In no particular order…
1. Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt
The emotional (truly!) and humorous (also truly!) tale of a bug who has the misfortune of being sucked into the belly of a vacuum cleaner.
What kind of reader is it for? An empathetic boy or girl who’ll want a happy ending for the unlucky insect (don’t worry: it gets one—and so does the lovable dog who watches the drama go down).
2. Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett
Orion has many fears, but the one that makes him more anxious than all the others is the dark. Thankfully, he’s able to get over his fear in a rather unexpected way: he goes on an adventure with it.
What kind of reader is it for? Someone who knows how it feels to get scared when the light switch gets flicked at bedtime.
3. This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad
The story of a small girl with an ENORMOUS imagination.
What kind of reader is it for? A child who transforms boxes into ships and cushions into castles with the power of their trusty imagination (just like Sadie).
4. Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson
Leo the ghost is VERY excited when a family moves into the empty house he lives in: he’ll finally have some company! No more drawing in the dust and reading books alone! Hurrah! Unfortunately, Leo’s attempts to befriend the family don’t exactly work out and he decides to leave his home. Fortunately, he ends up befriending someone who can actually see him.
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone who’d appreciate a ghost story that makes you smile instead of shiver.
5. Nature’s Day by Kay Maguire, illustrated by Danielle Kroll
Spring, summer, winter, fall: There are so many exciting things that happen in nature during the four seasons and it turns out that Kay Maguire and Danielle Kroll are a dream team when it comes to introducing young readers to those wonders.
What kind of reader is it for? Backyard explorers and anyone who would enjoy paging through a large, beautifully illustrated book.
6. The Wonderfully Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna
Eddie’s five. Eddie feels like she’s the only person in her family who isn’t good at something. Eddie needs to find her mom a birthday present—FAST! The problem? It needs to be fluffy and little and squishy. Will she find it?
What kind of reader is it for? Boys or girls with personalities as big as Eddie’s who’ll adore wandering around the city with her as she attempts to find the perfect gift.
7. A B See by Elizabeth Doyle
Each page of this board book features a letter of the alphabet intricately illustrated by Elizabeth Doyle; your job (and it’s a fun one) is to pick out all of the things that begin with that letter in the illustration.
What kind of reader is it for? Someone with sharp eyes who’s learning the alphabet.
8. Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc
Mr. Mouse has mail to deliver and you’re lucky enough to get to go along for the ride (“lucky” because Marianne Dubuc’s charming illustrations are full of visual jokes—like the bunny bathroom you can see on the cover).
What kind of reader is it for? Curious kids who’ll enjoy peering inside the homes of all the creatures Mr. Mouse makes his deliveries to.
Find it here.
9. McToad Mows Tiny Island by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by John Hendrix
This “transportation tale” follows McToad as he makes the loooooooong journey out to tiny island to give its grass a haircut. How many vehicles does it take to get him there? Spoiler alert: it’s a LOT.
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone who spends a lot of time playing with toy cars (or boats or cranes or even baggage buggies).
10. Diary of a Time Traveller by David Long, illustrated by Nicholas Stevenson
Travel back through time to meet some of history’s most interesting people (Shakespeare! Marie Curie! Mozart!) with Augustus and his teacher in this book that’s as fun to read as it is informative.
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone who’s ever dreamed of using a time machine.
11. The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
A teeny tiny gardener works very, very hard on his garden, but he wishes he had a little bit of help from someone with larger hands. A not-so-teeny-tiny fellow plant lover ends up coming to his rescue and soon his garden is flourishing.
What kind of reader is it for? Someone who’s happiest when they’re outdoors with their hands covered in dirt.
12. Lazy Dave by Jarvis
Dave is an altogether misunderstood canine. His owner (Lily) thinks he’s lazy—ha! She has no idea what Dave is up to when she’s not around…but you will (if you read this delightful story).
What kind of reader is it for? Dog lovers.
13. Home by Carson Ellis
There are as many different types of homes as there are people (or creatures) in the world and this book by Carson Ellis is filled with a wonderful assortment of them.
What kind of reader is it for? Someone getting ready to fall asleep (this would be a very soothing book to read at bedtime).
14. Young Charlotte, Filmmaker by Frank Viva
Charlotte may be young, but she’s already a filmmaker… a rather misunderstood one: people just don’t get why she prefers everything in black and white instead of in color. Lucky for Charlotte, she finds someone else who appreciates her palette of choice at the Museum of Modern Art.
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone who’s always snatching their mom or dad’s iPhone so they can make movies with the camera.
15. The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond
You’re probably aware that whales are pretty darn amazing creatures, but this informative (and gorgeous) book will make you appreciate the giants of the sea on a whole new level. Did you know that around 50 people could fit inside a blue whale’s mouth? It’s true!
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone who would love nothing more than to go on a whale watching trip.
16. Grandma’s House by Alice Melvin
A lovely book that allows you to (quite literally) explore grandma’s house thanks to pages that fold out and doors that actually open.
What kind of reader is it for? Someone who loves spending time at their own grandmother’s house (or anyone who enjoys a bit of innocent snooping).
17. Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Fred has been an imaginary friend for a long time, but the whole fading-away-when-your-friend-finds-a-pal-who-isn’t-imaginary thing never gets easier…until he becomes Sam’s friend.
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone who’s ever had an imaginary friend.
18. Vegetables in Underwear by Jared Chapman
Vegetables = great. Underwear = also great. Put ‘em together = DOUBLE THE GREATNESS. Who doesn’t want to see an eggplant wearing briefs? Someone who hates fun, that’s who.
What kind of reader is it for? Anyone prepared to giggle at a potato’s butt.
19. I (Don’t) Like Snakes by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Luciano Lozano
A little girl declares that she doesn’t like snakes and her family is perplexed: snakes are great! Read the book to watch them convince her (and you) just how great they are.
What kind of reader is it for? Snake lovers who’ll appreciate learning trivia facts about the reptiles with no arms or legs.
20. Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Lemonade stands are the go-to way for kids to make some pocket change, but Rufus has an imagination and a much better idea: a story stand! Instead of a citrusy beverage, he provides his customers with a story fit to their interests.
What kind of reader is it for? Pint-sized authors.
21. I Will Chomp You! by Jory John, illustrated by Bob Shea
Who knew that the prospect of being chomped could be so much fun? It is with this book (about a monster who doesn’t want to share his cake) that’s just begging to be read aloud.
What kind of reader is it for? Someone who tends to be a little bit greedy when it comes to their own desserts *or* someone looking for a crowdpleaser to read at story time.
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