Reading with your little one is one of the sweetest pastimes. This wonderful bonding experience offers tons of imagination, curiosity, and education. While one can never have too many books, there are some great children's books that stand out among the rest.
But what exactly make a kids’ book great? When searching for the best books for my son Liam (2-yo), I always look for three particular things. First, it must have eye-catching illustrations. The artwork needs to be fun, vibrant, and visually appealing. Second, I look for content that is easy to recite. Simple phrases, amusing words, and great rhymes are ideal. Third, the book needs to be safe and top quality. With a little tot, books will inevitably be tasted and chewed, and I want to ensure the paper and ink are both non-toxic.
Liam and I scoured the top kids’ bookstores for books with the above requirements and, after much ado, we would like to introduce you to the five must-read books for summer 2015.
While toddlers are just beginning to explore the world with their hands, eyes, and ears, introducing them to board books is perfect. Board books are durable and the content is brief, making them ideal for rough handlers and very short attention spans. Better yet, this Dress Up board book by Home Grown Books is simply adorable. Cecile Dyer created the artwork for this sweet book, and her illustrations are very charming. There are bold lines, bright colors, and a goofy, big-eyed cat, which are all key elements that excite young readers.
The story involves this silly cat, a character all little ones adore, trying on different pieces of clothing and accessories one by one. With just one fun word per page, the flow of this book is super simple and delivers the message to the audience quickly. In fact, the simplicity is my favorite part of this book. It gives me the flexibility to make up my own funny stories while reading, and my son loves it! All books from Home Grown Books were printed in Brooklyn, New York.
So this isn’t just one book, it’s a set. But these adventure books are so wonderful, I had to include them all! Perfect for creative little readers ages three through six, this set offers “reading material as rich as their imagination.” As their minds are expanding and their love of reading increases, this set offers incredibly vivid artwork and a simple but unforgettable rhythm about fun adventures around the world. The Adventuring Pack includes seven exciting books, which is perfect for every day of the week! All books from Home Grown Books were printed in Brooklyn, New York.
No childhood is complete without exploring the magical world of Richard Scarry! In particular, The Best Word Book Ever is our favorite out of all of his books. In this book, your little ones learn about all the various components inside Richard Scarry’s busy animal world. From bears to pigs to rabbits and more, your kiddos see these animals dressed up in clothing and living their daily lives just like humans. While all children love that type of make believe community, Richard Scarry’s books are particularly rich and full of cute details. Little readers learn about quantities, time, seasonal changes, colors, jobs...you name it! Words are affixed to every item in this fun book (hence, Best Word Book Ever), making it ideal for pre-readers and early readers.
Mercer Mayer is another prolific kids’ book author and distinctively wacky illustrator. Out of all of his books, Professor Wormbog in Search of the Zipperump-a-zoo is our top choice. First of all, the story is hilarious and very wild! The main character, Professor Wormbog, is a collector of beasties and monsters. He searches all over the world to find his missing Zipperump-a-zoo, a whimsical creature vividly depicted in the book.
Secondly, the illustrations are quite fantastical and incredibly fun, which is always necessary for children’s books. My son and I love to find all sorts of awesome details inside the book, such as a group of silly worms wearing hats and scarves while waving goodbye. Lastly, the moral of the story is positive and very sweet for all growing youngsters: you usually already possess the things you desire the most.
Usborne Publishing has a terrific collection of kids’ books, but the pull-back transportation books are their very best. This Busy Train Book, in particular, is a must-have for toddlers. It’s a big and durable board book, it’s very colorful, and it includes train tracks and a pull-back toy train to run throughout the book. Toddlers are so tactile while exploring the world; this joint book and toy adventure is plain genius. This combination helps build motor skills while simultaneously educating your munchkin on this form of transportation.
The Busy Train Book is part of a series of many pull-back transportation books, so you can pick and choose based on what your toddler enjoys the most. You can select a train, bus, helicopter, airplane, bug, car, and more!
Whether it’s part of a nighttime ritual or a fun afternoon activity, reading with your kiddos is always a blast and provides so much more than you may think. As the wise Dr. Seuss once remarked, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Along with writing a classic kids’ books collection, Dr. Seuss was spot on about reading being one of the best adventures out there. It yields so much for your youngsters beyond the exciting, colorful pages. So go ahead, grab the wonderful kids’ books above and enjoy this imaginative time with your little one!
Is there another incredible book that you think should be on this list? Tell us about it in the comment section!