My boys are invited to a bajillion birthday parties every year. Seriously. SO.MANY.PARTIES.! And how many gifts are duplicates...and triplicates?! A bunch! I much prefer to give books (I know you're shocked, right?!) So I'm sharing my very real struggle of buying all these gifts for toddlers! This list is made up of new & amazing books as well as gems from a year or two ago that mustn't be overlooked! Each of these would be a welcome addition to any little library! So whether it's a birthday gift or a little package to go under the tree, stick a bow on top of one of these treasures!
Sam & Dave Dig a HoleWith perfect pacing, the multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen dig down for a deadpan tale full of visual humor.
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.
I love Mac Barnett! I blogged about this book here.
Brief ThiefWitty, humorous illustrations of great charm tell this story of conscience and mistaken identity as thoroughly as the book's delightful text. Here a lizard takes the liberty of using what seem to be some old underpants when he runs out of toilet paper. What he doesn't count on is that his own conscience and an outraged rabbit will be watching.
My review of Brief Thief
Three Bears in a BoatFrom the co-creator of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a high seas adventure inspired by the classic picture books Little Bear and Where the Wild Things Are.
Three bear siblings break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, and rather than tell her, they decide to set out in their sailboat to find her a new one. On their quest they encounter salty sailors, strange new islands, huge whales, and vast seas but no blue seashells. When a treacherous storm suddenly blows in, the three bears find themselves tossed about in their little boat, far from Mama. What will become of their search, and what will it take to bring them safely home? This read aloud shares its best qualities with classic picture books: breath-taking illustrations, epic adventure, and a subtle message about taking responsibility for your actions.
I blogged about Three Bears in a Boat here.
Tea Party RulesWhen he follows his nose through the woods, Cub discovers a backyard tea party…with cookies! He is just about to dig in when the hostess of the tea party shows up. And she has several strong opinions on how Tea Party mustbe played. Cub tries to follow her rules . . . but just how much can one bear take, even for cookies?
A laugh-out-loud funny look at the required give-and-take of playtime, Tea Party Rules is an eventual friendship story that will delight grubby cubs, fancy girls, and cookie lovers everywhere.
Ame Dyckman is among my favorite gals! I also featured this book in my Tea Party post.
NinjaA ninja must be strong, courageous, and silent! He creeps through the house on a secret mission. There may be obstacles! But have no fear—a true ninja can overcome all challenges.
Ninjas are just plain fun...which is why I had a whole post about them and all the fun Ninja books!
GastonA bulldog and a poodle learn that family is about love, not appearances in this adorable doggy tale from New York Times bestselling author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Christian Robinson.
This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters.
But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?
See my review here.
Mr Tiger Goes WildAre you bored with being so proper?
Do you want to have more fun?
Mr. Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild.
But does he go too far?
From Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown comes a story that shows there's a time and place for everything...even going wild.
President Taft is Stuck in the BathInspired by a true anecdote, this larger-than-life tale of a presidential mishap is brimming with humor and over-the-top illustrations.
"Blast!" said Taft. "This could be bad."
George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft, a man of great stature — well, he got stuck in a bathtub. Now how did he get unstuck? Author Mac Barnett and illustrator Chris Van Dusen bring their full comedic weight to this legendary story, imagining a parade of clueless cabinet members advising the exasperated president, leading up to a hugely satisfying, hilarious finale.
Another fabulous book from Mac Barnett. My review.
Shark vs. TrainShark VS. Train!
WHO WILL WIN?!If you think Superman vs. Batman would be an exciting matchup, wait until you see Shark vs. Train. In this hilarious and wacky picture book, Shark and Train egg each other on for one competition after another, including burping, bowling, Ping Pong, piano playing, pie eating, and many more! Who do YOU think will win, Shark or Train?
Love this book. Love Chris. And love his fabulous wife and her work too!
Goodnight, Goodnight Constrution SiteAs the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they'll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.
I mention this fun book on this post.
Flora and the PenguinHaving mastered ballet in Flora and the Flamingo, Flora takes to the ice and forms an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, spinning, and gliding, on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other's graceful dance above and below the ice. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results. Artist Molly Idle creates an innovative, wordless picture book with clever flaps that reveal Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as only true friends do.
Documentation of my adoration for Molly Idle and her work can be found here.
Big RigCome along for the ride as Frankie the big rig truck takes us on the job, driving past kiddie cars (school buses) and land yachts (RVs). Hear the horn blow and the wipers schwat the windshield clean. But, BANG! SHHUUU! Uh-oh: a blow-out! Don't worry, a service truck saves the day so we can get the job done and make a very special delivery.
I Don't Want to be a FrogFans of Mo Willems’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back will love meeting this willful young frog with a serious identity crisis. Frog wants to be anything but a slimy, wet frog. A cat, perhaps. Or a rabbit. An owl? But when a hungry wolf arrives—a wolf who HATES eating frogs—our hero decides that maybe being himself isn’t so bad after all. In this very silly story with a sly message, told in hilarious dialogue between a feisty young frog and his heard-it-all-before father, young readers will identify with little Frog’s desire to be something different, while laughing along at his stubborn yet endearing schemes to prove himself right.
I introduce I Don't Want to be a Frog here.
TelephoneIt's time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn't as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama's message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children's game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.
Um, did I mention I adore Mac Barnett? I have a total author crush on him! See what I had to say about Telephone here.
The Most Magnificent ThingAward-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. "She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!" But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right.
My review of The Most Magnificent Thing.