I started taking a children’s book writing class because, you know, fantasy work-from-home job. The class has made me appreciate how hard it is to craft a kick-ass kids’ book–one that grabs my daughter’s imagination AND doesn’t make me want to shoot myself when I have to read it 100 times on demand. I thought I’d share some of our favorites with you, and I’d love to hear yours in the comments section!
1. DRAGONS LOVE TACOS – Absurd and hilarious, this instructional manual for throwing a perfect dragon taco party ends in disaster when the dragons mistakenly ingest spicy salsa and accidentally burn a house down by breathing fire on it. Just dragons being dragons. The last word in this story should be “Again!”
2. KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO – Two little girls accidentally swap their identical stuffed bunnies and orchestrate a 2:30am exchange in the middle of Manhattan with their sleepy daddies in tow. Through this misadventure, the rival girls become friends. Suspenseful, with a warm and fuzzy message, just as mama likes.
3. EXTRAORDINARY JANE – Penguin Young Readers sent me a review copy of this charming Hannah E. Harrison book, and I’m so glad they did. It tells the story of an “ordinary” puppy who worries she can’t live up to the extraordinary members of her circus dog family. In the end, she realizes just being herself makes her special. An especially great read for kids with siblings.
4. LITTLE OWL’S ORANGE SCARF – Little Owl loves his mommy but doesn’t love the itchy orange scarf she knitted for him. My 3yo howls as Little Owl tries to purposely lose the scarf, especially when he attempts to mail it to Peru, which is apparently a very funny word. There’s no daddy mentioned in this book, making it a great gift for my single mommy friend who prefers to keep things simple.
5. PETE THE CAT: I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES – Pete’s white sneakers change colors each time he steps in something, like a pile of strawberries or a puddle of mud, but it doesn’t bother him–he just keeps singing. All the Pete the Cat books are great at teaching kids to keep a positive outlook, but this one invites kids to play along at home, guessing the different colors his shoes will turn. Lots of fun.
6. DON’T SPILL THE MILK – Penda tries so hard to bring Daddy a bowl of milk without spilling, only to be thwarted by a falling mango. Daddy says the milk may have spilled, but not the love she carried in that bowl. So touching! Plus, it’s set in an African village, and the bright, colorful illustrations expose kids to another side of the world.
7. SNEETCHES AND OTHER STORIES – One of our favorite Dr. Seuss books, Sneetches includes lesser known masterpieces like “What Was I Scared Of?” (about an animated pair of green pants) and “Too Many Daves.” Take this one on a trip and you’ve got four stories in one.
8. A VISITOR FOR BEAR – Bear is a loner with a big “No Visitors Allowed” sign deterring guests. But when a persistent mouse worms his way into Bear’s life, Bear realizes how nice it is to have a friend. My daughter loves Bear’s meltdowns (“This is impossible! Intolerable! Insufferable!”) and I love the stealth vocabulary lesson.
9. BIG RABBIT’S BAD MOOD – Maybe it’s because my dramatic daughter is 3 going on 13, but she’s fascinated by moods, especially the beasty, hairy bad mood personified monster style in this relatable story about a bunny’s bad day. Bonus points for using the word “booger.”
10. EVERYONE POOPS – Bought it to help with potty training, kept reading it for the giggle factor. My kid knows it by heart. And yes, I was driven to google “snake poop” so we could figure out where it comes out (under the tail, duh).
What are your favorite books to read aloud right now? Leave yours in the comments!