Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo

by Kevin Lewis, illustrated by Daniel Kirk

Perfect poetry and endearing illustrations make this story a perfect edition to any little engineer’s library. The vintage color and feel of this book will have parents recalling their own childhood. But today’s babies and toddlers are sure to love the bright and colorful pictures as well.

My 18-month old son enjoys reading, and like most little ones, he has his favorites. Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo is one he will pull from the book basket day after day. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than feeling him snuggle close while we watch this little toy train wind its way around a young boy’s room.

If you’re looking for a sweet and simple story with beautiful illustrations, your search can stop here: This is a must-have for any little one.

Corduroy

by Don Freeman, illustrations by Lisa McCue

I loved reading Corduroy books when I was young, so naturally, I was drawn to this board book depicting the friendly little bear with charming illustrations. It’s a large, shaped board book, which sets it apart from all the standard-sized books we own, and my son seems to enjoy looking at the pictures every time we pull it out together.

Though the pictures are nicely done, the text is pretty generic, using brief sentences to describe Corduroy’s actions throughout the day. (“Corduroy reads his favorite books.” “Corduroy is mailing a letter.”) But since the illustrations satisfy my sentimental attachment to this overalls-clad bear, I can forgive the lackluster story. All in all, it’s a nice book to introduce Corduroy to a small child.

One special note about this book: We also own Corduroy’s Day, a counting book about Corduroy. However, many of the illustrations in the Corduroy board book are exact copies of those in Corduroy’s Day. So if you already own Corduroy’s Day, you may want to avoid this board book and get a different one from the Corduroy series instead. (There seem to be a vast array of Corduroy board books on the market.)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

When it comes to board books, it’s hard to go wrong with anything illustrated by Eric Carle. The bold colors and interesting textures seem to capture my son’s attention every time we pick up this book.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? has a great cadence, with the text following a simple pattern throughout the entire book. Each page depicts a brightly colored animal, and though Noah is too young to know his colors just yet, this book will be a fun teaching tool once he’s old enough to start learning them.

I find that my one-year-old has distinct preferences about books, even at this young age. With a great combination of animals, colors, and rhythm, this one is a winner every time we pick it up.

I Know A Rhino

This has quickly become a favorite for both me and my son. I’m a big fan of Charles Fuge’s illustrations, and in this book we see his delightful renderings of a little girl and her animal friends. The text is a wonderful poem telling about the various activities she shares with a rhino, an ape, and other assorted creatures. At the closing page, we see a fun little twist as the girl lays sleeping in bed–surrounded by stuffed animals that correspond to all the scenes depicted throughout the book.

My son is only one, but he seems to enjoy the bright colors and the rhythm of the text. There’s just the right amount of text on each page.

“I know a giraffe, and we laugh and we laugh, blowing hundreds of bubbles as we take a bath.” With cheerful prose like that, what’s not to love about this little book? I highly recommend it as part of any baby or toddler’s collection.