Wednesday, November 1, 2017

100 Best Children's Books that Kids Love to Read Again and Again [Part 2]

This post is part of a series on 100 Best Children's Books that Kids Love to Read Again and Again. Read the first post containing books 1-10 here.  

11. One Ted Falls Out of Bed by Julia Donaldson, Anna Currey

Age: 2-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

I chanced upon this in a bookstore and was immediately charmed by the bedtime story which incorporates counting from one to ten, and back from ten to one. It helped that it was from one of our favourite children's authors, Julia Donaldson! Combined with Anna Currey's delightful illustrations of a young child's room, this sure was a winner.

This bedtime book is for the kids who have just been introduced to numbers. The setting is that of a child's bedroom at nighttime. While the child is sleeping, his teddy bear falls out of the bed.  

(excerpted from the book)

One Ted falls out of Bed,
He tugs and pulls the bedclothes BUT
Two eyes are tight shut.
He jumps and shouts and makes a fuss,
Till three mice say, "Play with us!" 

There are four toy cars, five stars, six dolls, seven trolls, eight balloons, nine musician frogs and ten red bricks. The teddy bear tries to get back into the bed by building a stair with everyone's help but he fails to climb up and everything falls down. A commotion ensues. This leads to the countdown from ten to one, and at the end, the teddy gets back into the bed. 

It is a wonderful bedtime story that ends on a calm note. We have enjoyed it a lot.

12. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

All kids go through a phase when they are enamoured by big trucks and vehicles. So, I was hunting for a good book on the same theme. This book showed up on a few websites and I never regretted getting it. 

There's a little Blue truck, which is the friendliest truck around. It always makes time to say hello to all the animals that it meets along the way. The setting is that of an idyllic countryside. There's a big dump truck that is full of pride and self-importance. It feels that it has big important things to do and hasn't got time for anybody. Now this big truck gets stuck in mud puddle. The more it tries to get out, the more it gets stuck. Then comes the ever friendly little Blue truck that tries to help the dump truck, but it could not do much on its own. Its call for help is immediately noticed by all its friends, and with their help, both the trucks get out of the puddle. The big dump truck finally admits that no matter who you are, everyone needs the helping hands of friends in life. 

This book deftly combines a whole lot of farm animals, trucks and an important life lesson. With rhythmic text and beautiful illustrations, children love to look at this book again and again.

(excerpted from the book)

"Thanks, little brother,"
said the Dump to Blue.
"You helped me
and they helped you.

Now I see
a lot depends
on a helping hand
from a few good friends!"

13. Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart 

Young kids love books on animals, and 'Big Red Barn' is another delightful book on the farm life. With rhyming text, the book takes you through the routine on a farm; introduces all the animals which stay on the farm in harmony, make noises, play together and at the end of the day settle down for sleep. 

Kids love to look at the vibrant illustrations and all the different kinds of animals. They like to figure out how the barn is laid out, where each animal stays, as different pages show animals in different settings around the barn.

(excerpted from the book)

The sheep and the donkey,
The geese and the goats,
Were making funny noises
Down in their throats.

An old scarecrow
Was leaning on his hoe.
And a field mouse was born ... 

In a field of corn.

14. Watch Out / Saavdhaan by Ajanta Guhathakurta, Shamim Padamsee

Age: 2-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India 

Kids are attracted to other kids, and animal baby stories. It's instinctive. When I got this book, my son must have been 2. With minimum text, it looked like a good one for him. It tells the story of a lioness and her cubs. When the lioness goes to look for food, she warns her cubs to take care of themselves because the forest is full of dangers for baby animals. But cubs do what kids do, they throw caution to the wind and start enjoying themselves - they play, they pounce on small animals, they roll, they run, and generally, have a good time; but there's danger at every step. Finally, as the day ends, Mamma lioness comes back to protect them, and they eat and go back to sleep. 

This is a bilingual book with simple text like...

Let's play.
Let's pounce.
Let's roll.
Let's drink.

This is also useful when the child starts reading another language (like it was hindi for us), since this is a bilingual book. This was read several times in our household. I used to talk some more about the forest, the animals, the dangers, how mothers protect their babies, etc. 

15. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond

Age: 3-6 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart 

I have 6 books from this series and each one of them is creative and entertaining. This book starts with a boy offering a cookie to a mouse, and how that triggers a chain of events which eventually leads back to the cookie.

(excerpted from the book)

If you give a Mouse a cookie,
he's going to ask you for a glass of milk.

When you give him the milk, 
he'll probably ask you for a straw.

When he's finished he'll ask for a napkin.

The illustrations are super cute, and the story is humorous. We had fun following the mouse. Each book in this series follows the story in a similar format. You can also make your child imagine some alternative scenarios.

16. The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Age: 2-5 years

I love Eric Carle's books. They are simple and attractive, and packed with a lot of information and learnings. No wonder our first book was by Eric Carle; and we have several of his other books, all equally worthy. 

This book starts when a spider is blown across the field by the wind. A silky thread trails from her body. She lands on a fence post near a farm and starts weaving her web. Now, as she weaves her web, animals from the farm approach her one by one and offer an alternative, fun thing to do; but the spider is so engrossed in her work that she doesn't stop to chat with any of them.

So, from a horse offering to go for a ride to a cow suggesting to eat some grass, from a goat proposing to jump on the rocks to a pig asking to roll in the mud; there are several farm animals that kids can learn about. At the end, when the spider completes her web, a fly gets caught into it just like that. So, she doesn't have to bother about catching one to feed herself.
What I personally love about this book is how it conveys a strong message in the most simple way (which is a characteristic of all Eric Carle books). It tells in the most subtle way how hard work, single-minded dedication and perseverance pays off. 

Note: Pay attention to the size of the book you are ordering. 

17. Marvin Gets Mad by Joseph Theobald

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India 

I had bought this book quite by chance and both of us loved it so much that we bought the other book in the series called Marvin Wanted More, as well.

The story is about Marvin, the sheep, and his friend Molly. While they are grazing, they find a tree full of juicy apples. Now Marvin really wants to eat one particular apple on the tree but no matter what he does to get that apple, he isn't able to reach it. After trying for a really long time, he dozes off. When he wakes up, he finds that the apple is gone; and when he looks around, he finds Molly eating that apple. That makes him really, really mad. 

When he gets mad, his whole body changes - he grows mad teeth, mad horns, mad feet and mad tail; and also starts doing mad things, hurting everything around. He shouts at his friend, hits her with his horns and starts stamping on the ground, which makes the ground crack and he falls deep inside. He is alone in the dark, empty pit, from where no matter how much he cries for help, nobody is able to help him. Now that he is alone and stranded, he starts thinking about all the things he did in his madness and feels sorry for it. Meanwhile, Molly finds him and also gets a juicy apple for her friend. 

It is an excellent story with a powerful message. It is not only relevant for kids but also for grownups. When we all go mad, we do a lot of things which hurt others and which also get us into trouble. Moreover, we always end up with lots of regrets for our behaviour during the madness. It is a good book to discuss behaviour.

18. Let's Go! by Anthara Mohan, Rajiv Eipe

Age: 2-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India  

I came across this book while looking to buy a bunch of books on vehicles. I was thrilled to get my hands on this book which had most of the vehicles found on Indian roads like autos, cycles, rickshas, scooters, cars, bus, etc. At the same time, it also introduced young kids to numbers from '10 to 1'. 

Every page spread contains a number and that many children with a different mode of transportation. The text is minimum. So, the book starts with '10 children come walking',  and goes on to ...

7 zoom in on motorbikes
6 get down from rickshas
5 climb out of autos

I love Rajiv Eipe's illustrations. I had noticed it in 'the Big Little Man' as well and was looking to get another book by him. The pages are teeming with the bustling energy of Indian roads. It's a fabulous book for young kids. Even as a grown up, I felt drawn towards the way this book has been laid out.

19. Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Age: 2-3 years
Buy From: Amazon India 

It is a cute story about colour mixing. When your child starts learning about colours, this is a good one to have. My son used to love looking at it over and over again, and he learned how different colours mixed to form a third color. 

We have a small board book. The story is about three white mice who find three jars of paint and discover the joys of colour mixing by chance!

(excerpted from the book)

Once there were three white mice on a white piece of paper.
The cat couldn't find them.

One day while the cat was asleep, the mice saw three jars of paint - 
one red, one yellow, and one blue.  

They thought it was Mouse Paint. They climbed right in.
Then one was red, one was yellow, and one was blue. 

They dripped puddles of paint onto the paper.
The puddles looked like fun.

20.Karadi Rhymes (Book 1) by Karadi Tales

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India

The best thing about this collection of poems is that it is centered around India. It
celebrates different facets of India. The first poem, an absolute favourite with me as well as my 6 year old is ‘Just Like You’. Essentially, it talks about Unity in Diversity; how people from different parts of India look different, speak a different language, and yet are like us. There’s a poem about Saree, about crows, about cricket, about Indian festivals, Indian rivers, even Mangoes! 

This book is accompanied with an audio CD in Usha Uthup's voice. You can find most of these poems on YouTube. It will help you get to know the book better. Here are some of the links:

Just Like You
Ganga Yamuna Krishna
There's a Cricket Match in Town Today
To the Beach I like to Go 
I salute my Flag (a song about Indian flag)
'Sa' sing the Sunflowers
Eid is Here (song about Indian festivals)
Yards and Yards of Silk I see (a rhyme about sarees)  

Also Read: 100 Best Children's Books that Kids Love to Read Again and Again [Part 1]

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

100 Best Children's Books that Kids Love to Read Again and Again [Part 1]

When I was putting this list together, my son asked me what was I doing. I informed him that I was putting together a list of his 100 favorite books. He then inquired "Why?" I told him that whenever I plan to buy books for him, I search through the internet for books which have been loved by other children his age. I read about those books, recommendations from other parents and then I decide whether it will work for him or not. I am sure; other parents - moms and dads - do the same because we all know how important it is to read to your child. So, I'm certain this list is going to come handy when they decide to buy books for their own little readers

This got him excited and he offered to help me. So, both of us got together to collate this list of 100 books which we have enjoyed over and over again; the whimsical, the nonsensical, the enriching, the inspiring, the captivating, the informative, the local, the global - this list has it all! 

NOTE: Since this list is going to be long, and will take time to curate as well as read (because I want to do justice to the list); I have decided to break this down into 10 posts of 10 books each.  

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

This was our first Children’s book which I bought when my son was about 6 months old.It begins with a tiny and hungry caterpillar coming out of a small egg. He spends the entire week eating all sorts of fruits and other food items. Each day he keeps eating more and more, which leads to stomachache. He therefore eats through a green leaf to relieve his pain. At the end of the week, he turns into a big, fat caterpillar. He builds a cocoon around himself, and stays inside for 2 weeks. At the end he emerges out of it as a beautiful butterfly. 

It is amazing how such a simple book, with minimum words and simple illustrations, provides immense learning opportunities for children. The illustrations are vibrant and child-like. Right from learning the name of different fruits to numbers, from days of the week to life cycle of a butterfly, there is so much to learn through this concise yet beautiful story. To top it all, there are tiny die-cut holes on the pictures of food items, which the caterpillar has supposedly eaten.

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

This is a Lift-the-Flap book and little ones love to open the flaps over and over again. 

The narrative goes like this: the Zoo is requested for a pet, and it responds with a package. There's an animal hiding inside the package. The little one opens the flap and unveils the animal, who is found unsuitable to be kept as a pet, so it is sent back. Then the Zoo sends another package, the animal is again found to be unsuitable and sent back, and so on. Every time the animal is either too big or too tall or too grumpy or too heavy or too scary to be kept as a pet. After several back-and-forths, the Zoo finally gets it right and sends a suitable pet.  

With simple and minimum text, and flaps to entice the tiny tots; this book is a must have. 

3. My Daddy and Me by Tina Macnaughton

Age: 0-3 years 
Buy From: Amazon India 

We have a good balance of books featuring Mommies and Daddies. This was one of the first books I bought for my son. I remember, he used to mimic the Little Bear's actions while telling the story. It has about 5-6 words for every page spread. It is a sturdy big-size board book with a touching story. 

The Little Bear talks about how he feels when he is with his Daddy. The illustrations capture the beautiful moments with Daddy, sometimes watching the sunset, sometimes sitting on Daddy's shoulder, sometimes keeping the faith that Daddy is there to take care! 

It is such a beautiful, heart-warming book that Daddies will love to read to their tiny tots.

"..I'm the very bravest bear ... when I know that you are there." [excerpted from the book]

4. The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Age: 0-3 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

Having a Bed-time storybook was inevitable for the new parents, so we got this. It is a fun book that takes you through the ritual of settling down for the day and going to bed. With simple and rhyming text for very young readers, this book follows a bunch of animals who are sailing on a ship. It starts with ...

"The sun has set not long ago.
Now everybody goes below........"

and ends with ...

"The moon is high.
The sea is deep.
They rock and rock and rock
to sleep."

We used to read this with actions when my son was little. 

5. Numbers on the Farm  by Stephen Holmes
Age: 1-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India 

This book was a surprise hit. I picked this up only because it was on a Sale. I thought this book, with lots of busy pages, with several different kinds of animals and farm things to look at; will be great to occupy my (then) 2 year old. And it sure became his most favourite book for several months. 

It is a sturdy board book of about A4 size with padded cover. Every Number (from 1 to 10) has 2 pages dedicated to it, and there are things to discover on every page spread. There's so much to look and find inside this book. There are all kinds of farm animals like cows, horses, rabbits, sheep, kittens, pigs, ducks, etc. Apart from animals, there are lots of other things like tractors, haystacks, milk cans, cow bells, bread loaves; and things which are connected to a farm life. Besides, there is a Goose which is hiding on each page spread, so the little one needs to look for her as well.  

This book is excellent for introducing very young readers with numbers and counting.

6. ABC and Counting by Gill Guile, Desmond Marwood

Age: 1-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India 

Another basic book on Alphabets and Numbers that works! This is a huge lap-size book with padded cover. It starts with Alphabets and every Alphabet has a small story around it. For example, 'B' has a story called 'The Butterfly's Beauty Sleep' which tells the story of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly; 'G' has a story about Giraffes called 'Food From The Top Shelf' which talks about how Giraffes developed long necks; 'O' has a story called 'Many Hands Make Light Work' which tells about the eight arms of Octopus; and so on. The stories are concise, simple, interesting and informative. 

Then there are Numbers, with 2 pages dedicated to each number from 1 to 10. Here also there is a story connecting all the Numbers. So, 'One Dog' goes in search of lost sheep and meets different animals - 'Two Farm Horses', 'Three Cows', 'Four Goats', etc. 

Towards the end, there are simple additions, a picture of the entire farmhouse with all the animals, and many such interesting things to look at. 

The pictures are vibrant and engaging. It's fun to read this book, and the little one will not get bored of it any time soon.

7. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault, Lois Ehlert

Age: 2-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

When I first picked this up, I found it crazy; but I have learned in these past 6 years that crazy works well with little kids. They love it. This book is very popular and it was my son's favourite too.

In this Alphabet rhyme book, alphabets are trying to get to the top of the coconut tree. All the alphabets get on top of the tree but there's not enough room so all of them fall. Most of them get hurt and they still try to get to the tree with their aunts and uncles, mummies and papas. 

(excerpted from the book)

A told B,
and B told C,
"I'll meet you at the top
of the coconut tree." 

"Whee!" said D
to E F G,
"I'll beat you to the top
of the coconut tree."

Chicka chicka boom boom!
Will there be enough room?
Here comes H
up the coconut tree,


8. Hey, That's An A! by Jerry Pinto, Sayan Mukherjee

Age: 2-5 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

This is another crazy Alphabet book but my son just loved it (still does). I have read it at least a hundred times. 

This book shows how to create each alphabet in a fun way. For example:

Put your right hand up.
Put your left hand up.
Bring your fingers together,
Then your thumbs.
Hey, That's an A!

(excerpted from the book)

Similarly, when you rub lines at the bottom, E becomes F. When C puts on a little moochie, it becomes G. Q is an O with a tail. When a line lies down on an I, it becomes T. 

With lots of such silliness, funny lines and attractive illustrations, this book keeps the young readers occupied. The little ones love to create the alphabets like it's shown in the book, sometimes with their postures, sometimes with their hands. It is a highly recommended book with an Indian flavour.

9. Dr. Seuss's ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book

Age: 2-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

Dr Seuss's books are different. If you are not used to them, you may not like them in the beginning. The words and illustrations are nonsensical. 

This book works on the repetitiveness of the Alphabet sounds like 'Aunt Annie's Alligator', 'Four Fluffy Feathers on a Fiffer-Feffer-Feff', 'Goat and googoo goggles', 'a yawning yellow yak with Yolanda on his back', etc. 

This cannot be the main book for introducing Alphabets to the little ones, rather this can be a fun book to learn Alphabet sounds. This works with slightly older kids (say 2-2.5 years and above) who are familiar with the alphabets.

10. Eric Carle's ABC (The World of Eric Carle)

Age: 2-4 years
Buy From: Amazon India | Flipkart

There are so many different kinds of good Alphabet books and each one of them contributes differently to learnings.

This book comes with a flap on every page spread. Each alphabet shows an insect, animal or bird starting with that alphabet. So, there's A for Ant, I for Iguana, N for Narwhal, Q for Quetzal, X for Xolo, and so on. Even I learned a lot from this book!

Next Post: 100 Best Children's Books that Kids Love to Read Again and Again [Part 2]

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