I usually read to my daughter while she's eating breakfast. I try to always keep a stack of picture books to choose from on the kitchen table. Sometimes we read those. Sometimes she's feeling picky, and doesn't want to listen to any of my choices, and then she'll go off to the playroom or her bedroom and find something else. A similar process occurs at bedtime (though my husband is usually the one doing the reading). I try not to wear out her favorite titles (or ours), but I have noticed that there are a few books to which she always says yes. This list changes somewhat over time, but right now, these favored titles are (in no particular order):
1. Iggy Peck, Architect, by Andrea Beaty and Dave Roberts. Harry N. Abrams Books. My daughter adores this tale of an ingenious and dedicated architect. She wants to be an architect when she grows up, and this book has certainly contributed to that plan. I like Iggy Peck, Architect and companion title Rosie Revere, Engineer because in addition to conveying a positive impression of science and invention, they are a rhythmic joy to read aloud. The third book in the series, Ada Twist, Scientist, will be released in September, and is already on our wish list. I also just ordered for my daughter's birthday the Peck and Revere Two Pocket Journal, which she is going to LOVE.
2. The Donut Chef by Bob Staake. Dragonfly Books. Full review here. Bob Staake was the second illustrator whose work my daughter could recognize and name on sight (after Mo Willems). We enjoy many of the books that Staake has illustrated, but our family favorite is hands-down The Donut Chef, a fun-filled rhyming tale of a sales battle between two rival donut makers. My daughter gets positively giddy when she spots main character from The Donut Chef, or someone who looks much like him, in other books. Most notably, there is a policeman in Mary Had A Little Lamp who she is sure is the chef in a different job.
3. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall. Schwartz & Wade. Full review here. I know that this book is controversial. That controversy has influenced and enhanced the discussions that I have with my daughter when we read this book. But she loves it, and I like that we have discussions about the changing role of women in families, changes in cooking technology, and yes, slavery. We even went so far as to make blackberry fool one day. She is, incidentally, starting to be able to recognize
4. Blizzard by John Rocco. Disney-Hyperion. Full review here. What California-raised kid doesn't love the idea of a good snowstorm? I think what makes this book special to my daughter is knowing that my husband and I remember the blizzard that Rocco is writing about, New England's Blizzard of '79. But the other thing that keeps us both coming back to this book is Rocco's attention to detail as he merges text and pictures, like the snow that wouldn't stop piled up against a STOP sign, and the grocery items that the boy buys adding up to $19.78.
5. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Balzer + Bray. Extra Yarn is a Caldecott Honor and Cybils shortlist title. It's actually a book that didn't appeal to me on my first couple of reads. It was my daughter who taught me to appreciate it. Over time I've come to enjoy this magical little tale quite a lot, and to appreciate Klassen's subtle details in the illustrations.
6. Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light. Balzer + Bray. Full review here. Louise Loves Art was one of my "books that got away" when I was judging the Cybils Awards for Fiction Picture Books. I loved it at first read, and have continued to find it cheerful and (non-cloyingly) heart-warming. My daughter seems to appreciate both of these aspects, too. She loves the central pun of the title. Louise, a budding artist, loves making art. But she loves her little brother, Art, even more. And the cat is hilarious.
There you have it. Six picture books that my daughter always say "yes" to reading aloud. What picture books are the top hits in your house?
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