I come across so many book lists off late and I see the same names doing rounds, especially the ones I find on Indian blogs and websites. Some of the lists are beautiful, but many times when I picked a book based on couple of these recommendations, I was left asking for more. That made me decide, to pick my books after a lot of analysis and after I have read the book. Here are names of a few gems, we read in the recent past (most of which you might not find in these lists).
The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly by Charles Reasoner - You need to be a little weird to like this book, well Z and I qualify and we fell in love with it. I love the rhymes which are so cute and funny. Z was laughing from the word go. If you don't know what sense of humour is, you might want to pass this one. Though it is based on a popular song, it gets twisted as the old lady's appetite goes out of control. 'There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly…'
I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean! by Kevin Sherry- We picked this book on one of our trips to Strand Bangalore Exhibition. I love the fact that a giant squid is shown as the best artist under water. He also ends up making a mess-terpiece. Z is CRAZY after the book, I love the use of only purple and blue in the book. Illustrations are beautiful, it isn't my favorite but a must read. You child will request repeated readings for sure. Be prepared to answer questions like "Can we paint in water?", "Giant squid has a giant brush ma?" if your daughter is anything like Z.
Flotsam - David Wiesner - David Wiesner (multiple Caldecott winner) never disappoints and with Flotsam he spins his magic yet again, this book is a real treasure. I recently picked this book when I heard great things on Facebook. I saw the book, fell in love with it and immediately picked it up. Even younger kids (not babies) will be completely mesmerized with the illustrations and follow the story. Z loves the fact that the boy picks up anything and everything floating by, I guess she connects with it. You wouldn't miss any words in the book, I love the collage on different pages. Wiesner has won the Caldecott Medal for this one as well, very well deserved, I must say.
Bigmama's - Donald Crews (Caldecott Honor artist) This book takes me back to my childhood when I used to travel with mum and my sisters to bigmama's (my naani's) house for summer holidays, Who would'nt connect with that? I personally love the soft use of colours in the illustrations. It's not just about our memories, I have read this book to many kids between 4-8 years and their smiles say it all... they go into a dream world.
Charlie Cook's Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson - When I make a list, Julia Donaldson cannot be far away. This book I think hasn't got its due and has got lost in some big names by Julia Donaldson. I don't think there is a better children's book writer - that is what I feel. I think Axel Scheffler does perfect job with her work. This is an intelligently created funny book, where words and illustrations weave magic. I love the various layers in book and love the fact that book starts and finishes in the same location.
What I Like About Me! by Allia Zobel Nolan - A fun book with a beautiful message, this book puts across a beautiful message every child should learn. Another gem picked up from Strand Bookstore. I can go on and on about this one, have done a detailed review on the blog as well.
If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen - Another writer's work which I love, his books are some of the best read-aloud books available...trust me on that. This is the most recent one of Dusen's book I have picked up. I love the way this book encourages young kids to imagine... and how Jack designs the most amazing house on the block. Z loved the book as we turned page after page. Love the rhyming words, especially 'Oh! It may include shapes like a tower and a dome. But I will focus on what makes a building a home.' I won't spoil the fun, the house sounds awesome even to adults... pick up right away.
Pranav's Picture by Nandini Nayar: A must must read for every parent to gain insight and understand things from your kid's perspective. One of my favorite Indian books published recently.
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el: A true gem of a book, I love the take on the usual dragon folktales. I picked it up because Z is obsessed with dragons, but we got more than just a dragon book. This comes very close to our favorite dragon book Zog.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger: This is a Booklist Editor's Choice Books for Youth Awards winner. The book is so beautiful that I had to pick it up. It introduces kids to shades of 'green' in a beautiful manner. It was a beautiful book to introduce Z to shades...how many times have I used beautiful.... well the book is BEAUTIFUL.
A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson - We have spoken about Mother of Choco which is an amazing book about adoption, this one is an equally awesome book. It will be liked by your children, and you would fall in love with the story as well. When Z reads this, she calls me Mamma-Roo... another reason why I love it.
Born to Read by Judy Sierra - Another book about books and a personal favorite. It is a must for little bookworms. P.S if you aren't much of a reader, you might not like it much. It really celebrates reading. Z loves pointing her favorite classics in the book... and she insists I read 'Zoe' and not 'Sam' whenever we speak about the protagonist.
Boodabim by Alankrita Jain - I love the book because of its illustration and creativity. Thanks to Kutoohala for the suggestion. And which kid wouldn't like a cuddly elephant in different avatars.
A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker - I could so relate to the bear when I don't want any visitor to come and disturb me. What happens when a visitor arrives and makes the bear's day special. It beautifully tells us about loneliness and friendship. Discover the most unlikely friendship. The book is a winner of E.R White Read Aloud Award for Terrific Book
The Runaway by Margaret Wise Brown - This classic again gets lost because of 'Goodnight Moon' by the author. I think both the books are equally beautiful. It brilliantly displays the love between a mom and her child. I love the illustrations.