A book can be a hard sell as a gift for a kid (how can it compete with something that lights up, makes noise, or is covered in glitter?), but the right book can have staying power way after the batteries die on other toys. (Or just check these out at the library and save your Christmas budget for the flashy toys that will make you the hero of the hour. Both routes are totally acceptable).
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
I really love the wacky sense of humor that both Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen have and together, they are just an unstoppable force. This book about two friends who are digging for treasure is just so absurdly delightful. I went to a launch party for this book back in the summer and when my dad read it to Ella, I could hear his voice shaking with the effort not to burst into hysterical laughter on every page.
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems
Mo Willems can basically do no wrong. Goldilocks reimagined by him is hilarious and clever, as three dinosaurs set a trap to capture and eat Goldilocks by leaving the door unlocked and three bowls of chocolate pudding at various temperatures on the counter. Also, hearing Ani say “heh, heh, heh” in imitation of one of the crafty dinos is pretty much my favorite thing in the world.
What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
For the animal lovers in your house, this is a fantastic book (I think I read it at least 25 times this summer – by the time we returned it to the library, Ella had the entire thing memorized). Each page features a different animal body part with facts about how various species use it in different ways. I learned a lot too!
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
This is the ideal book to read aloud. It’s not too long, it lends itself easily to big exciting voices, and it makes every child laugh. And who hasn’t worried about swallowing a watermelon seed?
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson
Looking for a classic? This is one of my favorites. And every child I’ve ever read it to seems to love it too. There’s something so whimsical about a ferocious bull who just wants to sit back and breathe in the flowers. And of course he’s the one chosen to go fight in the bull fights in Madrid.