Choosing just fifteen favorite books was difficult for me because I have two children: one very girlie-girl who is 3, and one rough-and-tumble boy who is 20 months. Some of these are Zach's favorites and some are Isabel's favorites. Most of them are favorites to both -- just to greater degrees at different ages and stages. Without further ado, and in no particular order ...
I Love You, Stinky Face, written by Lisa McCourt and illustrated by Cyd Moore, is definitely the all-time favorite in our house! Similar to the children's classic Runaway Bunny, this board book follows a child questioning the depths of a mother's love. "What if I were a big, scary ape? Would you still love me then?" The child's mother repeatedly offers creative solutions and ways to show she loves him even then. My kids love travelling through the child's imaginations, pretending to be a smelly skunk or a slimey swap monster and eating yummy bugs like a green alien from Mars. And the illustrations are delightful. Bon appetit!
Toes are to Tickle was written by Shen Roddie and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. I was given this book at my baby shower for Isabel. Now, three years later, we are on our second copy. We have read this book nearly every night and every morning forever! It is a delightful tale of family and life with simple, warm illustrations. Definitely a favorite -- and one I now give as shower gifts!
Inside Noah's Ark by Charles Reasoner takes much longer to read than you might think. It has very little text, but my kids love playing a 'Where's Waldo' type game with all the animals pictured! This is the strongest board book I've found. It's fantastic. See my full review of this book here at CCBR.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? is by Dr. Suess. My mother got this board book for Isabel when she was first learning her animal noises. It quickly became a favorite! It's small, a perfect size for keeping in the diaper bag for emergency 'calm downs'. My kids love trying to make all the sounds Mr. Brown can do ... from crowing like a rooster to whispering like a butterfly.
Cars, Trucks, Planes and Trains is by Fisher Price and features the 'Little People' characters. It is a sturdy lift-the-flap book that both my kids 'read' almost every day. Each two-page spread focuses on a different area of learning -- shapes, colors, counting and matching. It's a wonderful, interactive teaching tool.
bright baby trucks is one book that is just Zach's. He won't let his sister touch it! It doesn't have any text -- just names and photographs of different kinds of trucks, but he LOVES this book. You can find him several times a day looking through it and imitating the sounds of each truck. The bright colors are fabulous.
Izzy the Lizzy by Renee Riva is not just one of my kids' favorites; it's one of mine, too! This book teaches children about mercy by following a lizard, a spider and a bee. Isabel loves the gently dangerous tale and the whimsical illustrations. (Her grandfather occassionally calls her "Izzy", so that adds to the attraction.) See my full review of this book and another by this creative author.
Peekaboo Kisses by Barney Saltzberg is a touch-and-feel book with full-page flaps for infants to open. Kids can feel the wool of a sheep, squeek a mouse's belly and more. Each page reads "Peekaboo, I see ..." and then names the animal and the kisses. It's so sweet and colorful! It ends with a non-breakable mirror. What kid doesn't love that?
The Circus Alphabet by Linda Bronson is a delight to read. My kids love the pictures and the easy rhymes. Isabel has the book memorized and now "reads" it to Zach! Each page of this book features one or two letters of the alphabet with full-page photographs of claymation-type characters from the circus. It's bright and colorful.
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess is terrific for teaching colors and emotions. In this vivid board book, children learn it's okay to feel different ways. Somedays we're happy and pink and somedays we feel down and brown ... Another great addition to any toddler collection.
My Bible Storybook is part of the God Counts! series. It features 3D pieces and shaped cut-outs. Of all the children's Bibles we have (and we have many!) this one is the favorite. It's not a whole Bible, but covers some major stories in short rhymes. The pictures are bright and inviting. Check out the full review here on CCBR.
My kids adore every book in the Cow Adventure Series by Todd A. Smith. Each one follows Cow and her farm animal friends as they learn about God. See my full review of Cow in the Rain, an adaptation of The Good Samaritan parable found in Luke 10. Cow at the Circus relates to children the story of The Prodigal Son. Each book is filled with comic book type illustrations, colorful and bold.
Angelina Ballerina , written by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig, is a must-have for every little girl's library. Angelina is a sweet, little mouse who loves to dance. It's filled endearing illustrations. My daughter loves this book! (And the series of corresponding videos!)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has seen better days in this house. We've worn it out! Kids love counting and naming all the foods this growing catapillar devours. Filled with vivid colors and small cut-outs perfectly sized for tiny fingers, it is with good reason this book is Eric Carle's most popular.
I'd Be Your Princess is the newest addition to our list of favorites. Isabel has insisted we read it every day (sometimes several times in succession) since we got it! Every girl dreams of being a princess. This book by Kathryn O'Brien (illustrated by Michael Garland) encourages that dream while reminding readers there is more to being royalty than just priviledges. The author teaches godly character and responsibility throughout the book's adventures. Scripture is sprinkled throughout. It's a wonderful book! Stay tuned for a full review coming soon.