Easter is just around the corner and we should all prepare for the annual visit of “that pesky wabbit.” He hops into our house every year and leaves his treats and gifts. His go-to gift for our household has always been a book (a bunny tale?) and LOTS of chocolate for me (I mean the kids).
So, I thought we could help any bunnies who might be stumped this Easter (or any holiday or birthday). I enlisted the help of my two little guys to choose their favorite books ever! They enthusiastically agreed and we compiled this list for you. We hope it helps. Our list is a little dude leaning and we apologize for that, but girls like trains and construction too, right?!
Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro
This one is a tiny board book with flaps. My guys always liked the peek-a-boo dynamic of this book. It covers the different animals and their sounds. It is suitable is size and content for the littlest of your brood.
2. Freight Train by Donald Crews
Freight Train has beautiful artwork that is simple and colorful. Perfect for small children. It has just a few words, so it was the first book my boys “read”. They really just memorized it, but I let them feel the pride of “reading it.” This one is also appropriate for the smallest kiddos and is a boardbook as well.
3. Machines At Work by Byron Barton
Machines At Work is another boardbook must-have. It is colorful with simple words. Kids love to learn the different machines and what they fix. This book is also suitable for any age.
4. Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
My boys loved this book! We read it so much, I can still recite it from memory. Farm animals are always a hit and the artwork is really nice. It was our first rhyming book that my boys wanted to read. Ours was a boardbook but most of these come in other forms as well. The content is suitable for all ages but might be a little long for really little kids. I got this one when my oldest was around two. It was a great transition to longer books and practice stretching those attention spans.
5. Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney
Llama, llama books are all great, but something about this one really resonated with my boys. It is about bedtime and the llama not wanting to go to bed. He throws a fit, gets in a little trouble, and has to be comforted by his mother. It is sweet and reassuring. My guys didn’t love this book until they were about three.
6. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Tom Lichtenheld
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is beyond adorable! A sweet rhyme about the hard-working machines getting ready for bed and going to sleep. The artwork is so eye-catching, they never wanted me to turn the page. I had to wait for them to take in the great pictures. Ideal for ages 3-5, but my guys still love it. Classic!
7. I Love My Pirate Papa by Laura Leuck
What a fun rhyming story about the son of a pirate captain. Filled with pirate lingo and lots of treasure. The end always makes my boys say “Awwww”. Again, this is ideal for ages 3-5 but I’m 38 and I adore this book. My littlest guy memorized the beginning rhyme when he was two. Very rhythmic and easy for them to hear the rhyme. It’s possible we like doing pirate voices, too! That might explain the next two…
I spent my life a-plundering. My treasures bring me joy. But there’s nothing I prize more than you, my dearest pirate boy”
From I Love My Pirate Papa by Laura Leuck
8. How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long
How I Became A Pirate is a popular book and rightfully so. What a great story about a boy who was building sand castles on a beach and got invited to join a pirate gang. At first he enjoyed the freedom but quickly realized that being a pirate was not for him. He helped the pirates bury their treasure just in time to make soccer practice. The artwork is good (it has to be because at this age, if it’s not – it doesn’t get read) but the gem here lies in the story. It was the first story that didn’t rhyme that my guys really enjoyed. Again, I may like pirate voices and that could be why. I sure hope so. I hope they absorbed the fun of reading. This book is best for ages 4-5.
9. Trick Arrr Treat by Leslie Kimmelman
We found this book last year and it quickly jumped onto this list. A fun rhyming Halloween book about a group of friends who dress up like pirates and run around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. Also ideal for ages about 4-5, the pictures are entertaining for all.
Scurvy scoundrels have a party, playing games and laughing hearty. Count yer booty then let’s eat! TRICK ARRR TREAT, mates, TRICK ARR TREAT!
From Trick Arrr Treat by Leslie Kimmelman
10. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Illustrated by Joe Goodell
I confess I know most of this book by heart (I LOVE IT!), but never can remember the author. So strange that I can’t remember who wrote the most known Christmas book ever. Although my boys didn’t understand the language early on, it is the spirit and magic that Moore captures in his prose that needs no translation. It embodies the wonderment of Santa and the power of belief. I list here a specific edition of this famous story. I saw this version at a friend’s house and rushed out to find a copy for myself. Joe Goodell not only illustrated the book beautifully, but they printed it with Animotion pages. There a parts of the page that as you move them back and forth, appear to move. Whether it be a twinkling light or the train around the tree, it really adds to the amazing story.
I guess we veered off a little with the Halloween and Christmas books, but we felt strongly that we should include our true favorites. You know how easily I get distracted. I really can’t help it. We hope this list is helpful for you if you need any great books. If you have any other books to suggest for others, please post them in the comments section or you can email them to me at [email protected] I would love to hear what you think. Sign up for my weekly newsletter in the sidebar to get updates on what’s going on at ethelruth.com. See you soon!