by Jeanne Willis (Author), Briony May Smith (Illustrator)
A perfect snapshot of growing up in an older sibling’s shadow, Stardust follows a young girl’s dream of being the family star who always comes in second place to her older sister. Upon reflection due to some wise advice, she recognizes that we are all made of stardust and are all part of a greatness that extends past family and into the universe itself. Award-winning author Jeanne Willis draws us through the exceptional visual stage set by illustrator Briony May Smith. Published by Nosy Crow for ages 2-5 years.
by Piret Raud (Author)
By far the most unusual book I’ve come across in a long while, The Ear is a strange and wondrous tale of Van Gogh’s severed ear and what it will do with itself now that it lacks a head. It reads like a fable or folk tale–polite, but very deep–and has immense power in the illustration details, arguably as curious as the storyline itself. I do have to disagree with the age suggestion being at 4-8 years. I think that the tale would be interesting for younger kids, but would be better as an awesome pairing to a Van Gogh appreciation class of any age or a gift to any mature art lover.
My Funny Bunny
by Christine Roussey (Author)
Confession: I’m a HUGE fan of Roussey’s My Stinky Dog, so its no surprise I fell in love with this one with just one glance at the cover. With the same funny, scribbly, yucky, quirkiness on every page turn, My Funny Bunny did not disappoint! Big on friendship and expectation adapting, Roussey’s books take on everyday kid dilemmas, stuff them full of giggles and ewwws, and turn them loose again, happy and free. Published by Harry N. Abrams for ages 3-6.
The Whole Wide World and Me
By Toni Yuly (Author)
Amazing, and incredibly peaceful, this book is centered around the concept of smaller parts making up larger wholes. A wave is part of the sea, a cloud is part of the sky, and a fish is part of a pond–we are each a part of a bigger situation without separation. Each page is a meditation on the natural world and our space in and among it. Gorgeous minimalistic illustrations in calming colors set the stage for each lesson. Toni Yuly is a gift of peace in a fast-paced world. Published by Candlewick for ages 2-5.
by Thereza Rowe (Author and Illustrator)
This book is so full of ‘70’s nostalgia for me…crisp, bold primary color graphics, unusual die cut peek-a-boo pages, no-nonsense sans-serif black fonts, a runaway dog, and a pack of helpful animal friends…it’s a glorious time machine back to the classics! A fun story told from the dog’s perspective and illuminated with excellent design choices, Stay, Benson! is a keeper! Published by Thames & Hudson for ages 5-6 (and their parents!).
Manners and Me: An Easy-Peasy Guide for Kids and the Grown Ups Who Love Them
by Nancy Dorrier (Author), Ralph Voltz (Illustrator)
A great book for kids and parents, both! Each page is filled with examples and day-to-day situations in which kids find themselves but about which they aren’t always taught. In a busy household, it is sometimes hard to take the time to review step-by-step basic manners and easy ways kids can help out. At school, many kids are learning social customs simply by trial and error. This book is a great reminder to stop and review basic acts of kindness, gratitude, and helpfulness. Published by Brown Books for Kids, ages 3-7.
by Tony Johnston (Author), Amy June Bates (Illustrator)
A beautiful mother-son relationship told through a focus on touch. The hands that bathed the child as a baby to the hands that hugged goodbye as an adult, serve as a gentle reminder that we all grow up and time never stays still. Delicate illustrations by Amy June Bates emphasize each precious snapshot in time. Published by Candlewick for age range 4-6, but this book would also be an amazing college graduation or wedding gift.
Steve Goes to Carnival
by Joshua Button (Author, Illustrator), Robyn Wells (Author)
In Rio, a zoo keeper and a gorilla share a love for jazz, leading to the gorilla’s escape through the city during Carnival. This is a great book for any grade doing a unit on Rio, as each page captures the sights and sounds of Carnival as if one were local. The illustrations are beautifully textured and vibrant and do a great job mimicking sound, movement, and smell. Excellent read! Published by Candlewick, ages 5-8.
Link to book:
I Can Only Draw Worms
by Will Mabbitt (Author)
It’s an absolutely adorable book with jusssssst enough counting to call it a counting book. With silliness and misadventure on every page, your kiddo is sure to enjoy it! We’ve read this one front to back and back to front, and it always gets laughs. Listed by Penguin Workshop as 3-5 years, I think the range of kids that will appreciate the humor is probably 3–8+. Enjoy!