I love lists, and lists of books are the best. In preparation for a rainy Thanksgiving and Christmas book shopping for my kids, I looked over our book shelves and made a little list of my favorite five books of this year for kids under five—although Kid 1, who is seven, still enjoys them, too.
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
One day, a penguin finds a pinecone, and it’s the beginning of a wonderful friendship. The story is told with few words and beautiful pictures, and you are left with a heartwarming story about two unlikely friends who stay close even though they live far apart.
Bats and the Beach by Brian Lies
Quick, get the moon-tan lotion and pickled skeeters, because the night is just perfect for bats at the beach. Written in whimsical rhyme, this is the story of a night-trip to the beach and all the fun bats have while there. I get a kick every time I get to the picture of the snack bar: a bunch of bats hanging off the ceiling, helping themselves to the bugs that are attracted by the light of an old light bulb. And then the kids are off to bed, belting “Going into Hibernation” (sung to the the tune of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”). The words to the song are on the inside back cover. There might be Bats at the Ballgame under the tree this year, or maybe Bats at the Library…
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Once a year, the animals meet for a night of dancing, where warthogs waltz and tigers tango. But poor Gerald’s legs are too long and wobbly to dance—until a cricket teaches him that we all can dance when we learn to listen to the music in our hearts. This book is written in perfect rhyme and a particular favorite of Kid 3 (age 2). He cried when we had to return the book to the library, so of course I HAD to buy it for him.
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
On our way to school, we drive past a big construction site, and every day Kid 3 is in heaven (mom not so much… too much traffic). At night, Kid 3 always wonders why the “diggers” are not moving anymore, so this book was perfect to explain that all the construction vehicles go to bed at night. The illustrations in this book are wonderful!
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
An old favorite! My sister and I already looked at this book when we were little and went to visit Grandma. There aren’t many words in this book, and I sometimes wonder why the pig family would drive all that way to the beach only to eat, sleep, and then drive back home, but that doesn’t matter to the kids. There’s lots to see on every page, and it’s always fun to see who can find Goldbug first on every page.
Which book (or books) do you recommend I give my kids for Christmas?