Willems, M. (2004). Knuffle Bunny. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
Trixie and her father venture through the city to the laundromat. But as they’re leaving, Trixie realizes that she has lost the most important thing in the world: Knuffle Bunny.
This classic Willems tale features his signature humour and silly storytelling that children love. Any child who has ever lost their favourite stuffed toy or blankie will relate to this story. In fact, even adults who remember their special toys will enjoy the tale.
Because of how relatable and humorous this story is, I give Knuffle Bunny a 5 out of 5.
Baldacchio, C., & Malenfant, I. (illustrator). (2014). Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anasi Press.
Morris Micklewhite loves the tangerine dress in his school’s dress-up center. He likes how it sounds, how it moves, and, of course, the colour. His classmates, though, have other opinions: boy don’t wear dresses. Will Morris let his classmates’ opinions affect his love of the tangerine dress?
This story is timely and relevant, especially as the question of gender boundaries becomes more prevalent. For Morris, the dress isn’t just a dress. Throughout the story, we get to see what the dress means to him and why he likes wearing it.
This is a story for all children. The lesson is imperative for all children: do what makes you happy.
The lovely and inspiring story, paired with Malenfant’s beautiful illustrations, earns this story a 5 out of 5.
Novak, B.J. (2014). The Book with No Pictures. New York: Penguin.
In this pictureless picture book, there is only one condition: the reader must say all the words, no matter how silly.
This book may not have any illustrations, but the text alone keeps children engaged and giggling. Adults have to take on the character of a robot monkey and say strange words that children will find hilarious.
It is not surprising why this book has become a hit with young audiences. It is funny and silly and lets readers be a little silly. Overall, I have no criticism of this book, warranting it a 5 out of 5.
Daywalt, D., & Jeffers, O. (illustrator). (2013). The Day the Crayons Quit. New York: Philomel Books.
Duncan is shocked when instead of his crayons he finds a stack of letters, written by his crayons, announcing that they’ve quit!
This book is creative and humorous. Each page features a letter written by a different coloured crayon and an accompanying illustration. The letters are sassy and comical, and any child (or adult) who has ever coloured will find truth in the letters.
The story is definitely unique and enjoyable. It is rather long for a picture book– there are 13 letters– which means it’s not a great choice for a story time and more likely to be read by older children.
Based on its uniqueness and ingenuity, I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.
Buzzeo, T., & Small, D. (illustrator). (2012). One Cool Friend. New York: Dial Books.
When his father brings him to the zoo, Elliot brings home an unexpected new friend.
This story is funny and unique. The characters are interesting, and Elliot is a sophisticated young man in his tuxedo. The illustrations are engaging and help to tell the story. Young readers will especially enjoy the ending of the story.
Overall, this was a great and funny read, and young Elliot reminded me a lot of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl. I give this book a 4 out of 5!
Sif, B. (2012). Oliver. Somerville, Mass: Candlewick Press.
Oliver isn’t like everyone else. He likes to do his own thing and lives in his own world. But one day he meets someone new and realizes its alright to let someone new into your life.
This story is beautiful. Oliver is a bit of a loner, but finds company in his toys and his imagination, which, to me, was very relatable.
The illustrations are intricately detailed, and they’re part of the story, telling as much as the words.
This is a great story for younger children. I give it a 4.5 out of 5!