1. Grumpy Bird / Boohoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard. Love the bird books by Jeremy Tankard. They are quirky, odd and they crack my kiddos up.
2. Pearl Barley and Charley Parsley written and illustrated by Auzzie actor and writer Aaron Blabey. One of the very loveliest kids books I've read in a long time, about two very different young friends who make each other feel exceptional. It's an award winner too :)
3. Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller (I've mentioned her before. She also wrote Do Unto Otters, which is a wicked cool book about kindness and manners for the tot set). Who woulda thunk that anthropomorphizing a doughnut could be so darn engaging? But it is. Case closed!
4. We Share by Robert Munsch. Dirty little kidlit secret #1: I will come right out and admit that I am not actually a huge (or as Mr. Munsch would say, HUMONGOUS) Munsch fan. I find him a bit, well, over the top most of the time, and just about all of his stories feature the traditional family to boot. But this one is actually a funny look at a tricky topic for kiddos, and it throws in some funny commentary about gendered expectations as well.
5. Heart and the Bottle / The Incredible Book Eating Boy, by Oliver Jeffers. Oliver Jeffers is, hands down, likely our family's favourite author. And in his newest book, The Heart and the Bottle, he tackles the topic of the loss of a loved one in a gentle, engaging way. It's just beautiful (and nice to see Jeffers bringing out a female character too!). And, as I love books about loving books, The Incredible Book Eatirng Boy is a laugh out loud goofy read about reading. As per usual, his illustrations are breathtaking. And my very own incredible book devouring boy gives it a two thumbs up. If you haven't already introduced yourself to Jeffers work - do! You won't be sorry.
6. Zen Shorts / Zen Ties by Jon J Muth. These books are rather interesting, following a wise old panda named Stillwater and some kids from his neighbourhood. The prose is spare (very zen-like, that) and sometimes I find it a bit too spare. But my Boy-o LOVES them. There are interesting story-within the stories taken from zen teachings which are pretty neat. The stories themselves are on the long-ish side, so best for kiddos with long story attention spans. Beautiful illustrations round out the books nicely.
7. There's a Big Beautiful World Out There by Nancy Carlson. A book about big fears written just for little people. Now maybe it's because I have a terrible problem with anxiety, but I really loved this book's take on living with and taking on your fears. Lovely illustrations, too, by I also really love that this book was written on September 12, 2001.
8. Grump Groan Growl, by bell hooks (and that isn't a typo, she doesn't capitalize her name). hooks is a feminist philosopher that I've studied quite extensively in university, and she has also branched out into kids books. Some of her stuff is pretty existential and a bit tricky for kids to take in. But Grump Groan Growl is a fantastic look at a bad bad mood. The prose is spare, and the illustrations by Chris Raschka are perfectly grumpy. We really like it for those bad mood days.
9. Tin Lizzie, by Alan Drummond. If you live with a small person who is a vehicle enthusiast, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Tin Lizzie. The book looks at the history of cars and delves into the modern problems borne of too many cars - air and noise pollution, overcrowding on the roads, etc. The writing isn't overly exciting, but the ideas behind it definitely are.
10. Orange, Pear, Apple, Bear and Monkey and Me, by Emily Gravett. Two of Girlio's current favourite board books are the above mentioned by Emily Gravett. Orange, Pear, Apple, Bear is a clever play on words and illustrations, and Monkey and Me is a must for any baby monkey-lovers. Girlio loves to "oooh-oooh-ooooh" along with the little girl protagonist and her monkey exploits.
11. In My Den, In My Tree, In My Nest, In My Forest, In My Patch, etc., by Sarah Gillingham. Again for the baby set, these books are all finger puppet books with really beautiful illustrations. The prose is very simple, but the finger puppets and illustrations can keep the books relevant to your little toddler-monsters too.
This brings us to dirty little kidlit secret #2. I really don't like Eric Carle books. Except The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? My kids like 'em. And everyone else on the planet seems not to mind them. But I don't love 'em.
And last but not least - in case you're dying for even more dirt on the best of the best of kidlit - I've found somegreat blogs dedicated to that very thing! And the latter blog has many, many more blogs devoted to great emerging kid lit!