These books are all outstanding examples of the all-time best in children’s picture books and early readers, but have sadly been allowed to go out of print.
They include stories first published over 30 years ago that still stand head and shoulders above the competition, and others that are more recent but were taken off the shelves too soon.
Some are rare and expensive (good for collectors or special gifts), others are still relatively easy to find and reasonably priced, but may not be for long.
(Left: The Reading Chair from Loxly Hollow; you can find this and more of this artist’s artwork for children at Loxly Hollow on Etsy.)
I urge you to consider buying these before they disappear altogether, as they are truly special books, and you may well find that they become favourites of not only your children but your grandchildren as well. (I know this because that is exactly what has happened in my family with some of the very books on this list!)
What a hoot. You said it.
Two little birds sit up on a power line in Annette Simon’s Mocking Birdies, alternately chatting companionably and driving each other nuts with teasing mockery. Sound like any siblings you know? Read the rest of this entry »
This is a very small but incredibly well-written book of silly poems about dinosaurs. Better than the vast majority of children’s poetry that I see these days. VERY hard to find, but worth looking for, especially for a child who loves dinosaurs.
Where To Buy
Walking the Bridge of Your Nose: Wordplay, Poems and Rhymes
Michael Rosen has produced a fantastic book of poetry which employs tongue-twisters, wordplay, and other linguistic tricks. Kids will enjoy both the hilarious poems and the introduction to some of the wonders of language.
Selected by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers, Eva Moore, Mary Michaels White, and Jan Carr – Illustrated by Marcia Brown, Leo & Diane Dillon, Richard Egielski, Trina Schart Hyman, Arnold Lobel, Maurice Sendak, Marc Simont, and Margot Zemach
A wonderful cornerstone to any child’s collection of poetry books. Included are poems from children’s favourites like Mary Ann Hoberman and classic authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Langston Hughes, with pictures by beloved illustrators from Arnold Lobel (“Frog and Toad”) to Maurice Sendak (“Where the Wild Things Are”). The poems are cleverly divided into nine themes, including “Story Poems” and “Mostly Nonsense”.
Oh, seldom seen and never heard
was Quentin Fenton Herter Third.
BUT . . .
Quentin Fenton had a Shadow:
never good and always bad! Oh,
he was bad as bad can be,
was Quentin Fenton Herter Three.
I just love a book that dares to be different, not just for the sake of difference itself (which can backfire when it comes to story quality), but rather for the sake of presenting a seldom-heard point of view, particularly when that premise is obviously the result of genuine thoughtfulness. Read the rest of this entry »
Bad Cat–evil feline genius, or just a well-intentioned but misunderstood kitty? Either way, Bad Cat (the book) is a wildly entertaining tale of mischief and misunderstanding that I highly recommend. The story of a grinning cat with a twinkle in his eye, who is constantly stirring up excitement, Bad Cat is a fun book that teaches both kids and parents a great lesson—that misbehaving occasionally doesn’t make you “bad”, and getting into scrapes isn’t the end of the world, as long as your intentions are good and your heart is in the right place. Read the rest of this entry »
I do not like this concert hall.
This concert hall’s no fun at all. . . .
But I like the music in the street . . .
Don’t be fooled by that first line! This fabulous book is a wonderful introduction to the joys of both “street” music and symphonies, to the irresistible music of various ethnic communities and the rousing strains of orchestral music. Read the rest of this entry »
“Follow me!” said Monsieur Pip, heading for the dressing rooms. “I have exactly what you need!”
SO THE KETTLES WENT IN . . .
When it comes to concepts taught in early childhood, we all know the drill: alphabet, numbers, shapes, colours, opposites. These are the basics, obvious to everyone, the building blocks that prepare children to understand more complex ideas.
But there are also concepts that we take for granted as adults, but which do not simply become apparent to youngsters one day out of the blue, like magic. One of the most ubiquitous of these is the idea of patterns. How DO toddlers and preschoolers learn what stripes, polka dots, checks or paisley are?
One answer is: they learn them from Dayle Ann Dodds’ The Kettles Get New Clothes. Read the rest of this entry »
Look how tired this Mommy is
Tired and frumpy
Oh, what a grump!
A fun, rhythmic story great for reading aloud to babies, Grump will also delight parents with its dead-on portrayal of an exhausted mother contending with a busy, curious toddler. Read the rest of this entry »
In Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch we are presented with the disconcerting notion of what life would have been like in the household of this painter of notoriously peculiar works of art, if the bizarre creatures in his paintings were quite real—and living in his home—rather than just figments of his slightly skewed imagination. Read the rest of this entry »
Donna O’Neeshuck was chased by some cows,
And also by mooses and gooses and sows.
It happened one day
When Donna at play
Patted a cow on the head.
Anyone who has ever read anything by Bill Grossman, such as My Little Sister Hugged An Ape, knows that they are in for a good dose of laughter and a great deal of cleverness when they open one of his books. Read the rest of this entry »