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Must-Have Children's Books

Raise your hand if you love children's book as much as I do! In this post, I'm sharing a few of my favourite must-have children's books. I absolutely LOVE them and have been collecting since I could read. Even as a little girl, I had an appreciation for words and illustration. Without further ado, here are my top picks!

Big Bug

by Henry Cole

“Big Bug” is written in the most simplistic way, yet deals with the very complicated topic of scale. On one page, the reader will find a little ladybug on a large flower, but on the next page, that same flower with the once-large ladybug has decreased in size. Now the reader sees a large dog standing next to it, making the flower and ladybug smaller. This zooming in-and-out effect happens throughout the book.

You’ll find very little punctuation and no complete sentences in “big bug”, and the text will get bigger and smaller depending on the image. The illustrations are also simple, but absolutely beautiful, also created by Henry Cole.

I love this book because it shows how something can look very different depending on where you’re standing, and from which angle you’re seeing the object.

It’s a fun book that will get kids questioning why certain objects are tiny on one page, but huge on another! This is a personal favourite of my son’s. Now that he’s 4 and old enough to begin understanding the concepts of scale and perspective, this book will act as the perfect text-to-world reference for when we start creating our own scale-masterpieces!

Bear Has a Story to Tell

by Philip C. Stead

Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

“Bear Has a Story to Tell” is a gorgeous book that highlights the concepts of hibernation, friendship, and patience. It’s written and illustrated by a husband and wife duo, Philip C. and Erin E. Stead. They are award winning (Caldecotte medal to be specific!) and one hundred percent talented.

As winter is coming Bear wants to share a story with his friends, but they’re all too busy getting ready for winter. While Bear starts to feel worried that he won’t get to share his story before winter comes, he still finds the time to help all his friends. In the end, after winter has passed and spring has sprung, his friends gather round to hear his story, but Bear’s forgotten! That’s when his friends return the favour and help to remember.

This book is so gentle and full of beautiful imagery that it makes my heart swell each time I hold it in my hands. The illustrations are mixed media and a delight to behold. “Bear Has a Story to Tell” is an absolute treasure.

Where the Wild Things Are

By Maurice Sendak

Yes, I know this is a classic, and most people already know about its existence, but it’s a must have on my list! “Where the Wild Things Are” is a Caldecott medal winner, and rightfully so. In my mind, everything about this book is perfect, but was made even more special to me once I had a boy. My son truly is a wild thing, and a boy’s imagination and wonderfully wild spirit is perfectly portrayed in this very wild story.

After the main character gives a little attitude to his mother, he gets sent to his room with no dinner. While in his room, he imagines a world of wild monsters and he becomes their king. After sending the monsters to bed without their dinners, he starts to feel lonely, and lets his mind wander back to reality. There, he finds a hot dinner waiting for him, from a mother who loves him, even if he’s a wild thing.

The writing is whimsical and metaphorical and just amazing. The illustrations are unique and bursting with depth and texture. If you haven’t read this story to your little ones, you’re all missing out!

Monkey Business

By Wallace Edwards

“Monkey Business” by Wallace Edwards teaches idioms in a literal and comedic way. His illustrations are detailed, absolutely beautiful, and full of wonderful whimsy. Edwards is a Governor General’s award winner and talented artist.

As a teacher, the thing I love most about Edwards’ books is the place they have in the classroom. Not only are they all a beauty to behold, but they also teach some aspect of the alphabet or figurative language. A few of his books focus on idioms, which are tough phrases to learn, especially if English is not your first language. While “Monkey Business” is one of my favourites from him, Alphabeasts and The Cat's Pajamas are a couple others that have become favourites in our household.

Bonus Book!

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

By Al Perkins

“Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” by Al Perkins is one of those super fun books that your kids will make you read again and again! There was even a time when my son had it memorized and we read through the book together. The large-to-small text forces the reader to read some words loudly and other words quietly, and because it ends on a quiet note, this book makes for the perfect bedtime story. “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” is definitely a winner!

There you have it! These are just a few of my favourite, must-have children's books. What's on your bookshelf? I'd love to hear from you and add to my ever-growing collection. Leave a comment on this post or come say hi over on Instagram. Oh, and if you like this post you will LOVE our book reviews and if you're a teacher, our novel studies too!

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