My son loves books. For months he’s known what the word means — when you say “bring me a book,” he finds one and brings it to you. Today he said it for the first time. “Book! Book!” I’d read several and he was looking for more.
Here are his favorite books at age almost two:
- The Monster at the End of This Book (Jon Stone & Michael Stollin). Is two too young for a postmodern book? Apparently not! This is a brilliant book that deconstructs the book. Byron has only experienced it as an ebook. He has spent literally hours at a time paging through it and listening to Grover beg him to stop reading it.
- Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (Alice Schertle & Jill McElmurry). When it comes to reading time, this one has got to be the most requested title. Once we got the sequel, it quickly joined the rotation. His emotional reaction to it is incredible. I blogged about it here.
- Flip Flap Fly (Phyllis Root & David Walker). If I chose my own favorite, this would be it! Byron loves it too. I read it three times just today. It’s by a local author and I would use it if I ever taught how to write picture books (not that I’m qualified.) Why? Because the page turns are perfect and Phyllis Root is a rare rhyming picture book author who has perfect jazz rhythm and uses the rhymes brilliantly. I love the pictures, too — they are a perfect complement, and the adorableness of the baby animals are enough for the purchase price without the great text. The duckling! The duckling kills me every time.
- Hippoposites (Janik Coat). This is a real language learner for Byron. There are only like fifty words in the whole book, but he makes me read them over and over, pointing at the pages and looking at me. I know for a fact he learned “small,” “large,” “dotted,” and “striped” from this book. (I had to take a break in the middle of this post to read this to him.)
- Chugga Chugga Choo Choo (Kevin Lewis & Daniel Kirk). I knew this was a big one when he shook his head and said “no” to his previous favorite train book, Choo Choo, and went and found this one instead. It’s a good read aloud because of the rhythm of the text matching the chugga chugga of a train; a challenge to readers to keep up the pace but so fun for the kid. If you say “Whoo whoo” instead of making a train whistle sound you’re doing it wrong.
- Huff and Puff (Claudie Rueda) – Like Hippoposites, this is an innovative new title from Abrams Appleseed. This one has a send-up of the three little pigs where the reader is the wolf and has to huff and puff and blow the pigs’ houses down. Byron loves to blow on the pages. One day he will hear the original and think it’s a boring ripoff!
- Where’s Spot, etc. (Eric Hill). These are boring books to read. I’ll be honest. Practically no story. But the lift the flap idea is a winner with this toddler, and the books are really cute. Our favorite toddler not named Byron has a stuffed Spot he treasures; we recently got the same toy for Byron and he’s already really attached to it.
- Good Night Gorilla (Peggy Rathmann). I don’t need to tell anyone with small children about this book — it’s another I’d teach picture books with if I was remotely qualified; this one because the book can be enjoyed in so many different ways, from different points of view of different characters. If you have to read it ten times in a day like I have, you find yourself seeing it from the mouse’s point of view, then the balloon’s…
- Barnyard Dance, The Going to Bed Book, Doggies, etc. (Sandra Boynton) — It’s stupid that Sandra Boynton comes in at number nine when she is the undisputed president, CEO, queen and magistrate of board books. The only issue, if you can call it that, is that she’s produced so many great books for toddlers that it’s hard to pick one, or even three. We love everything she’s done. Byron loves her books, her music, and her apps. We have sent so many dollars her way I should consider her a dependent on next year’s taxes. Also, she’s hilarious on twitter.
- The Robot Book (Heather Brown) and Boy+Bot (Ame Dyckman & Dan Yaccarino). We always read these together, first the clever (and surprisingly sturdy) The Robot Book which allows small hands to play with robot parts, then the lovely story and iconic pictures of Boy+Bot. With it’s simple message that boys can care about others, I think Boy+Bot is the William’s Doll for my son’s generation.
- Now I am Big (Stephen Krensky & Sara Gillingham). I wanted to keep this list to ten, even fudging and slipping extra titles in, but I couldn’t. I needed to mention this book (which has a companion volume we haven’t seen) because Byron responds so delightedly to it, acting out what the big, empowered toddler does as we make our way through its pages. The art of the book hearkens back to the Golden Book era; it feels like a classic.