Some Picks for Little Ones

If you don’t have kids under the age of 6, then stop reading right now. I’ll be back soon with adult fare.

If you do have kids… I thought I’d devote a post to my favorite new children’s books. I have three year- old twins, and here are a few books that I look forward to reading at bedtime.

LlamaLlama Llama Red Pajama and Llama Llama Mad at Mama, by Anna Dewdney. I never thought I’d rush off to the bookstore to buy a book for toddlers the day it came out, but I did. When I learned that there was a sequel to the adorable Llama Llama Red Pajama, I had to have it as soon as possible. Red Pajama is about a little llama who won’t go to sleep, and Mad at Mama is about the same llama’s frustration at a day of shopping with his mother. Both books are a lot of fun to read – simple rhymes that kids can follow but clever enough to please the parents.  And the drawings are great too – little Llama’s anger and frustration, as well as his tenderness toward his mom, are beautifully conveyed in Dewdney’s simple drawings. My girls love these two as much as I do.

Knuffle Knuffle Bunny Too, by Mo Willems. This is a very recent addition (a gift from great-Aunt Jan), and I immediately fell in love with it, especially the drawings. Basically, imagine black and white photos of the Upper West Side with the characters drawn in over them. And a good plot too: a little girl and her classmate accidentally go home with each other’s stuffed bunny. They each awake in the middle of the night, realizing they have the wrong bunny, and make their dads trudge to Columbus Circle to make the swap that same night. This book is a sequel to Knuffle Bunny, which we don’t have.

T_rexT. Rex Trick or Treats, by Lois Grambling. We read this at Halloween but it’s so cute it can entertain year-round. T. Rex doesn’t know what to wear for Halloween, but his dinosaur friends are dressed and ready to go, so they convince him to go out as a frowning dinosaur (his smile is evern scarier, as it shows off his teeth). The page where he’s shown trying on a bunch of costumes – a ballerina, a cowboy, Groucho Marx glasses – gets me every time (see left).

HobermanThe Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman. I have no idea how this book got into our house, but it’s a good one. The rhymes are fun to read and my girls really like it. However, its plot is a little bit depressing – a mom of seven picky eaters gets progressively more exhausted and defeated as each of her children is born (culminating, of course, in twins). The ending is uplifting and I ultimately like the book a lot, but the piles of laundry scattered around and the mom’s longing looks at her unplayed cello may hit too close to home.

Would anyone like to share other new favorites?


  • Amy Carden Suardi
    November 27, 2007 - 7:55 am | Permalink

    Hi Gayle,
    Great suggestions! I love to hear what kids books other parents love — since we have to read them so much, might as well love them too.
    I find myself turning to my own childhood favorites (Tiki Tiki Tembo, Corduroy, the Frances series, Dr. Suess, Caps for Sale, etc.).
    Here are some favorites people might not have heard of:
    Thundercake (a grandmother soothes her grandaughter’s fear by making a “thundercake” together during a storm)
    Queenie Farmer Had 15 Daughters (and they live in the barn in a herd until they start getting older and wanting more and more independence)
    Fancy Nancy (endearing and funny tale about a little girl who goes over the top in her love of fanciness)
    I don’t have these yet, but they looked interesting (from Parenting magazine’s Books of the Year, 2007):
    Lily Brown’s Paintings (a child’s paintings come to life; great watercolor illustrations)
    A Seed is Sleepy (all about seeds, where they come from, how they grow, and the many things they become; illustrated by Sylvia Long)
    Thanks again for the hints. Now, it’s off to Amazon for some Christmas shopping!

  • Nancy West
    November 27, 2007 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Hi Gayle and everyone,
    This is fun. We like “Seven Silly Eaters” too, and I bet you and I received it from the same source! As a friend who was reading it once said, where did the parents in that book find time to make homemade bread?
    Here’s one of my new favorites: The Milkman by Carol Foskett Cordsen. The rhymes are very soothing and the pictures are charming old-fashioned drawings reminiscent of Robert McCloskey’s picture books. Another good one we’ve recently discovered is “If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo.” Happy holiday reading all!

  • November 27, 2007 - 10:17 am | Permalink

    “black and white photos of the Upper West Side with the characters drawn in over them”
    Sounds like an inspired approach!

  • Amy Weiswasser
    November 27, 2007 - 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I love anything by Todd Parr. Probably the Peace Book, or It’s Okay to be Different are my favorites. We are also enjoying (again and again and again and again…)The Hello, Goodbye Window (Jan does it again!) by Norton Juster. Enjoy!

  • November 27, 2007 - 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great suggestions, Amy, Amy and Nancy!

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