I want to build a massive collection of gorgeous story books with great design and illustration. It turns out to be a little bit more difficult than I thought. I find a lot of books with cute or kid-friendly pictures, but they are not exactly my taste when it comes to the style of illustration and design. After some long and hard searching, I finally find what I’m looking at TYPE on Queen Street West, Toronto. All the kids story books there are selected carefully with great stories and great design in mind. Here are some of my top picks…
1) Lullaby and Kisses Sweet
Beloved children’s poet and anthologizer Lee Bennett Hopkins has produced more than 100 volumes of poetry throughout his illustrious career, but Lullaby and Kisses Sweet is his first collection geared toward babies and toddlers. Featuring 30 original poems by esteemed children’s writers like Jane Yolen, Marilyn Singer, and J. Patrick Lewis, the book introduces the youngest readers to loving rhymes in a playful, accessible way.
This beautifully designed casebound board book is organized into five themes—Family, Food, “Firsts,” Playtime, and Bedtime—while cuddly, anthropomorphized animals make the poems friendly and relatable. Lullaby and Kisses Sweet fosters the love of poetry and is the perfect gift for babies, toddlers, and their poetry-loving parents. (Copied from Amazon.com)
2) TouchThinkLearn: Opposites
Introducing TouchThinkLearn books, a format unlike any other. Combining scooped-out die-cuts with raised, shaped elements, each book is designed to offer the youngest learners an irresistible opportunity to explore their universe in a hands-on, multi-sensory way. Seeing the image, tracing its shape, saying its name: these modes of perception combine in a dynamic way to stimulate understanding of essential concepts. Experience green both in the beauty of a raised leaf’s surface as well as in the caterpillar that munches on the leaf’s edge. Celebrate a moon rising into the night, while simultaneously a sun sets deep into the mirroring page. Translating abstract thought into tangible knowledge, groundbreaking TouchThinkLearn books give early learning new dimension. (Copied from Amazon.com)
3) The Most Magnificent Thing
Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just “make” her magnificent thing — she “tinkers and hammers and measures,” she “smoothes and wrenches and fiddles,” she “twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. (Copied from Amazon.com)