Toddler with a picture book.
Books

The Best Children’s Picture Books (Part 1)

Book cover of The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

“Sophie opened the door, and there was a big, furry, stripy tiger. The tiger said, “Excuse me, but I’m very hungry. Do you think I could have tea with you?” Sophie’s mummy said, “Of course, come in.” 

This is a story about a friendly tiger who stops in for tea time and eats everything in sight!  He clears out the pantry, the fridge and even drinks all the water in the tap before he thanks them and goes on his way. Sophie’s daddy comes home from work and seeing that there is no food left in the house he suggests they go out to a cafe for a treat. The next day Sophie and her mummy go out to the shops to stock up on groceries and they make sure to purchase a tin of tiger food in case the tiger ever comes to visit again. 

Book cover of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

“Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy…” 

The dog, Hairy Maclary, goes on a walk down the road and is joined one at a time by other doggy friends with silly names like “Hercules Morse” who’s as big as a horse! Or his friend “Schnitzel von Krumm” who has a very low tum. The creative names and seeing the trouble the dogs get into makes this a fun read! 

Book cover of Miss Rumphius

This story follows the life adventures of a woman named Alice (or Miss Rumphius) as she travels the world, works in a library and eventually settles in a small cottage by the sea.

Alice would say, ‘When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.’  ‘That is all very well, little Alice,’ said her grandfather, ‘but there is a third thing you must do.’  ‘What is that?’ asked Alice. ‘You must do something to make the world more beautiful,’  said her grandfather. ‘All right,’ said Alice. But she did not know what that could be.”

As she grows older and wiser, Alice remembers her grandfather’s words and she ponders how she will make the world more beautiful. This delightful story prompts you to ask that same question in your own life.

Book cover of The Story Book Knight

“Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed. While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read. He was kind to every creature. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. When Mom and Dad said, ‘Knights must FIGHT!’ he couldn’t quite see why.” 

Leo the mouse and his faithful horse Ned venture out on a quest to tame an enormous red dragon. On the way they meet a snarling griffin and a hungry troll and Leo convinces them not to fight him but to listen to a story instead. When he arrives at the town that’s been destroyed by the dragon he is also armed with “the most amazing book with loads of dragons in it” and the Dragon is intrigued. We love the rhymes and rhythm in this book. It’s a lot of fun to do different voices for the griffin, troll and dragon along with, of course, a squeaky voice for Leo.

Book cover for Up in the Garden Down in The Dirt

“Up in the garden, we snap brittle stalks, scoop rustly armfuls, and wheel away weeds for the chickens. While they squabble and scratch, we spread compost over the soil. Down in the dirt, pill bugs chew through last year’s leaves. I give a gentle poke. They roll up tight and hide in plated suits of armor, roly-poly round.”

The word choices in this book are perfect! Every word feels carefully chosen, creating an immersive story. I love books that connect children to nature and give them language for what they’re encountering out in their own backyards.

Book cover of Corduroy

“Corduroy is a bear who once lived in the toy department of a big store. Day after day he waited with all the other animals and dolls for somebody to come along and take him home.” 

This childhood classic was published back in 1968.  The story of Corduroy builds on that sneaking suspicion children enjoy that their stuffed animals really are alive and have adventures of their own after nightfall.  I love this book for keeping that childlike hope alive. Corduroy is an adorable character and children love seeing him find his forever home with his new friend Lisa.

Book cover of The Magical Garden of Claude Monet

I wish we had a garden” said Julie…”As soon as I have finished this painting,” said Julie’s mother, “I’ll take you on a journey to the most wonderful garden in the world. It belongs to my old friend, the painter, Claude Monet.” 

The first time I read this book to my oldest son he looked at me and said “Wow, that was a beautiful book”.   I think he summed it up perfectly.   Laurence Anholt models his illustrations in his book after Monet’s style.  Laurence Anholt has written and illustrated a whole artist series like this for children including Van Gogh, Leonardo Davinci and Picasso.  Anholt’s Artists series is a wonderful introduction for young children to influential artists.

Book cover of Treasury of Jillian Jiggs

“‘Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs! It looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!’  ‘Later.  I promise. As soon as I’m through, I’ll clean up my room. I promise. I do.’

Now, Jillian meant every word that she said, but later the promise flew out of her head. When Rachel and Peter started to shout, Jillian had to, just had to go out.” 

I grew up reading Jillian Jiggs so she has a really special place in my heart. Jillian has an unrivalled imagination and she makes a glorious mess of her bedroom in no time at all. My favourite detail in the illustrations is how her little sister tags along for all the fun.

Hi! I’m Christy, a happy wife and mother to three boys, a nutritionist, a food lover and a Canadian. Creating and experimenting in the kitchen is my idea of an afternoon well spent. To me, a clean kitchen is an empty canvas of possibility and that means my kitchen never stays clean for long. My dream is that one or more of the recipes I share here will inspire you, perhaps even becoming a cherished family favourite.

4 Comments

  • Emma-Jane

    Hi Christy, just discovered your blog, it is so wonderful! Very inspiring, beautiful and all the topics you write about are very close to my heart! I’m excited to keep reading
    I love your picture book recommendations, some staples in our house, and a few I’m excited to check out at the library.
    Here’s a few of our summer favourites: Hello Lighthouse , Sea Glass Summer and we are the Gardeners. I have learned so much from the podcast readaloud revival and their booklists
    Hope you are well, keep up the great work, excited to read more!

    • Christy Faber

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Emma-Jane. I am eager to check out your summer favourites. I’ve never heard of those first two! I am also a big fan of read aloud revival. You can’t beat her excitement about books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *