Just in time for the festive (read: shopping season) I've compiled yet another list of fabulous kidlit to feast upon. (Okay, so mainly I compiled it because I just can't stop myself and I have a terrible addiction to finding fabulous books for smalls. But there are worse addictions, so whatever.) I've started off with my/our top five alphabet books (there are so many out there to choose from, so they have to work hard at distinguishing themselves - but these five fit the bill!), and then morphed into general bookery fun. Enjoy (or ignore - whichever suits your fancy).
1. Lucy Goes to Market: A Magical Alphabet, by Sanchia Oppenheimer with gorgeous illustrations by Imogen Clare. A beautiful, alliterative alphabet book - really, really, unusually lovely. (And especially perfect for people who know a Lucy). (MacMillan Children's Books, 2009).
2. AlphaBETTER by Dan Bar-el and Graham Ross. A really fun alphabet book with a twist. The book description on the back jacket reads: "26 kids find out what happens when the alphabet refuse(s to cooperate." It is a fabulous description of a fabulously wonky alphabet book. And even better, while this alphabet refuses to cooperate, the 26 kids featured sure don't! (Orca Book Publishers, 2006).
3. LMNO peas by Keith Baker. A group of funny, eclectic peas take you through a funny, vibrantly illustrated alphabet. (I seem to be on a bit of an alphabet kick lately, apparently!) (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2010).
4. The Handmade Alphabet, by Laura Rankin. This is an alphabet book inspired by and illustrated with sign language. Each letter features a different shape/size.colour of hand depicting the corresponding sign. Boy-o is currently in love with the idea of signing, inspired by a classmate who signs, and this book is a current favourite. (Penguin Young Reader Group, 1995).
5. The Artful Alphabet, by Martina Jirankova-Limbrick. As self-described, this is a beautiful, artful alphabet. Each letter is a fairy-tale inspired feast for the eyes, with many lettered words and images for children to discover and delight in. (Candlewick Press, 2003).
6. Not All Princesses Dress in Pink, by Jane Yolen (yes, of the How Do Dinosaurs Love to _______ fame). Honestly - the writing is itself is alright, but the message and images of spunky princesses doing spunky non-pink-esque things make it worth a look and then some. (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2010).
7. Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton. Good lord, that sheep is damn cute! The illustrations alone make this sweet read about a sheep who can't sleep worth your while. (HarperCollins, 2005).
8. Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman. Gilman's adaptation of a Jewish folktale about a blanket specially made for a boy by his grandfather, and the blankets' many incarnations and transformations, is beautifully told, beautifully illustrated and just plain lovely to read. (Scholastic, 1993).
9. Cornelius P. Mud ARE YOU READY FOR BED? by Barney Saltzberg (see also C.P.M.: Are You Ready for Baby? and C.P.M. Are You Ready for School?). This book seriously cracks Boy-o up. It is a simply written book about a young pig running through his bedtime routine - but the silly illustrations are what will have your tot in stitches. (Candlewick Press, 2005).
10. Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker Ross. Follow Gerald the Giraffe as he learns that everyone can dance if they just find their own special music. Sweetly told with lovely illustrations. A great read for any child who worries about not being good enough (at anything). (Scholastic, 2001).
11. A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas, by Helaine Becker. A Canadian take on The Twelve Days of Christmas, complete with dancing mounties and squirrels throwing rocks on the curling rink. Cute, funny, and fabulously Canuck. (Scholastic, 2010).
12. My Heart is Like a Zoo, by Michael Hall. I always love it when I find a book that appeals to both of my kiddos. This one does. It is a simple book totally illustrated with hearts. Girlio loves to look at the animals, and Boy-o loves to find and count the hearts each illustration. Throw in the fact that the book helps with feelings articulation, and you've got yourself a winner. (HarperCollins Children's, 2010).
13. The whole darn Charlie and Lola series, by Lauren Child. "I have this little sister Lola. She is small, and very funny." And so begins all of the adventures of brother and sister tag-team Charlie and Lola. Lola is funny, and I quite enjoy reading her dramatic woes and silly shenanigans, as told through the eyes of her ever patient brother Charlie. (If you, like me are put off by most things Disney, while these books have the Disney logo on them, it's because Disney distributes the books for North America (they are British), not because Disney has sticky fingers on the writing of them. The added bonus of these books are, they are paperbacks and very reasonably priced (great for stocking stuffers :)
14. For fans of Dennis Lee who have littler littles, some of his wonderful-est stuff is now available in boardbook format! You can get The Dreadful Doings of Jelly Belly, Alligator Pie, Willaby Wallaby Woo, The Rocking Chair, Silverly Silverly/Goodnight, Goodnight, among others. The illustrations by Nora Hilb are too die for, and Girlio counts them among her very favourite books.