We are fortunate enough to live three blocks from a public library. Despite our love for it, I fear the librarians see my SVU-sized stroller barely squeezing through the first set of glass doors and can’t help but cringe to see that we’ve come back yet again. You see, both my kids love books. My almost three-year-old has started running her fingers along the pages of books reciting what she can remember from the story as if to read it herself. I love, love, love children’s lit – Eric Carle, Robert Munsch, Kevin Henkes, and Laura Numeroff are favourites I remember fondly from childhood and have been thrilled to share with my kids. To say my son is an avid reader is an incredible understatement. I think “rabid” about reading might be more fitting. On an all-too-regular basis, he grabs whatever he’d like to have read, throws it at me (despite my corrections and attempts at showing “gentle”) and proceeds to scream and squeal with delight the whole way through. Each book concludes with him asking for more. This cycle repeats itself until I finally cut him off.
When I do muster up the courage to head to the library, I tend to coach them beforehand; I exaggeratedly aspirate, “We need to ‘Whisper! Whisper!'” and try to make “shushing” seem as enticing as possible. Within moments of entering the second set of glass doors at our local library, you’d swear my kids were in an amusement park. They run to books as if they’ve been starved for ages, and my son’s shrill excitement cuts through any quiet that had preceded us.
Though I wish their expressions of joy were a bit more covert, it is fitting in certain ways. With my daughter, I see her eyes fill with wonderment as the story unfolds. To her, it is as if the storyline’s possibility is boundless. To me, it’s rampant with nostalgia. To my son, every page is worthy of an ear piercing squeal of delight. Because of their avid interest of being read to, all three of us have developed an especial interest for books wherein the story exceeds the text. Though all of these books do have, at the very least, captions, the way we move through them is different each time.
Five of our Favourite Picture Books Right now
No David by David Shannon
Written originally when the author was five-years-old and stored away by his mom, the author revised, re-illustrated, and published what is my daughter’s favourite book right now. David gets into a lot of trouble. The text is almost exclusively the words in the title, leaving us to point out his antics and discuss why they’re a ‘no-no’.
Zoe’s Year by Barbara Reid
This is one of the most read books we own. The reason? Barbara Reid’s clay illustrations are so detailed and action filled that each recounting of Zoe’s Year yields different discoveries. I don’t know that I’ve ever read the text because I find her art so captivating.
Toddler Treasury by Katie Saunders
This one is one filled with common items and contexts toddlers experience in their day-to-day lives. For my son, who is just learning to speak, it is an excellent source to prompt his expressive language. Both kids love going through the scenes. And, my daughter loves the short stories, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Three Little Pigs, and Cinderella.
Olivia by Ian Falconer
I love this protagonist all too much because I see so much of me and my little girl in this precocious, overly self-assured, borderline bossy little pig. Olivia is full of spunk, she tires her mom out, gets into a bit of trouble (a great conversation started on reminding why we don’t colour on walls), negotiates herself into a couple of extra bed time stories, and finally gives her dear mother a break, and goes to sleep. I love the author’s dry sense of humour throughout. If you can’t chuckle your way through toddlerhood and their books for that matter, what’s the point?!
Moo! by David LaRochelle
A very average looking cow chooses to take a joy ride all throughout this book. Though the only text is “Moo!” the expression is quite varied and wild! Can you tell I like books that push convention a bit?
Have you and yours read any good books lately? Do share! I’d LOVE your recommendations!