Children’s Books We’re Loving.

By: Jen Shoop

Today, sharing a few favorite children’s books in our house at the moment. I’m omitting the Little Blue Truck series, which I read at lease once a day and cannot recommend for your sanity. (Who else can recite the majority of these books?)

+Jon Agee’s The Wall in the Middle of the Book. This is actually a fairly sophisticated metafictional piece that introduces the concept of narrative structure, suspense, climax, denouement, etc in simple language and illustration that children enjoy. It’s also quite silly, as most of Agee’s books are — mini smiles while reading this book every single time. Mini also loves his book The Other Side of Town, which makes us both laugh out loud — very clever and very silly, and it takes place in NYC, which tickles us.

+Audrey Wood’s Quick as a Cricket. I feel as though this is one of the most important books on our bookshelf, especially for my daughter. It’s basic premise: we contain multitudes. We can be “tough as a rhino” and also “gentle as a lamb,” “tame as a poodle” and “wild as a chimp.” The book suggests that we can be many things, and that all of those things are valid. J’adore, j’adore. The basic premise of my recent “Ampersands” post.

+Suzanne Lang’s Grumpy Monkey. Honestly, sometimes I need to read this book. It’s about being in a bad mood, being told to “smile and cheer up,” and realizing that sometimes you just need to be grumpy! This is a fantastic book to complement conversations you might be having at home about working through confusing/conflicting emotions.

+Jonathan Fenske’s Plankton Is Pushy. My children find this book howlingly funny. It reminds me in tone of Mo Willems’ Don’t Let the Pigeons series — animated, cartoonishly silly/frustrated, etc. Light, quick read perfect for when you’re feeling like a dramatic performance read with over-the-top voices.

+Emma Chichester Clark’s Love Is My Favorite Thing. A book all about unconditional love, even when dogs (ahem, children) choose to be naughty.

+Joseph Kuefler’s The Digger and The Flower. I think I broke a record with this one — I read this for about two months of consecutive bedtimes with micro. Maybe even longer, actually. Micro absolutely adores this book. The basic premise is that a digger discovers a flower on the build site, tends to it, and then is shattered when it’s cut down. He takes the seeds and plants them elsewhere, where he tends to them for the long haul. It is the sweetest book — I like the way it thwarts expectations (i.e., a loving digger!), reminds us to care for mother earth, and invites children to emote around these sad and then joyful happenings.

+Madelyn Rosenberg’s The Cyclops of Central Park. I’ve written about this a ton (maybe even in a past book roundup), but this is the loveliest book about balancing love of home with love of adventure. It’s also beautifully illustrated and set in NYC, which is fun for those of us who have lived there. There are some great lines — “He thought he spied the missing sheep in SoHo — and again at the Guggenheim. But his eye was playing tricks on him. “Eugene?” “No. It’s a De Kooning.”” (Yes!!!)

+Audrey and Don Wood’s The Napping House. A total classic — my mother read this book to me as a child, too, and I find the illustrations ultra-comforting for that reason. It has a nice rhythm and sequencing to it.

What about you? Any other home runs? We’ve been tearing through new books recently between our nearby library and then a book haul on Christmas morning but none of them have been quite as sticky as the ones above. Please share any favorites in your homes!

P.S. More children’s bedtime books I love and thoughts on raising a child of books.

P.P.S. What are your bedtime routines?

P.P.P.S. My everyday skincare and makeup regimen.

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6 thoughts on “Children’s Books We’re Loving.

  1. Hi, thanks for the suggestions. We actually love all of Jon Agee: Nothing and Lion Lessons were on heavy rotation a few months ago. And I am with you on Grumpy Mommy, oups, I mean Grumpy Monkey! It’s a great book for all.

    A few books we have been loving: Sam and Dave dig a hole (Mac Barnett), the Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson), Monster Chef (Nick Bland) and The Colour Monster (Anna Llenas).

    I will check out your other recommendations!
    Have a great day!

    1. Fellow Grumpy Mommy here — ha! Thank YOU for these recs. I actually ordered Sam and Dave and the Gruffalo on the spot thanks to your rec! I don’t know how we’ve not yet read the Gruffalo!

      Thank you —


  2. Oooh, most of these are new for us, thanks for sharing! Heading over to add to my library requests. Unfortunately, I’m in the same Little Blue Truck rut with you. We have even named one of our stuffed bunnies Yoo-hoo after the line from the springtime book, “hippity-hoppity yoo-hoo bunny!” My new Christmas book recommendation is Oliver Elephant…a cute little story that we read a lot when we had it from the library.

    1. So glad! I’m always excited to find new, vetted books from friends. Thanks for the Oliver Elephant rec – I actually just ordered now but will tuck away in the Christmas box as a surprise for next year! Thank you!


  3. Thanks so much for the recommendations, my Amazon babe book list is rapidly expanding! As a stay-at-home mom who reads multiple books before both naps and bed time to a nearly one-year old (tear!), I’m always on the hunt to expand our library so I don’t bang my head on the wall from repetition. 😉 Though I know we are behind you in age, one book I completely adore and think is great for all babies, toddlers and kids (and adults!) is Sesame Street’s We’re Different, We’re the Same and We’re Wonderful. Such an important message!

    1. Ooh yes, we love that one, too! I think it approaches difference so beautifully. Thanks for the reminder. Need to dig that one out!


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