I read a couple of stories to my 4 year old daughter every night before she sleeps. Writing a book for a kid is not an easy task. Most take the easy way out and write straightforward stories that try to teach ‘good habits’ to kids: don’t litter, share your toys, be kind and so on. I suppose this sort of book serves a useful purpose and I’ve read several of these to my daughter too.
But there are other truly great ones that are special for both parents and kids. Pixar knows how to make movies like this. I still have fond memories of reading the original Winnie the Pooh books, Lewis Carroll’s Alice books and so on. But my kid isn’t ready for those yet. Here are some targeted at younger audiences that she and I adore:
Everything Eric Carle. This should go without saying. He has a knack for teasing the next page and building on a theme throughout the book.
His art style is distinctive and immediately recognizable. This page here is from Do you want to be my friend, but any of his books is guaranteed to be good.
Next up is the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel. They consist of a set of short stories of two adorable friends, a frog and a toad. The themes these books cover go far beyond what you’d expect from a kid’s book.
There are tales of solitude, bravery and temptation. Poor Toad is not always up to these challenges but he tries his best. And sometimes there are some sweet silly stories with no deeper lessons.
These are the books I’m reading most with my daughter nowadays. She has a lot of the plot memorized pretty well and is now making attempts to read some of the words.
Next up is A kiss for little bear by Else Minarik, with art by Maurice Sendak. I’ll admit I like this a lot more than my daughter does. It’s a short and sweet tale of a kiss passed from Grandma Bear to Little Bear through a series of animals.
The best reason to have this book is to give your little one a peck for every one that happens in the book. And it happens a lot!