers and young preschoolers adore this book and I can’t blame them, it’s adorable and a great tool for teaching ! My son loves how funny the illustrations are and clearly enjoys the rigidity of the opposite concepts.

 The Busy Little Squirrelby Nancy Tafuri is a great book for babies and toddlers. The readers follow along with a squirrel as she gathers nuts , seeds and berries for the winter. As she hunts for her treasure she encounters many animals who all make their respective sounds and ask her to play, of course she is too busy and continues on.  Even though the idea is not groundbreaking  I like that this book can be used to introduce animal sounds without simply sitting down with let’s say flash cards and teaching them to your toddler. Even if you have no real animals near by books like this one are a great way to authentically teach very young kids.

Bye-Bye Time by Elizabeth Verdick is a great book for toddlers who are anxious about separation.  It goes through drop off time at school between a little girl and her dad. When I worked in a childcare setting bye bye time was a huge source of anxiety for many students, books like this one are such great tools for parents and teachers. There are wonderful tips at the back that in my experience are all great advice. This book is just one of many by the same author that are all wonderful tools for families and classrooms. My favorite being Teeth Are Not for Biting and Words are Not for Hurting

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell was an instant hit with my son. I knew it would be, much like little Bill the smallest of the three baby owls my son is fond of saying “I want my mommy”. The three birds are distraught when they discover mama owl is not there. I love how they huddle together, and think a lot before mama Owl returns non- challant about the fact that she’d returned. The illustrations of the owls are so expressive , which with very few facial features is impressive. Patrick Benson did a wonderful job bringing all three owl’s personalities out visually as well as making the setting ominous without being frightening to young readers. Great book!

Picture Books that Make the Best Gifts

We love books, and have pretty much set a monthly fund for “growing the library”. It has been growing so well that the books are now everywhere. They are spilling off the shelves, and can be found in the baskets by our beds, on the kitchen table, and in the car. It feels right: books are a big part of our everyday life. But what about holidays?

Picture Books that Make the Best Gifts: whether you are shopping for Christmas or Birthdays, these books will delight children of different ages

When it is time to celebrate, everyone in our family can be sure to find a book or two in their pile of gifts too. Of course, for a special occasion the desire to surprise and please grows! That is why we spend a while deliberating over those book gifts. We do not want them to get lost in the pile of wrapping paper and other gifts.

Over time, we have gathered a few of our favourites, and here they are.

 

1. Wordless Books.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a book lover, in most cases I prefer a thousand words. Give me a million words, a cozy couch, and call it my ultimate happiness. But when it comes to wordless books, I often take my hat off. It is a lot of work to tell a story without words, and the illustrations created in the process are truly wonderful: emotional and full of details.

Another benefit of wordless books is that children of different ages can enjoy them together. At one a toddler will ask to name different objects, at two and three he or she will listen to the story attentively, and for older children wordless books are wonderful prompts to practise storytelling. These books develop verbal, observational and logical skills, and can stay favourites for many years. With children growing quickly, I consider anything that can keep interest for longer than a year a worthwhile investment!

A few of our favourite wordless books:

Picture Books that Make the Best Gifts: whether you are shopping for Christmas or Birthdays, these books will delight children

In the Town All Year ‘Round: Whether you flip through all the seasons at once or concentrate on one, this book has hundreds of stories to unravel and characters to follow. Toddlers will delight in pointing at all of the familiar objects of town life, and older children can pick one or two favourite characters and tell stories about them. Even after looking at this book for months every day, children will still find something new! Read more about this book here.
The Circle of Seasons(now sold separately as Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter): Some books are awe-inspiring, some books are hilarious, and these books are very cozy. They will charm children with the simple – pastoral – pleasures of life that come with different seasons: from watching baby birds in the spring to splashing in puddles in the fall; from fireworks in the summer to ice-skating in the winter. Since Budster turned one, we were giving him one book for each season, and he adores them. Read more about the volume Spring here.
The Yellow Balloon: A small yellow balloon travels through time and space across the pages of the eclectic world created by Dutch illustrator, Charlotte Dematons. In that world a pirate’s frigate sails next to a cruise liner, and flying carpets race airplanes.
Journey: A lonely girl takes a red crayon and draws a door on the wall in her room. Upon opening, the door leads into a different world. It is full of magic, but there are dangers too. Breathtaking illustrations!

 

2. Treasury Collections

When a few previously published picture books are gathered in one volume, they are often called a treasury collection. We are very fond of them. First of all, it is an expedient and thrifty way to get some classic stories onto our book shelves. Then, of course, if I get one story in a picture book, there is always a possibility that my son will not like it very much. But if there are a few stories, he can pick his favourite. In case of several children who have different tastes in the family, a treasury collection is great as well!

I like to keep a treasury collection of one author or another in our car, so that if my son gets bored, there is a selection of stories I can read to him.

A few of our favourite treasuries:

Picture Books that Make the Best Gifts: whether you are shopping for Christmas or Birthdays, these books will delight children

Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury: This book has seven of Jan Brett’s amazingly illustrated stories, including her famous The Mitten, The Hat and Troubles with Trolls. We had a few of her stories in abridged versions for babies and loved them. It is a delight to hold this full-sized book and see all the spectacular details of her paintings. This book is going to be among my son’s Christmas gifts this year.
The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury: This book is truly outstanding in its own way! I think that if I was going to raise my son on an uninhibited island, I would pack this one for sure. On its pages, you can find more than forty classical stories for children: Madeline, Where the Wild Things Are, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Guess How Much I Love You, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Amelia Bedelia are only a few. True: in order to fit all of the stories into this treasury, the illustrations had to be compressed. It is also true that on comparing every story in this book with its stand-alone edition, the representation in this book would lose, if only by a little bit. But think: more than forty stories! It is an amazing way to introduce many famous stories to children without submitting to buying every one of them as a separate picture book.
You’re a Good Dog, Carl!: The oil and watercolour paintings of this book are lavish and gorgeous, ready to be framed and put on the living room wall. Yet, the story depicting the exploits of the best dog nanny is as full of wit and humour as any Sunday comic strip would be. Read more about the series here.
James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Since being a child, I always loved the stories about the Yorkshire vet. While, on the first glance, they seem like stories about animals, in truth, they are stories about people and their love for animals. Touching and witty – those stories are a comfort blanket to me. I cannot wait to read them with Budster in a couple of years, for while most of James Herriot’s books are meant for adults, this little treasury presents seven of his stories for children with gorgeous watercolour illustrations.
Stella! (Treasury): The imaginative Stella and her quiet brother Sam play and discover the world around them, making original, unique and witty observations about it, the way only children can.

3. Pop-Up and Lift-the-Flaps Books

The mechanics of a pop-up book are fascinating to adults and children alike, and even if the plain version is already in the home library, the pop-up book will cause waves of excitement. While older children realize that no pop-up fancy can compare with the magic of a well-worn copy of The Hobbit or Wizard of Oz, it is great for children to play with books when they are small: make the pictures move, open the flaps and have a feeling of awe again and again as a three-dimensional castle grows from a flat page.

Do I think that everyone should fill their shelves with pop-up books? Nope. Do I think that a pop-up version of an excellent book will make a great gift for a little one? Absolutely!

A few of our favourite pop-up books:

Picture Books that Make the Best Gifts: whether you are shopping for Christmas or Birthdays, these books will delight children
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Pop-up: There will always be a special place in my heart for this book based on a traditional folk song, for it was Budster’s very first favourite book. If I am thinking of a baby gift, it comes to mind right away. Read about it more here.
– Birds of a Feather (also check Out of Sight and In the Ocean): While I find all pop-up books to have a playful element in them, this book comes especially close to being a game. Before opening little flaps in the shapes of eggs and silhouettes, children can guess the birds that hide behind them! Another page has a colourful puzzle. It is an amazing introduction to the world of ornithology for children. We got it for Budster when he was a little bit over a year, and he has been reading it every day for many months, with us and by himself. He loves it. Read about it more here.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Pop-Up Adaptation: I have a couple of friends who collect “Alice” books, illustrated by different authors. This one will be wonderful, whether as the first or the fifth “Alice” book on your shelf. The pop-ups do magic to the famous story: readers feel as if they had fallen into Wonderland along with Alice.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinousaurs: There is a mysterious force that attracts children to dinosaurs, and it must also attract them to this book. While they can find some interesting facts about dinosaurs in this book, it will be a while until they get to that part, because playing with pop-up dinosaurs is addicting.

 

4. Non-Fiction Books for the Youngest Scientists

While the appeal of fictional books often depends on personal taste, non-fiction books can be judged more objectively. You can get a great fictional book, yet it will not make an impression on a child, simply because he or she has a different taste. The sense of wonder that a good scientific book awakens is more universal. So you can read a few pages of the book and trust your judgment, or read the reviews that other people left – my observation is that they are more reliable in the case of non-fiction books.

Another great thing about non-fiction books is that children do not grow out of them as fast. If you have an animal encyclopedia, a baby will like looking at the pictures, and for a toddler it may even become his favourite book. For instance, our Budster loves an oversized book about the sea world with high-resolution photographs of whales and coral reefs. Soon parents will find themselves reading little facts from the encyclopedia to children, and in no time they will be writing essays, using the book as their reference.

All in all, I find good non-fiction books to be great gifts for children, because they are naturally curious, and they want to know about the world!

A few of our favourite non-fiction books:

Picture Books that Make the Best Gifts: whether you are shopping for Christmas or Birthdays, these books will delight children
– National Geographic Little Kids First Book of Animals (and other National Geographic Little Kids First Books: Bugs, Dinosaurs, or Planets) : This is a particularly great book for little scientists. It has plenty of pictures – a few for every animal – and a variety of interesting facts to entertain even an adult reader. In its 128 pages, only a few animals can be introduced, but I find it to be an advantage of this book. It is not overwhelming, and there will be longer books in the future.
– Sounds of the Wild Ocean (and other books of the series): While being packed with scientific facts, this little book will appeal to everyone, starting with babies. As they turn pages, they will hear a whale’s singing and seagulls’ cries, as realistically painted animals will pop up on the pages. Read about it more here.
The Beetle Book: This book will work both as the first identification guide for beetles and a beautifully illustrated introduction to the beetle world.
The New Way Things Work: While meant for elementary-aged children and up, this book will help you get through those years when everything requires an explanation and children yearn to know how things work. Necessary reading for every parent!

A few of these books fall into several categories: Birds of a Feather, for instance, is a pop-up book, but it is also a non-fiction book, opening the diverse world of birds to children. In the Town All Year ‘Round is a wordless book, but it is also a treasury because in Germany, where the book comes from, it is published in four volumes.

What books do you like to give as gifts? What books were you happy to receive as gifts for your children? Please, share your finds, so that we could put them onto our Christmas wishlist!