Note: this blog is not sponsored. I have, however, added affiliate links to Amazon where you can find the books (see my disclosures page).
A few weeks ago we joined our library’s summer reading club and very quickly filled up all 60 spaces in our notebook. We love to read!
It made me happy to realize that we go through so many books in a day. When we aren’t reading to my daughter, she’s often looking at books on her own. It’s not unusual to find her sitting in her room snuggled in with her giant stuffed moose, books piled around her as she waits for the sun to light up her Gro-clock (our tool for letting her know when she can start the day).
We have only just started going to the library regularly. We used to buy all our books and I have spent so many hours trying to figure out which book to get next whether it be to add to our collection or give to a friend.
Before I list my family’s favourites, I think you need to know a bit about our taste in books. We can’t stand Goodnight Moon. I know it’s a classic but both my husband and I dread reading it, even though we tend to enjoy books that rhyme. We also tend to avoid Runaway Bunny and I refuse to add Love You Forever to our collection because it will just make us cry.
We really enjoy books with a fun rhythm and anything with quirky characters my husband can give funny voices.
0-2 years old (the books we bought big G as a baby and eventually put away until little G arrived):
This is a ‘touch and feel’ book for really little kids. In typical Dr. Seuss fashion the story rhymes and has a fun rhythm to it with really fun words and characters. There are also spots for kids to touch and feel or lift throughout the book.
The Going To Bed Book – Sandra Boynton
The pictures are cute and the book is written in a fun rhyme. It didn’t take long for me to be able to recite this book with my eyes closed, but I don’t ever get tired of reading it aloud. I actually read it to baby G every night as part of his bedtime routine. The story runs through the bedtime routine of the animals, including a workout (which just gives me a chance to say “that’s silly”).
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball – Vicki Churchill
This was another instant favorite for me. I love reading this book so much, when we lost our first copy I went out and bought another. It’s another fun rhyming story you will quickly memorize. It’s a fun story to tell; the main character sometimes likes to SCREAM, make funny faces, or stand still as a tree. Of course, at the end of the day he likes to curl up in a ball beside his parent which is a nice way to wind down.
0-4 years old (the books we bought when big G was a baby and continue to read)
Hooray for Fish! – Lucy Cousins
We bought this quickly while on a vacation when we realized we had forgotten to pack any books! We were away over mother’s day so it was a fun surprise to realize the fish “little fish” loves the best is mom (happy sigh). This book is bright and colourful and provides some learning opportunities (colours, counting, opposites and more). For a while we discovered something new on the pages each time we read it.
You Are My I Love You – Maryann Cusimano Love
This is a new book we just received as a gift for baby G but we also read it to big G. It is so sweet (without making us cry)!
“I am your parent; you are my child.
I am your quiet place; you are my wild.”
Sweet, right?! It’s a whole book of sweet lines like that. With each new page I found myself saying “yes! That’s so true!” in my head. I’m pretty sure big G enjoys it as well.
Little Owl Lost – Chris Haughton
I’m not sure if you can tell by the picture, but this book has been very well loved in our house. It’s one of my husband’s favourites. I think it’s the first time I noticed the awesome funny voices he gives to the characters (and somehow remembers each night). I’ll never forget the first time I heard big G doing some of the sound effects along with him (like the munching of cookies at the end). Essentially a baby owl falls from her (his?) nest and a squirrel is trying to help her find her mommy. She’s big? Is she a bear? Long ears? A bunny? Big eyes? Must be a frog! We also love the pictures.
Bears on Chairs – Shirley Parenteau
“Four happy bears on four small chairs. Not a bear has to share.” That is, until Big Brown Bear comes along and wants to sit down. The characters are adorable, the story fun to read, and there is a lesson to be learned about sharing! As big G got older we had her count the chairs, and asked her if we thought there was room for everyone as the bears start pushing chairs together. It’s a book that has been in regular rotation for almost four years now.
Are You My Mother? – P.D. Eastman
This is a cute story about a baby bird who has hatched but his mother is not in the nest. He decides to go and find her but doesn’t know what she looks like. It is another one of my husband’s favourites (though, he has changed it to “Are you my daddy”). What I like about this book is that it is part of a series of classics that have been edited down for younger readers. When they’re little longer books can be too much (ok… it’s me. Sometimes I need the shorter book to hurry along bedtime)
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way board book – Alice Schertle
“Horn went ‘Beep!’ Engine purred. Friendliest sounds you ever heard.” We love the original “Little Blue Truck” book but this is the one we have at our house and we all love it equally. Written in rhyme, there are colourful characters, and there is a good lesson about how you treat others. The Little Blue Truck is such a friendly character, and my daugther loves finding “us” in the crowds of people standing on the streets on the pages and making the sounds of the instruments in the parade. This is another story we don’t mind reading night after night.
2-6 years old (the books more suited for an older child that I think we’ll continue to read for years to come)
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
Your day really can’t get worse than Alexanders; he has gum in his hair, his sweater is wet, his mom forgot to pack a dessert in his lunch, and he didn’t get the sneakers he wanted! This is a classic. When my dad read it, he didn’t quite see the charm that we did. It really is a story about a horrible day. The only lesson is that some days are like that (even in Australia). I really can’t explain why we love it but it’s a book that is often included in our three choices at bedtime. Maybe we all relate to his plight (especially our three-year-old).
Knuckleball Ned – R. A. Dickey
We are huge Blue Jays fans in my house and we bought this book at the Rogers Centre in Toronto while attending a game. Written by pitcher R.A. Dickey and it’s the story of a ball who is nervous on his first day of school and has no idea what kind of ball he is. He quickly becomes friends with Sammy Softball and Connie Curveball, and discovers how mean the ‘Foul Ball Gang’ are. It’s a story about standing up to bullies and gaining self confidence. Any baseball fan in your home will love it.
Goodnight Already!– Jory John
I absolutely love this book! It is a really fun story about a very tired bear and his very awake neighbour, duck. Duck wants to play cards, start a band, make smoothies, or talk all night but poor bear just wants to go to sleep! Again, we have so much fun making voices and acting out some of the scenes (tapping big G on the nose and making knocking sounds). We have so much fun reading this book I’ve started buying it as a gift for friends who have new little ones (because let’s face it, parents need to enjoy the books just as much as the kids)
Treasured Classics – Michael Hague
We have three books similar to this one, packed with classic tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man and Jack and the Beanstalk. There aren’t many pictures but I like to think that forces my daughter to use her imagination more. Some nights I’ll grab this book and two others but big G will say “no, let’s read three from this book.” And for some reason, that makes me so happy.
The Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson
What starts off as a sweet story about a girl, her paper dolls, and a wild imagination turns in to a story about loss. We borrowed this book from the library at just the right time, as our two dogs died one day apart. It was hard for my daughter to understand but this story talks about how things might be gone from your life but they live on in your memory. My nephew didn’t like the part where the brother cuts up the dolls but big G didn’t mind. We look for this every time we go back to the library. We will likely add it to G’s birthday list.
What are your family favourites?
Here are a few others we borrowed from the library and loved: