mini gift guide for mini folks

The other day a friend asked me for some children’s book recommendations for his niece, and I was so excited to share some titles that I thought I’d post a list here as well. Happy giving and happy reading this holiday season!

wonder bear imageWonder Bear, by Tao Nyeu – This is a wordless book with fun, graphic illustrations. It begins with two children planting a garden. During the night, a jungle of a beanstalk grows, complete with a top hat wearing bear who takes them on an adventure.  I love the opportunities for imagination in this one.


bear snores on imageBear Snores On, by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman –  this book was given to us as a shower gift for Lucy and it’s such fun to read! It has great rhythm and rhyme, and all kinds of interesting words to read aloud. For instance, “An itty bitty mouse, pitter-pat, tip-toe, creep crawls in the cave from the fluff-cold snow.” We read it several times a week and we haven’t gotten tired of it… yet. (It might be the first non Sandra Boynton book that I end up memorizing.)

interrupting chicken image

Interrupting Chicken, by David Ezra Stein – I first flipped through this book at a SCBWI conference and I laughed aloud among strangers. I adore the little chicken character who keeps interrupting Dad with her own version of the story. It’s one of those books where the humor works for both adults and kids.


all the world imageAll the World, by Liz Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee – The scope of this book is expansive, yet it also feels personal thanks to the gorgeous illustrations that follow a family through a day at the beach, in a community, surrounded by changing weather. Marla Frazee is so damn talented.


alexander imageAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst– I’ve been having fun reading this several times a week too, and each time it reminds me of being a kid again. The narrator, Alexander, is having the worst day, from waking up with gum in his hair to losing his marble down the drain. I especially love that the day begins and ends badly, without a saccharine happy ending. This kind of respect for a kid’s experience seems rare in the picture book landscape.

the lost lake imageThe Lost Lake, by Allen Say – I discovered this book the other day while wandering around the library and I’m excited to recommend it to all parents who want share nature with their children. (Judging by the number of hand-me-down backpacker baby carriers we’ve been given, there are quite a few out there.)  It’s about a father and son who go backpacking in search of a secret lake in the mountains and it’s beautifully illustrated.



  1. Ah. Bear Snores On. I must have given that to you guys as it is still to this day our favorite. And we have read it, oh a zillion times by now. So fun. And so much going on in those pages that Ollie is noticing more and more. For example, the mole hiding in the tea pot when bear wakes up gnarling and snarling.
    Thanks for sharing these as I haven’t heard of most.
    Miss you.

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