The OkeeDokee Brother’s Thousand Star Hotel musical CD and book illustrated by Brandon Reese
Certain books of song stand out from my childhood by artists like Raffi and Fred Penner, but rarely does one take me back. Thousand Star Hotel is worth taking the CD into your car and listening during trips to and from school. It’s that good. But even if you stick with the hardcover story for bedtime reading, the characters pop from the page right into your heart.
Big Little Hippo by Valeri Gorbachev
This sweet story about a little hippo finding his way in a big world came into our life at the perfect time. My youngest son had just come off a fresh round of tears lamenting his position as “last” in our family. Much like little hippo he finds it frustrating that (in his mind) he will always be the “last” and the “smallest”, but little hippo soon finds out that by looking outside his family there are many other creatures that he is bigger than, and that he can help. In our case younger cousins will have to do in place of tiny beetles.
Elly and the Smelly Sneaker, A Riches to Rags Story by Leslie Gorin, illustrated by Lesley Vamos
I am a Cinderella fan and I love any incarnation of the fairytale, even the fractured variety. This is the ultimate anti-princess book where Cinderella dreams of ditching her ball gown for a ball glove. Visited by her fairy god-father, Lefty Lou, she’s granted her wish of playing baseball with the caveat that she must be home by noon or else her uniform will turn back into a dress! Swap out the glass slipper for a cleat and you’ve got yourself a twisted take on a classic tale that is sure to win many hearts.
Ally-Saurus & the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey
Learning to play as a group and retain your own identity isn’t an easy thing when you’re a child – I know adults who still struggle with this! Richard Torrey introduces readers to neighbourhood children who are learning to navigate the intricacies of play, how to be a leader without being a bulldozer and most importantly, how to forgive in this smartly illustrated story.
Almost Everybody Farts by Marty Kelley
I have yet to meet a family that isn’t at some point in the day reduced to talking about poop or its hilarious, off-putting, equally foul cousin, farts. Needless to say Marty Kelley’s book Almost Everybody Farts, with its playful verse and funny illustrations even had this self-proclaimed manners police trying to hide my smirk from a doubled-over little boy!
World Pizza by CeCe Meng, illustrated by Ellen Shi
What this world needs more of is fun, light-hearted stories and . . . pizza! Imagine if an accidental wish for world pizza instead of world peace was granted? That’s exactly what happens when Mama lets out a sneeze mid-sentence, and the ensuing antics are delightful and simply fun.