Books as Gifts
2012 Buying Guide
Books for 0-4 year olds
Colorful pages to turn, a warm lap to sit on, and the familiar voice of a mom, dad, sibling, or grandparent — no wonder books are associated with love among young children. These 22 books are perfect for reading aloud with kids ages 0-4, and are recommended for their gentle stories, award-winning illustrations, and lyrical language.
A Mary Blair Treasure of Golden Books
A collection of early Golden Books illustrated by an artist who (as stated in the introduction) influenced Disney films are presented in a new, larger format. Though retro in feel (and reality) the playful stories, poems and songs effectively capture the joy in simple things.
African Animal Alphabet
Stunning animal photographs are presented from Antelope to Zebra. The Jouberts share their expertise, insight and information along with the photographs in this attractive book that can be shared at different levels.
Rounded dinosaurs from A to Z are presented with an alliterative text sure to delight young paleontologists. Similarly, in Colorasaurus dinosaurs stampede across a colorful prehistoric landscape.
A cheerful, much loved baby hears everyday sounds when at play, on a walk outdoors, and in the car. Even the youngest child will enjoy sharing this sweet, simple book with an adult.
Bea at Ballet
Readers learn about what dancers wear as Bea and her friend, Sam, prepare for their ballet class. In the class of chubby preschoolers, they share the joys and humor along with other young dancers through simple language and crisply lined illustrations that capture the experience.
Lillian, Tilly, and William J. start their energetic adventure when "They choose a spot. They spot some ewes." The homophones and silliness continue until the exhausted cats relax with a good book. Boldly shaped, colorful illustrations illuminate the animated, rhythmic language.
Dini, a young dinosaur, desperately needs a bath after playing in the mud. Young readers will quickly figure out that before he washes, he must take off his shoes, pants, etc. The repetition is sure to delight the youngest as they identify what Dini has left. Text and simple, flat illustrations show "Dirty Dini Dinosaur" as he splashes in the tub and into his loving mother's arms.
Duck Sock Hop
Ducks don daring socks for their weekly Duck Sock Hop. Colorful, textured illustrations of ducks in top hats and amazing socks dance through the pages, an effective accompaniment to the alliterative, animated rhymes.
Fluid verse and detailed, bordered illustrations present the water homes of a range of fish. Those interested in finding out more about the individual creatures presented may want to locate Stockdale's informational picture book with the same title.
I Like Old Clothes
An imaginative child shares her pleasure in old clothing, repurposing them and finding joy in imagining the history, mystery surrounding them. Soft, expressive illustrations accompany the lively rhythmic, rhyming text.
A red sports car with an attitude challenges a train to see who can get to Chicago first. Even loaded with freight, the train handily wins but graciously offers the car a ride home. Train lovers of all ages will enjoy the humorous portraits of the vehicles' personalities and the staccato text.
In the Woods
Short, rhyming verse combines with outdoor scenes as a boy and his dad share a camping trip. Their day is presented from fishing to cooking their dinner, until the boy — with "Nodding head/Time for bed" — is carried into their tent by his dad.
Kite Day: A Bear and Mole Story
When Bear looked at the sky and smelled the air, he ran to get his friend Mole. Together they make and fly a kite. A sudden storm tears the kite away from them but disappointment turns to satisfaction in this affably illustrated story told with repetition and onomatopoeia.
Little Tug isn't the tallest, fastest or biggest boat in the harbor but he is able to push, pull and guide each of his larger friends to safety. And they respond with affection. Little Tug's day is presented in simple language and carefully crafted, expressive illustrations.
Look Look Outside
Just outside a baby's window there is a world of activity and goings-on. Stylized illustrations in bold black and white line with text in green are just right to share with very young children, perhaps to encourage conversation and observation.
Mice on Ice
Colorful mice are shown skating when the outline of a cat appears on the ice. The cat with a hat winds up joining the skating party. Limited vocabulary is enhanced by vibrant illustrations that together create mild tension to move the tale to its sunny conclusion.
Poetic language introduces a moonlit evening when "Moonlight slides like butter", touching sleeping rabbit, “butters Rabbit's dreams/.../shakes him out of bed..." to dance in the field. Darkly hued illustrations touched by butter yellow evoke the gentle night and its wonder.
Snowboy 1, 2, 3
"One snowboy all alone" begins the count to 10 then reverses to count down to where it started. Computer-generated art is colorful with patterned, wintery icons and images. The sound of language and the interesting visuals make the counting — and the book — satisfying.
Ten Tiny Toes
It's hard to resist babies and baby toes which are "a hundred times sweeter than one could suppose." A sweet, rhyming homage to babies, families, and a lifetime of affection is presented here with textured, softly colored illustrations.
The Big Book of Words and Pictures
On each sturdy, oversized page appear numerous pictures and labels generally grouped by subject such as music and musical instruments, things that go, etc. Though small, the illustrations are distinct and clear, often with a story imbedded.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
The wonder of an owl and its owlet begin the traditional verse. Other animals with their young from around the world are cozily pictured with rich riffs on the familiar ditty. The final picture is a human mother and child gazing at the star. Music appears on endpapers.
Morning routines may never seem the same after sharing day's start with a small, chubby knight in armor and his long-eared dog who climb a ladder to wake up large dragons. Cheerful, bright, amusing illustrations and catchy rhymes propel readers to the satisfying start of the day.
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