Books About Mom


“Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown I am trying to find the right way to say how much I dislike this book I know many love it but I just can’t get on board. A few years ago my assistant teacher and I used to call it “Run bunny run!” because this poor bunny is just trying to get some space from his mom. I know that some people adore this book and think that the sentiment of security is the one to focus on but I can’t write that I love it when I don’t.

“Stellaluna” by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who looses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she is happy. and likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book!

” Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother Too?” by Eric Carle is a educational and fun story for toddlers and preschoolers. Much like many of his other books, the story is simple, the text is short but the over all reading experience is great. This was a favorite to read at circle time because the whole book is the same question over and over, which is the perfect foundation for gathering your student’s or children’s opinions!


“Is Your Mama a Llama? “ by Deborah Guarino is a classroom favorite, I don’t know many preschool teachers who can’t recite most of this book . Readers follow Lloyd the llama as he riddles his way through a bunch of animals until he find the one he calls mom. I like the mix of animals in this book, a little different than your average zoo or farm collection.


“Did I Tell You I Love You Today?” by Deloris Jordan is a very practical yet heartwarming look at all the ways parents show love to their children everyday, from feeding them healthy food to praying after they go to bed. My son loved all the big boy things in the book like, the school bus, basketball and the playground. I teared up reading the book, but I cry at American Idol so that may not be indicative of anything!

“I Love You With All My Heart!” by Noris Kern is the precursor to “Will you Still Love Me” the author is the illustrator in the other book. The characters are the same and the story is equally as sweet. It’s a slow but calming story about Polo’s quest to understand what mama bear means when she says she loves him with all her heart!

“Mama’s Saris” by Pooja Makhijani is a simple yet rich story about a little girl and her desire to dress in her mama’s clothes. I think I would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t remember watching in awe as her mom got dressed for a special event and wanting to dress just like mama. The narrator is Hindu and her mama wears a sari for special occasions and she is stubbornly trying to get her mom to let her wear one for her 7th birthday. The illustrations are beautiful, especially the jewel tones of the various saris. This book would be a great one to read before playing dress up or other pretend play. The story is touching and although it’s too long for toddlers, it’s a great book for preschoolers !




” I Love You, Stinky Face” by Lisa McCourt reminds me of “The Runaway Bunny” but less saccharine and creepy. Sorry if I have just called your favorite book creepy but I’ve never been a fan of “The Runaway Bunny”. Back to this book and why I like it, I love that the little boy in the book keeps trying to find ways to make him unlovable and the mom keeps finding ways to love unconditionally. There is a deeper meaning here and moms will see past the fun illustrations to the real heart of this book, which is no matter what we love our children. When I found this in a thrift store and read it quickly, I couldn’t look at my son in his stroller throwing puffs on the floor without tearing up!

” Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in his crib.


” The Mommy Book” by Todd Parr is a bright, funny and wonderfully random book. I love Todd Parr and his blunt and diverse books. In this one he once again reassures kids that mommies come in all different forms but all mommies want you to be who you are! Your kids will love the simple and vibrant pictures that are Todd Parr’s signature!

“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn is a beautiful story about a little raccoon afraid to go to school and leave his mother, but his mom knows a special trick for Chester to be brave and remember that his mommy loves him. This book has helped a number of former students get over separation anxiety although sometimes I think it’s more for us moms than our brave little guys!


“Hair for Mama” by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.


“My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsters, Fiends, Goblins or Things.” by Judith Viorst is a lovely , touching but not saccharine book about how moms makes mistakes too. The litter boy narrating the book, continues to insist that there are monsters and such despite his mom saying there isn’t. He used the fact that he often catches his mom making little mistakes to prove that she must be wrong when she says those horrible creatures don’t exist. In the end though mama keeps him safe and is right after all.


” Piglet and Mama” by Margaret Wild is the only book in this list I would suggest for the under 3 crowd. My son loved it. Piglet is searching for his mom and even though all the other animal mommies offer for him to join them and their babies he wants his mom! The illustrations by Stephen Michael King capture the warmth between a mama and her baby beautifully . My son has the “Mama” scream perfected and quite enjoyed seeing the little piglet do the same thing for her mama. We had a nice chat after reading this about separation, something we have been struggling with for a while. Before nap today I reminded my son that just like piglet his mama will come get him when he wakes up. Even if separation anxiety isn’t something you are dealing with at your house this is a sweet book.

Christmas Book Reviews

Books !

” Madeline’s Christmas” was published after Ludwig Bemelmans passed away, it had been published as a book insert in McCall’s magazine in 1956 and as a book in 1985. The story itself is a curious Christmas tale about a rug seller who brings a little magic to Madeline and her friends. My toddler sat for the whole thing and laughed at many of the rhymes, which if you have read others in the Madeline series you will know are awesome. If you are working on rhyming words check this and the rest of the series out!


“Babar and Father Christmas” by Jean De Brunhoff was one of my very favorite Christmas stories as a child. As an adult i have had some great belly laughs at some of it’s writing which I still think is awesome. Babar goes looking for Father Christmas because he wants to ask him to visit Elephant country. He searches all over Paris and finally ends up in the north pole and finds after much effort Father Christmas. I love the details in this book, as a child I would lay looking at the pictures of Santa’s workshop and imagine what visiting it would be like. As an adult I appreciate the smallest details like how Father Christmas’s flying machine ( not a sled) has P.N #1 on it , meaning of course Pere Noel #1.

” Not Until Christmas Walter!” by Eileen Christelow is a cute book that captures the relationship between a girl and her four legged best friend! Walter the dog is eager to get at his present before the big day, when he opens it before Christmas he ends up in the doghouse! It takes a few events to earn his position as a best friend back but he finds a way! The book is broken into 3 chapters and would be a great book for children in the gap between picture books and chapter books.

“Din Dan Don It’s Christmas” by Janina Domanska is one of a kind. The books follows the pilgrimage to the manger to see the infant Jesus . It starts with a single duck playing bagpipes, but it builds on it self until they spot the manger and the infant Jesus wakes. The story is simple because there is no need for lots of text , the illustrations are amazing. Every page looks like a cross between a stained glass window and a ornate mosaic in a Orthodox church somewhere in Eastern Europe. My son exclaimed “WOW” many times as we turned the pages of this book, and I know I let out a gasp or two as well, simply beautiful! * When I did a search for a photo I could not find this book in print , so you may not be able to find it in store, try your library though!


” Merry Christmas Ollie” by Olivier Dunrea captures the feelings of children leading up to the holidays…wait…wait…wait… I remember those feelings well. Patience is a hard thing to learn for big people, but it’s almost impossible to be patient when you are waiting for something as magical as Christmas when you are little. This book is a great vehicle for talking about being patient, and the little geese will enchant you!

“What Is Christmas?” by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s origin in a simple matter of fact way.


” If You Take A Mouse To The Movies” by Laura Numeroff is a favorite in our house. I love it because like how your house transforms around the holidays the ever popular “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” transforms too, every page is “decorated” with something from Christmas trees, red and green popcorn buckets, and snowmen. If you aren’t familiar with this series of books the text is cause and effect with each page taking the mouse and a little boy from different holiday situations like listening to Christmas carols, making ornaments and of course going to the movies on a winter day.


“Merry Christmas, Mouse! “ by Laura Numeroff is an adorable little Christmas counting book. Most of the praise should really be on Felicia Bond the illustrator because the pictures take the cake on this one. The book follows the mouse as he decorates the Christmas tree, 1 Star… 2 angels… etc… It’s a perfect to read and then count the ornaments on your own tree. After reading it my son and I found 4 bells, and 3 trains on our own tree.

” Mooseltoe” by Margie Palantini is a funny holiday story with the characters from Moosestash , this time Moose is set on making Christmas perfectly perfect, only ooops he forgot the tree! Luckily he offers up himself and doesn’t do too bad a job as a Christmas tree! This book was to long for my toddler but older preschoolers and even school age kids will love the humor and fun illustration

“Little Tree” by Chris Racshka is another awesome find. I love this book, it’s another visually amazing book and my son was much more into the pictures that are so packed full with fun details that they steal the show. The story inspired by the E.E. Cummings poem by the same name the story follows a little tree who has big dreams of becoming a Christmas tree . I think this book is great especially for children who want to know where the trees in the lots in a city come from.


” Hurry, Santa!” by Julia Sykes is an okay book. I wanted to like it more than I did. The pictures are cute, the idea of Santa being late for Christmas morning has a lot of potential and the author tried but it just never gelled for me. I would still check it out from the library and test it out with your child, but I won’t be adding this to my must buy list.


“McDuff’s New Friend” by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .

Books About Friendship and Love


” Not Norman” by Kelly Bennet is a story about a little boy and his disappointing pet fish Norman. All great children’s books slip a lesson between the pages and this one is about how our first impressions aren’t always right. Friendships can take a while to grow but once they do they are solid, even with a pet fish named Norman.

” Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox gives me goosebumps and brought me to tears when I was a homesick Canadian teaching in St. Louis. The book is simple and talks about the differences of little children all over the world, but focuses on what they all have in com mon. There are beautiful illustrations that show children in all different cultures from around the globe with a sing song story to carry you along.

” Corduroy” by Don Freeman is a children’s classic and one of my favorites from childhood, if you haven’t read it it’s about a little teddy bear and his desire for a real home away from the department store and a little girl who needs him too!



” Duck, Duck, Goose” by Tad Hills is a story about friendship and what happens when a twosome adds another person (or duck) into the mix. The author brings these characters emotions to life and children will be able to relate to Gooses feelings for sure!

” My Friend Rabbit “ by Eric Rohmann is a cute book with award winning illustrations that follows a mouse and a rabbit who remain friends despite the rabbit’s uncanny ability to get into trouble. The little rabbit means well and his heart is true, the limited text and descriptive illustrations make this book great for a wide range of age groups and my son loved the Rhino!

Books About Animals


Animaliaby Graeme Base is iconic in teaching circles, you can loose yourself for hours in the detailed illustrations. The book is an alphabet book on steroids! Each page had a wonderful paragraph in each letter such as for the letter L ” Lazy Lions lounging in the local library.” The pages are filled to the gills with pictures of things that start with that letter as well. Parents and kids a like will fall in love!

” How Big Is A Pig” by Claire Beaton has fast become a favorite in our house around bedtime. 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.

“Stellaluna” by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who looses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she is happy. and likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book!

” 1, 2, 3 To The ZOO” by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it perfect for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals because parents can read it slowly counting , naming the animals and making the animal sounds, or more quickly just
counting!

Have you seen my cat?” by Eric Carle is a fun look at different kinds of cats large and small around the globe in an easy repetitive book with predictably great illustrations.


” Oh, Tucker!” by Steven Kroll is cute story about a clumsy excited dog , with colorful illustrations and kids love how he “whams” into everything!


” An Extraordinary Egg” by Leo Lionni is a very cute story about three frogs who find a wonderful egg, thinking it must be a chicken egg they are excited to have a new friend when the chicken hatches, even though it’s really an alligator! Kids love this story because they think these are the silliest frogs ever for not knowing that the chicken isn’t a chicken at all!

” Fredrick” by Leo Lionni is a fable about the importance of imagination. When all the mice are working hard to gather things for winter Fredrick is quietly taking in the sun, and colors they will need to help get them through the dark, cold hungry days ahead. The other mice don’t see why this is so important until everything they have gathered runs out and they need Fredrick and his imagination to help them make it ! Great commentary about art being vital. Your toddler may not pick up on that but you will !


” Brian Banana Duck Sunshine Yellow” by Australian author Chris McKimmie is a whimsical book, that may get some parents wondering if the author is a creative genius or an avid drinker. Kids will love the silly storyline and adults will enjoy the bits of dry wit put in especially for them. There are a few terms that are not seen often in the United States so this book would also be a fun one to use while teaching an international theme. I loved it!


“Brown Bear Brown Bear” by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle is a classic, it is genius in it’s simplicity. So often we think things have to have fancy bells and whistles to keep toddlers and preschoolers interested and this book proves us wrong yet again. I haven’t met a child who hasn’t responded well to this book about colors and animals!

” Hungry Harry “ by Joanne Partis is a cute book about a hungry little frog out searching for his first meal on his own! This is a fun book to read to children learning their letter sounds since it is easy to exaggerate the sounds in Hungry and Harry. It’s a fun story too!


” Good Night Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann is a silly story about a zookeeper and his charges that follow him home to bed. Luckily his wife is on her toes and gets those silly animals back to the zoo ! This book is good for the 1-3 crowd , after that most kids I know have lost interest in the limited text. I love to use this book as a bedtime story.

“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! My students a few years ago were nuts about this book and yours will be too!


” Inside a Zoo in the City” by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a rebus read along , so children who can’t read words yet can help read this with pictures put right into the text! The story is repetitive and builds with one animal and page at a time. Preschoolers love these books and the repetitive nature of it makes it interactive and fun!


” Duck on a Bike” by David Shannon tickles my funny bone. I love this book, the message is awesome too. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try! Also how cute is a duck riding a bike? The illustrations are amazing and your child will love the farm animals .

” Little Penguin’s Tale” by Audrey Wood is a funny cautionary tale about a curious and wild penguin. When the tale almost ends in doom and gloom the narrator changes the end a little bit, so the readers and other little penguins aren’t too sad. Still the message is clear that you can’t ignore the rules without some consequences!

” McDuff moves in” by Rosemary Wells will pull at your heart strings , McDuff escapes the dog catcher and goes at it alone, that is until he finds Fred and Lucy!