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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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Books on this Blog

I didn't know that I have over 100 book reviews on this blog. I learned this only when I consolidated all of them on one Page (which you can find at the top, below the header image). I decided to put them all together when I found it on several book blogs, and realized how convenient it is for everyone.   

Image credit