I love wombats. What else can I say? If your child loves wombats too, Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is simply required reading. Six wombats go for a stroll through the outback. A handful get distracted by interesting Australian things like a wattle tree, a billabong, and a kookabura (all of which are defined in a handy intro). When only two are left, they discover they’ve been trailed by a hungry dingo, and must save their friends from his evil clutches. They capture him with the tried and true cover-a-hole-with-sticks trick, which may seem old hat to you, but fabulously innovative to your youngster!
Max’s Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells is perfect for the springtime holidays. Someone (maybe the Easter Bunny) has left a chocolate chicken in the birdbath! “I love you!” Max says to the chicken. He’s ready to chow down, but his big sister Ruby (who’s kind of like the fun police) insists that they hunt for painted eggs. Whoever collects the most can claim the chocolate chicken. Ruby find eggs of all colors and patterns, but poor Max only finds mud, acorns, and ants, so he decides to run away with the chicken and eat the whole thing! This is an adorable story of sibling rivalry, and I guarantee you will fall in love with Max, the young and foolish title character.
Paul Owen Lewis cordially invites us to the most smashing event of the season in P. Bear’s New Year’s Party. It’s black tie of course, so only the most formally dressed of Polar Bear’s friends will be there. An orca, some dairy cows, skunks, zebras, pandas, dalmations, and of course penguins are on the guest list. Help Polar Bear count down to his party, with the aid of a clock on each page and the setting sun and rising moon in the background of each dichromatic illustration. This book is great for teaching your child simple concepts of counting, colors (or lack thereof), and telling time. Plus it’s just great to see a new year’s party with a whale. I wish I was there!
Boogie Knights, by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Mark Siegel, takes place in a castle on a very special night. When the clock strikes twelve, it’s time for the Madcap Monster Ball! Look who all is invited–the werewolves hustle, the zombies bustle, the mummies mamba, and the serpents samba, and all the while upstairs seven boogie knights (Sir Veillance, Sir Prize, Sir Loin, Sir Round, Sir Cumference, Sir Ender, and Sir Vivor) awaken one by one to the sounds of monsters mashing, bogeys bashing, witches waltzing, and wizards wiggling. The castle’s small prince witnesses it all from the shadows until he meets a ghost princess, and then they join in the fun! You can join too! Groove with goblins, jitterbug with jesters, turn your living room into a veritable discotheque with the help of Boogie Knights!
The Water Hole by Graeme Base is a really amazing book. In essence it’s a counting story: animals show up in progressive numbers to drink from “the water hole.” However it seems the more animals there are, the less water in the hole, leaving them to converse amongst themselves (in animal language) where they think the water must have gone. Then there is a very sad page depicting a complete lack of water. Finally it rains and all the animals return to drink. I think the story can be thought provoking for a child (where does water come from, why is it important, etc), and the illustrations are spectacular, depicting not only the drinking animals but also “hidden” animals you and your child can search for.
Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy is a fun book to help teach your child a bit about math and measurement. In the story, a little girl named Lisa has to measure something for homework. Her teacher says she can measure anything, so she chooses her Boston Terrier, Penny! Lisa measures all sorts of things about Penny–how much she weighs, how much she eats and drinks, how fast she can run, how far she can walk. Lisa even takes Penny to the park to compare her to the other dogs there–who is the tallest? who has the longest tail? who can jump the highest? Find out what Lisa learns about her favorite pet in Measuring Penny.