Every year I receive books that catch my interest but don’t fit into any particular month’s category. So I put them aside for my annual "favorites" column. Below are my "favorites" from this year, from an anniversary edition of a classic story to new books I’m sure your family will love.
HELLO, DAY!, by Anita Lobel, Greenwillow, $16.99; ages 1-3.
As the sun comes up on the farm, the animals are all awake to say hello to the new day. Each page features one animal and its sound, including a cow, pig, dog and a horse. Owl says good night at the end. These colorful pictures are an enjoyable way for little ones to learn sounds. I also encourage you to look at the many other Anita Lobel books.
CORDUROY 40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION, by Don Freeman, Viking, $19.99; ages 4-8.
Remember the story about the little Teddy bear nobody wanted to buy because he lost the button on his pants? He searches around the department store to find a replacement. Corduroy has been enjoyed by families for 40 years. This special anniversary book has eight extra pages and includes original sketches, copies of letters between the author and editor and newspaper articles at the time of Freeman’s death in 1978 at age 69. A story for children of all ages to enjoy.
BORN TO READ, story by Judy Sierra, pictures by Marc Brown, Knopf, $16.99; ages 4-8.
This book is all about a little boy named Sam and how his love of reading helps him as he grows up. Before he can read himself, Sam’s mother reads to him all the time. You may recognize some of the books she reads: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Pat the Bunny and The Cat in the Hat. As he gets older, Sam reads notes and food boxes at the grocery store. One December afternoon, a baby giant named Grundaloon appears in town and ruins the playground and takes the children’s toys. Sam gathers some snacks and his favorite books and uses them to distract the giant long enough to take the giant back to its mother.
GINGERBREAD FRIENDS, by Jan Brett, Putnam, $17.99; ages 4-8.
Gingerbread Baby lives with a little boy named Mattie. When Mattie goes out to play, Gingerbread Baby is lonely. One day Gingerbread Baby decides to ride into town on the family rooster. He goes to the bakery and finds people he would like to be friends with but, because they are cookies, they don’t answer. Gingerbread Baby finds a door in the wall, just his size. Once inside, he falls asleep before he can decide what to do. Gingerbread Baby hops back on the rooster and heads home with everyone chasing him. Once home he spots a trail of cupcakes going up stairs. Shown in a large fold-out page, the reader sees all of Gingerbread Baby’s friends. A recipe for cookies is included with one ingredient or instruction on each page.
TOO MANY TOYS, by David Shannon, Blue Sky, $16.99; ages 4-8.
Spencer has a variety of toys—quiet, noisy, puzzles, video, stuffed, action figures and miniature trucks and cars. After mom and dad keep tripping over them, mom gives Spencer a big box and tells him to fill it with those he no longer wants. That is the problem. He loves them all. After some negotiating, the box is filled. Mom has a cup of tea and a short rest before she goes to get the box to put it in the car. When she gets back, the toys are all on the floor.
Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.