If you are one of the families that subscribe to the gift guide of “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read” then this is for you! And even if you’re not, but you are scrambling to get a last minute gift for a child on your list, may I suggest books? While Robert Munsch, Dr. Seuss, and Sandra Boynton are always going to be around, sometimes it’s nice to try something new. We are a big family of readers and wannabe readers here and these are our picks for best picture books on our shelves. These books are also available at the London Public Library in case you are done your shopping and just want something new to read!
If you haven’t yet stumbled upon the genius of Mo Willems, you absolutely must start. Elephant and Piggie are the new age of beginner readers. They are smart, funny, and readable for all ages. They are written comic-book-style and will have all kids laughing, and you, too! The latest one, Waiting is Hard, was just released in November.
Like I said, we are big fans of Mo Willems in this house. The Pigeon series begins with Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and ends with The Pigeon Needs a Bath, new this year. My favourite is Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late which has the pigeon echoing many of my own kids bedtime antics. There are board book versions for younger children as well.
David is another character in a series of books, from board books up to picture books. We love David’s wild antics and naughty behaviour and also how he always figures things out in the end. Lately, we’ve been reading It’s Christmas, David! over and over, but the original will always be my favourite.
This book has gotten a lot of attention this year and for good reason. My children laughed so hard they became silent laughers and all had hiccups by the end. Break out the silly voices and embrace the directions in the book. Be prepared to read it over and over. And over and over and over. For a book with no pictures, this one is captivating and entertaining.
To choose one book by Oliver Jeffers would be like choosing my favourite crayon. His picture books are thought provoking and entertaining. My sons favourite is Stuck and my unique little daughter loves The Hueys: The New Jumper. His artwork is memorable and bright.
Like Oliver Jeffers, Peter H. Reynolds pairs intriguing stories with simple, yet beautiful artwork. He taps into the heart of a child with autism in I’m Here and The Dot provokes creativity in the most stubbornly uncreative child. His artwork can also be found in the mother-daughter book Someday (which will bring on all the feels, you’ve been warned).
A young girl embracing changing seasons and a changing family. As a mother of two girls, this one was an instant fave for me and my daughters.
Oh, Sparky. I’m not even sure what it is about this book that is so magical – whether it’s the laziest pet in the whole world or the optimism of the charming little girl who just wants a friend. Either way, my children all want a sloth for a pet and I kind of wish we had a tree to let him sleep in.
I wish there had been a camera on our faces the first time we read this book. The ending is… not something you usually find in a kids book. Do not skip ahead or spoil it, just read it with your kids and watch their faces as you all are enlightened. My kids were shocked and I burst out laughing in disbelief. His follow up book, This is Not My Hat, is equally delightful. If dark humour is your thing, get these books. Jon Klassen also illustrated another award winning favourite, Extra Yarn, written by Mac Barnett.