For some reason I thought it would be fun to compile this list of our favorite picture books from A-Z ! I am nuts. Do you know how many books we’ve reviewed? Yeah , I haven’t kept count either. Also for some reason there are a huge amount of great books that start with A? I had a terrible time deciding which to choose. Since I didn’t have a suggestion for X I was a little loose with the rules. I hope you like this list because if you don’t I’ll cry. By clicking the title you will be taken to the original review .
Spring conjures up many images for me and while chocolate bunnies are my favorite type of rabbit these books about bunnies are a close second! These aren’t Easter books, I will do a post devoted to those in the coming weeks and check out our previous Bunny book reviews.
White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker is a classic in my mind and if you have never read it you must. It’s not a complicated story, instead it’s a brilliant book and lesson about color mixing . The cover illustration of the bunny in the paint always makes me think of dying Easter eggs which is another great opportunity to teach about color mixing. Kids love this book and adults reading it will enjoy the fun and dynamic language used to describe the vibrant colors that the bunny plunges into.
Thunder Bunny by Barbara Helen Berger was a big hit with my son although I think I over analyzed it or maybe just didn’t get it. I kept trying to turn it into a metaphor and really the only way to look at it and it’s magical illustrations is how my son did with wide eyes and acceptance. Thunder Bunny is different but magnificent kinda like this book. The text is melodic and the illustrations will keep the interest of a wide range of ages.
Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night by Carol Roth is a sweet story of an only child bunny who wants to share a room and go to sleep with someone else. He ventures out to a series of friend’s houses before eventually realizing that maybe sleeping alone in his own bed is what he really wants. My son loved it , he thought the skunk who sprayed by accident promoting the bunny to leave was hilarious and suggested that bunny should just climb into his mom’s bed. I like it because the bunny learns that he isn’t missing out on anything by not having someone to share a bedroom with , that he has the perfect spot for him after all.
Moon Rabbit by Natalie Russel is a calm, beautiful book about two rabbits who find each other and become great friends even thought they are from different places. White Rabbit is a city rabbit and loves her urban home but is called away by the longing for company. She finds it in a park with Brown Rabbit who is wonderful and plays beautiful music. There is just one glitch White Rabbit misses the city. I loved this book, my son liked it too but it almost made me cry. My husband and I are from different countries and long distance relationships are so hard , I wanted to jump in the book and tell White Rabbit that . I had to restrain myself from saying ” The pressure will be too much , the limited time will make them argue and fight.” when my son pointed out that I shouldn’t be sad that White Rabbit leaves the park and goes home because he comes for a visit in the end. But if ever I projected my on experience onto a book it was this , wow. It really is a sweet tale about friends who can be friends despite physical distance. Oh and the illustrations , they are the very definition of springtime. Lovely.
A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo is a nice book about two bunnies that don’t fit in at school. This book opened a good dialogue between my son and I as we were reading about how both the tallest and the shortest bunny in the class got picked on. The students in their class were mean but not purposefully bullying, they excluded these bunnies because they simply didn’t fit. The part that hit me the most was when the teacher lined the kids up by height, and Amelia the tall bunny was always last. It just made me think of how adults so often single kids out without trying to be terrible, but really hurting them. All that aside, the book itself comes to a nice conclusion and I think it’s worth grabbing for any child tall or short or in between.
I admit I am not a huge fan of fairy tales , as a child the old classic ones scared me and as a teacher I rarely liked the lessons. However kids enjoy them and when my son grabbed one of these books from the shelf at the library I decided to grab three other versions and compare . It was fun to introduce my son to compare and contrast while critiquing these books.
The Three Bears by Byron Barton is a good introductory book to the legend of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It’s as basic as it gets as far as the text goes without loosing any of the story, it’s illustrations are very bold and simple. My son who since getting a sister has been incredibly black and white about girls vs boys and all the differences and was really put off that Mama bear had no shirt on. My son’s quirks aside this book is a good place to start when sharing this classic story with your child.
Goldilocks and the Three Bearsby Caralynn and Mark Buehner was my favorite of all the Goldilocks books we read. I liked the modern text, the pop culture details ( a Smokey the Bear poster on the wall being my favorite) and that it didn’t take itself too seriously. There are hidden images in every picture but I am glad I didn’t notice that note until after I’d read it with my son. They are incredibly hard to find and for my 4 year old would have been beyond frustrating so take a look before announcing it to your child.
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child is a whimsical look at Goldilocks with pictures of a doll , stuffed bears and a real miniature cabin. What I liked about this version were the photos, annd it was impossible for me not to think of the Edith the Lonley Doll when I saw it, but my son who’s never seen Edith still loved the novelty of the photos. What I didn’t like ( although it’s effective) is that I couldn’t anticipate what the bears were going to do to Goldilocks since their expressions were static. I was so worried and rather angry at myself for not pre reading, but there were no gory bits in the end.
Goldilocks by Ruth Sanderson is a more classic telling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears or so it seems at first. The twist to this great book is that instead of scaring Goldilocks away or worse eating her, she is made to right her wrongs by makings beds, fixing a chair and helping to prepare a new breakfast for everyone. I love it because as I try my hardest to teach my son logical consequences having books like this to reinforce it is always a good thing.
Do you have a favorite Goldilocks and the Three Bears book?
Halloween will be here before we know it and all the good Halloween books will be gobbled up at the library soon too. I thought I’d share my favorites now so you have time to grab them before someone else does. Remember preschoolers love to relive special days after they happen so don’t put the books away with your decorations, leave them out a little longer.
Wobble, the witch cat by Mary Calhoun is a vintage story that is charming and much loved by my son. Wobble is a cat who belongs to Maggie a kind old witch , but Wobble hates riding on Maggie’s slippery broom. The other cats tease him and with Halloween coming up he decides to get rid of Maggie’s broom. When Maggie can’t find her magic broom, all she finds is a vacuum cleaner, but will it fly? My son loves vacuum cleaners and thought it was hilarious that a witch would try to fly on one. I liked the idea that witches sweep the sky so that the children can be safe under the stars on Halloween night.
Inside a House That Is Haunted by Alyssa Satin Capucilli was the hands down favorite Halloween book for my 3 year old class in 2005. I must have read this 200 times and even after Christmas had come and gone it was still requested all the time. The story is a rebus read along, so it is repetitive and it builds upon itself. This is great for children who are eager to “read along” before they are able to read words. The repetitiveness allows them to anticipate what is next and feel included. Very cute even after reading it hundreds of times.
Peek-a-Boooo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a perfect toddler Halloween book. The premise is simple, each page has a well known Halloween character including a witch, skeleton, Frankenstein all hiding behind their hands playing peek-a-boo with the readers. The characters hands are flaps and when you lift them they reveal the character’s face – which is always sweet and happy , never scary. At the end of the book there are more flaps to lift to reveal trick or treaters and the same Halloween characters hiding in their haunted house. My son loves this book too and I think it’s a great completely gentle way to read about Halloween with toddlers.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! by Lucille Colandro was a huge hit! It’s a reworking of the classic song ” There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” only this one swallows a whole bunch of Halloween creatures, like a goblin, ghost and of course a bat. She continues to swallow bigger and bigger things much to my son’s amazement! He was giggling through the whole book and the end when the old lay belches he laughed hysterically. It was predictable but I have to admit was a really fun , silly read.
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling! My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive. I loved the simple black and orange colors and had to look at the copyright twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the litt;e girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” . Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!
Book Reviews by Carrie Anne
December is here and at our house that means Christmas. As soon as the Santa Clause parade makes it’s way through town we start getting festive: the Christmas music starts, the decorations begin to go up, the dining room table is covered in Christmas crafts. December also means we can start reading those delightful Christmas stories on the bookshelf. If you’re looking to bring some Christmas into your reading routine, here are a few of my kids favourites:
Written and illustrated by Chris Raschka
Poem by E.E. Cummings
Published by Hyperion
2006 Caldecott Medal winner
Based on E.E. Cummings poem ‘Little Tree’, Chris Raschka recreates a beautiful tale about a little tree’s journey from little tree in the country to a wonderful Christmas tree in his own home in the city with his own family to love him. Rashka’s use of repetitive text gives the story a light, song-like read. The watercolour images with their dark black lines give the impression of stained glass windows and Santa appears here and there, showing how he’s played a part in fulfilling the little tree’s deepest Christmas wish. Even as a board book, my kids and I never tire of reading this wonderful story that’s both beautiful to read and to look at.
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
Published by Philomel Books
Picture Book (2-6)
A farmer lives on a farm with his animals aptly named One, Two, Three, Four and Five. Christmas is almost here but no snow has come. As the farmer naps he dreams of being covered in a blanket of snow and that one-by-one his farm animals also get covered. When he wakes he is greeted by not dream snow, but real snow. This prompts him to prepare a wonderful Christmas surprise for his farm animals. Eric Carle’s colourful collage images you’ve come to expect in his books, fill the pages in Dream Snow. Kids will delight in revealing the farmer and his animals as they are hidden behind snow overlays. But the best part is the musical surprise the farmer prepares for the animals. My kids enjoy hearing the lovely chime at the end of the story.
Christmas ( The Christmas Book in Canada)
Written and illustrated by Dick Bruna
Published by Methuen Children’s Books
Picture Book (4-6)
A simple telling of the Christmas story. The rectangle shape of the book allows for nice wide scenes. The illustrations are simple and child like and focus on the main elements of the story; the pages aren’t cluttered by background images. While the illustrations fill the right hand pages, a few sentences on plane white paper grace the left hand pages. The sentences and story details are simple for young children to understand; the vocabulary too is keep simple. The original book comes with a punch out Christmas Crib scene. We have since lost the scene but the story is still one of our favourites.
Written by Lawrence David, illustrated by Delphine Durand
Published by Random House
Picture Book (4-8)
Peter Claus hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps someday. But then he ended up on the naughty list. Peter doesn’t think the naughty list is fair. He takes his dad’s sleigh and gathers all the kids on the list and bring them to the North Pole to explain to Santa why they did some of the not so nice things. One-by-one Santa takes the kids home while listening to their tales. He agrees if the kids do one nice thing to make up for a naughty thing they still might find a gift under the Christmas tree. This is a great story that realizes it’s hard to be good all the time, but that doesn’t make them bad. ‘All people do naughty things once in a while. It can’t be helped,” Santa explained. “Saying you’re sorry is what matters most.”
Written by Charise Neugebauer, illustrated by Barbara Nascimbeni
Published by NorthSouth
Picture Book (4-8)
Timothy loves new toys but he never shares them with his friends. Christmas morning Santa didn’t leave Timothy a new toy, instead he left him the task of distributing all the presents to the other animals. At first Timothy was very upset, but with the help of his friend Humphry, Timothy realized Santa had given him the best gift ever: the gift of giving. I love Timothy’s need to have a new toy, any toy, thinking that’s what Christmas is all about. But when he gets to experience the joy he creates by giving gifts he realizes how unimportant things are compared to having friends. I like the letter correspondance in the book between Santa and Timothy too, as well as the bright pastal illustrations used throughout.
Carrie Anne is a regular contributor to No Time For Flash Cards, she is a mom of 3 and writer. You can find her every day at her blog Another day. Another thought…or two.