Your Must-Have Kids’ Book List: Part II

I once had my finger on the pulse of adult contemporary literature. But, alas, those days are behind me. Why? It’s simple: I read approximately six hundred times more children’s books than I do adult books. Sadly (and shockingly), this is not an exaggeration. My daughter completed the “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” challenge at our local library in about three months. And I read an adult book and a half in that time. Yipes.

It appears that my area of expertise has shifted a bit. Last year, at the request of a friend, I posted a list of kids’ books that I love (if you missed it, here is “Your Must-Have Kids’ Book List”). And, since writing that list, I’ve come across many new and wonderful books to share with you! This sequel to the original list is in two parts: 1) books that have been published since I wrote the last list, and 2) my daughter’s current favorites. Enjoy!


Board books:

These little gems feature lovely photographs of fruits and veggies in every color of the rainbow (I guarantee you’ll see a fruit or vegetable you’ve never seen before!). They are great primers and a good way to get kids excited about eating their nutritious foods.



My daughter loves trucks (“VROOOOOOM!”), and this is easily one of the best truck books around. Each page features a different truck (from a fire truck to a cherry picker) with a rhyming poem explaining the truck’s job.


Picture books:

I can’t say enough good things about Brendan Wenzel. His illustrations are whimsical and beautiful, and he is a delightful person (see below). This book, his first as both author and illustrator, is a great lesson on point-of-view/perspective. The book shows how different animals (a dog, a bat, a snake, etc.) see things differently.


Adorably illustrated anthropomorphic forest critters plus a sweet message. Like the bear on its cover, this book is a winner.


The story is a little trite, but, HOLY SMOKES, the illustrations are GORGEOUS.


Three words: wise walrus soliloquy. There’s nothing more that needs to be said, really.


Alexie wrote The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indianwhich is a fabulous (though controversial) middle-reader novel. This is his first foray into picture books. It’s not the greatest, best developed story, but it’s one of the few picture books featuring a Native American family. I can get behind that.


I lived in Senegal for a while (years and years ago), and this book brought back memories of traveling in a car-rapide. I’m a big fan of using books to introduce my daughter to places and things she isn’t exposed to at home.



My little one just turned sixteen months old. Thankfully, her attention span has grown beyond the most basic board books. If she likes it, she will gladly sit through a decently long picture book (often multiple times in a row). But she definitely has her preferences. In case you’re looking for a book for a kid of a specific age,  my goal is to update this list every few months. Here are her current favorites (in no particular order):

img_6978You’ll notice that this is the only book that appears on both my list and Molly’s list. Molly has now met Brendan Wenzel twice (first at the Decatur Book Festival and then at a reading at our favorite local bookstore), and they have become fast friends. Here they are palling around.

Molly can’t get enough of this book. She will get it down off the shelf saying, “Cat! Cat! Cat!” Then she helps my husband or me read it aloud. Every time the word “cat” appears, she says it out loud (and it appears a LOT). She also has fun practicing her animal sounds (panting like a dog, buzzing like a bee, making fish face, etc.). She’s still a little young to understand why each animal sees the cat differently, but that will come. I have a feeling this is a book we’ll be enjoying for a long time.


Molly and I were introduced to this book at a story time specifically for itty-bitty kids. It has a lot of repetition and rhythm and is often read almost like a song. Here is the author reciting it:


Molly received this book with a little Peter doll (available here) for her birthday. My husband is a master puppeteer and will read this to her while having Peter-the-doll act it out. She is a huge fan (and so am I!). 




Honestly, this book is kind of annoying. But Molly loves it. I have no idea why.


A brief synopsis: a grumpy bear, Bruce, steals some goose eggs to make a delicious recipe he found on the interwebs. But, before his dish is complete, the eggs hatch, and the goslings imprint on Bruce. Molly LOVES the page where the goslings call Bruce “Mama!” and Bruce jumps back in surprise. She calls this book “Mama,” and it is adorable.



These books are basically interchangeable, so I’m counting them together as one. They are the cheesiest books in all the land, but they have very sweet messages. And Molly can’t get enough of them.


I have no idea why Molly loves this classic so much. It has a lot of words, and the pictures are mostly black and white (with splashes of color). But, if she had her druthers, we would read this to her seventy-five times a day.


Molly is OBSESSED with dogs. This is a counting primer with ten dogs (and one cat). Each dog has a different sound (barks, yips, arfs, etc.). I think she likes to hear me make ridiculous dog sounds. Who can blame her?


My kid can get behind any book that features mooing, clucking, quacking, or oinking. This has been a favorite for several months now.


When it’s story time, Molly will often bring a stack of Patricelli books over. This one appears to be her current favorite, probably because it features a dog named Oscar.

BONUS! A Few Books to Watch for in 2017:

  • Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel


  • Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson (a follow-up to Gaston)




4 thoughts on “Your Must-Have Kids’ Book List: Part II

  1. Christie,

    My 6 month old and I love these posts! We are a bilingual house and I thought I’d share some of Mathilde’s favorites currently for the 6m age group:

    Tails by Matthew Von fleet
    Un elephant qui ce balançait by Marianne Dubuc
    Bébé dino by pakita, charlotte ameling
    Dix Petit Bisous by Alex Saunders
    Mathilde’s Cat by Emily Gravatt
    Pop mange de toutes les couleurs by Alex Saunders (This is by far her favorite. She likes to spend 5 whole minutes on each page and then goes in for a bite)

    She adores books even at 6m. She likes the Mathilde’s cat book because she knows that at the end, the cat loves…MATHILDE !!!! The Un Éléphant Qui Ce Balançait book because I sing it to her and make her fake fall when all the animals Fall. She loves Bebe Dino because it is very interactive.

    • I forgot to mention that most of these books are also available in English!

    • Love this list! We are obviously not a bilingual house, but Molly has several French books. I may have to add to her collection–I will definitely check these out. Thanks for sharing!

      Molly was also a huge fan of the multi-sensory books at six months (and, to a certain extent, continues to be now!), and von Fleet definitely has some fantastic ones. DOG is Molly’s personal favorite (for obvious reasons).

      Keep me posted on Mathilde’s favorites!

  2. Pingback: These Are the Books You Should Read (According to My Two-Year-Old) – I Know What You Should Read

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