For a paper nut like me, Robert Sabuda is just about the most wonderful guy in the world. His pop-up books are phenomenal and create entire worlds of whimsy and imagination. My favorite is Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-up, which features a countdown of the most fantastical baked goods around! Your children will marvel at the details behind each beautiful morsel. My sons particularly love the fact that the chefs are mice in tiny little toques. Sabuda has written and designed many pop-up books, but this one is, by far, the most delicious.
A few months ago, I reviewed one of the unbelievably charming books in the BabyLit series – Romeo and Juliet: A Babylit Counting Primer (click here for the review). And now they’ve gone and done it again. The amazing literary team that is writer Jennifer Adams and illustrator Alison Oliver has created yet another instant classic in their holiday book A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer. This utterly adorable board book will keep your little drooling darlings delighted with its lovable drawings, all while learning their colors! Scrooge never looked so good, and the added bonus of a hidden mouse throughout the pages will keep even the most discerning baby literati on their toes. Now, I’m an old English major dork so the thought of board books based on classic literature is just about the most wonderful thing to happen. But you don’t have to be an Austen aficionado or a Dickens dilettante to appreciate the brains behind these beautiful books. If I were you, I’d buy all the babies in my life the full set of these. Adams and Oliver have covered many of the most beloved books, from Sense and Sensibility to Moby Dick, all the way to my personal favorite, Jane Eyre. (I always was a sucker for Rochester…) Honestly, I can’t think of anything better than these wee little books – perfect for your wee little bookworm.
You remember David don’t you? Nightmarish kid…bald head…vampire-like teeth? David Shannon’s wicked character is back in “It’s Christmas, David!” and this time he’s on the hunt for hidden presents. David steals cookies…he pees in the snow…he shows his little fanny to the world…and, still, you’ll be begging for more. Shannon’s “David” books are all-time favorites of my boys and I find myself laughing right along with them not only for the delightfully naughty things David does, but for the fantastically brilliant illustrations that perfectly capture his every prank. A must-read for the holidays…fanny optional.
First of all, hats off to any children’s book author who names their main character Rita. There are far too few Rita’s in literature these days and I applaud any writer who brings Rita to life. Thankfully Roald Dahl made use of my favorite girl’s name in the world, Matilda, but Rita definitely runs a close second. Perhaps the best Rita of all is small little mousy haired girl in the red dress in one of my favorite holiday books, Christmas with Rita and Whatsit. This adorable book by French writer Jean Philippe Arrou-Vignod (say that ten times fast) and pen-and-ink illustrator Oliver Tallec is a little holiday treasure. Tallec’s illustrations are just divine – simple, elegant and quirky – and Arrou-Vignod’s text is the perfect anecdote to your run-of-the-mill holiday tome. In this fun book, Rita and her pet…um…dog (?) Whatsit are eagerly preparing for Christmas. Decorating the tree (with sausages, of course) and singing Christmas carols (or, rather, howling them)..and making lists a mile long of every gift they would like to have Santa bring down the chimney this year. But will Whats-it’s incessant barking scare Jolly Ole St. Nick away? Find out in this utterly charming book. (And, here’s a little hint. If you love Rita as much as I do, look for Arrou-Vignod and Tallec’s other Rita books while you’re at it!)
Alright, ladies and gentleman…it’s December 1st and that means our annual countdown of the best holiday books for your little ones! First off, for those of you tired of the same-old ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, fear not! Philip Yates’ A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas is just the thing. This hilarious spoof on Clement C. Moore’s holiday classic will have your children giggling all the way down to their wooden leg. Imagine everything children love about pirates – treasure maps, eye patches, missing limbs, scurvy landlubbers – this book has them in spades. And with Sebastia Serra’s gorgeously whimsical illustrations, this books is a must-have this holiday season. I mean, who could resist a book that begins with ”Twas the night before Christmas aboard the Black Sark./Not a creature was stirrin’, not even a shark!” I know my sons can’t. And, secretly, neither can I. A perfect holiday gift for your little landlubber or scallywag. Check back tomorrow for our next recommendation!
Eve Buntings, “A Turkey for Thanksgiving” is my all-time favorite Turkey Day tale. In it, Mr. and Mrs. Moose are hosting Thanksgiving for all of their woodland friends. Mrs Moose sends Mr Moose out on an errand to get a real turkey for the event. Mr Moose is soon joined by Rabbit, Porcupine and Goat – all ready to get the turkey for their feast. As you would imagine, poor Turkey is terrified – picturing himself roasted and stuffed to the gizzards. But what really happens, is as touching and heartwarming as any moment I can recall. A great read-aloud book for your younger guests that will make you hungry for more.