Most of the books on this list are picture books, which most often are recommended for ages 4+. With all of the books below, we started reading them at an earlier age, due to the accessibility of the stories through illustrations. At different times, we will read the full text, or we might tell a much abridged, or higher-level version based on how the audience (17 months and 3 years) is feeling. Whichever way they are read, these books bring joy and deepen our love of reading every time. They have made the "parents are able to read multiple times in a row without cringing" list and more than that have touched our hearts and become familiar friends to visit and curl up with for many years to come.
This is a book to enjoy over and over again. And each time through, to re-imagine the text that accompanies the detailed, animated, and life-giving illustrations by David Wiesner in Mr. Wuffles! It is amazing how after many times through this book, one only begins to discover the many layers of context, story, and interplay between Mr. Wuffles and the groups of characters involved. It is a rollercoaster of emotion from elation and joy through dismay, suspense, deep collaboration and bonding, exhilaration, hope, and a longing for home. It is exciting through the last page and is sure to inspire emotion through story telling in even the most unanimated of readers.
After discovering Jerry Pinkney, and already having a love for the tales of Margaret Wise Brown, we were very excited to discover A Home in the Barn, which is a collaboration between the two. Neither disappoints in this case, where both the text and the pictures bring to life the seasonal change to winter on a farm, as well as the character of the animals who live there. When reading this book, you can feel the drop in temperature through the howling wind and frosty trees, as well as the contrast of warmth inside the barn of sweet smelling hay, animal heat in close quarters, and an atmosphere of high life thankful for shelter.
The Lion and the Mouse was our first introduction to the glorious world of Jerry Pinkney. His illustrations transport through time and space and convey all the senses through what is only seen. Testimate to this, there are no words in this book, the illustrations tell the story of the mouse and the lion and the famous fable that results from their meetings. Bringing to life not only the mouse and lion themselves, but also their context - the harshness of the sub-Saharan desert, each one's family and respective roles as providers and protectors. One realizes quickly that to let one's gaurd down in this environment is to perish. Brought to the forefront is the unlikely tale of how kindness in a cruel world can at times lead to salvation - if only for a short time more.
An introduction to perspectives, They All Saw A Cat, is another gorgeously illustrated Caldecott Medal Winner. Using minimal words, poetically written, the illustrations portray how one creature appears to a multitude of others. Bringing in elements of tangible perspective the author/illustrator Brendan Wenzel, adds a lens of emotion through colour, shapes, sizes, and patterns. Using the story's characters, Wenzel makes a complex theme accessible through the perspective of each animal and shows the worlds of difference that exist all around us.
Endearing through characters, concept, and of course, cats. Anyone who is a cat-lover, will appreciate and likely come to treasure Millions of Cats. A charming tale of love between a Very Old Man and a Very Old Women and eventually, the most Beautiful Cat in the World. Beautifully written, it is a pleasure to read aloud and charming in bringing to life the lesson that sometimes more is less. Although, as any real cat-lover can relate, it is likely always going to be hard to pass up a collection of beautiful kittens.
How can you tell we all love cats ... !!
More good reads to come ...