Today’s holiday gift guide features books for young children. Our librarians have curated a selection of books that are have been well-received during story times and that span a wide spectrum of topics and illustration styles.
You can find these books at local bookstores (we recommend Book Beat in Oak Park or Books-A-Million in Beverly Hills) or you can place the books on hold using the links below. Don’t forget to inscribe the book with a special message to the recipient!
Board Books for Babies
1 Grumpy Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Bruce the bear does not appreciate all the animals who show up ready to party in groups from one to ten.
Dinosnores by Sandra Boynton
An assortment of dinosaurs make preparations for bed, as they brush their teeth, do stretches, settle down together, begin to dream, and then snore.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site Bulldozer’s Shapes by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Ethan Long
In rhyming text, Bulldozer and Crane work at the construction site circling around the dirt, clearing away triangles of rocks until the perfect building spot has been squared off.
Hush a Bye, Baby written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
Presents an illustrated version of the traditional nursery rhyme.
A Little Book About Colors by Leo Lionni
A little mouse shares some of its favorite colors, including red for a bright balloon, blue for a sparkling pool, purple for round grapes, and orange for a juicy slice of fruit.
National Geographic Kids Look & Learn: Bugs by Eva Steele-Saccio
An introduction to the world of insects, including different kinds of bugs, their physical characteristics and behaviors, with simple text and color photographs.
Press Here by Herve? Tullet
Using no special effects other than the reader’s imagination, a series of dots multiplies, grows, or changes color by pressing, tilting, or blowing on the previous page.
Will Sheep Sleep? by Hilary Leung
After Sheep’s long day, his friends help him go through his bedtime routines before he goes to sleep.
Picture books for Toddlers
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Each animal arriving from the zoo as a possible pet fails to suit its prospective owner, until just the right one is found. Movable flaps reveal the contents of each package.
Duck at the Door by Jackie Urbanovic
When Max the duck decides to stay behind when his flock flies south, Irene invites him to stay with her for the winter.
How to Take Care of Your Dinosaur by Jason Cockcroft
A young boy receives instructions for taking care of his new dinosaur, including making him breakfast, taking a walk in the park, playing in a small pond, making sure he gets plenty of rest, and giving him a relaxing bath before bedtime.
I’m a Pig written by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by Holly Berry
In rhyming text, a little pig exults in the fact that she is a pig.
I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey
In I Need a Hug, a tiny porcupine just wants a cuddle. All of the other animals turn him away because of his prickly spikes. But finally the porcupine meets an animal who’s happy to hug — a snake! Rich with author-illustrator Aaron Blabey’s signature rhyming text and unforgettably splendid illustrations, I Need a Hug is a sweet story about friendship and learning not to judge a book by its cover.
Jingle-jingle by Nicola Smee
Mr. Horse has invited all the barnyard animals into his sleigh, and Cat, Dog, Pig, and Duck couldn’t be more excited. Soon, they’re want to buy prednisone holding on tight and dashing through the snow with bells jingle-jingling all the way. Over the fields they fly—but when they reach the hill, everyone wants to slide down…even the horse, of course. Is there room for them all?
Monsters Go Night-Night by Aaron Zenz
Bedtime means brushing your teeth, putting on pajamas, snuggling, and kissing your family goodnight. For monsters, bedtime looks a little different. They brush their teeth, but not with a toothbrush. They get dressed for bed, but not in slippers and nightcaps. They snuggle, but not with a blankie or a teddy bear.
Rescue Squad No. 9 by Mike Austin
A rescue squad saves a girl and her dog from their crashed sailboat during a storm.
We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Jay Fleck
In this twist on “We’re going on a bear hunt,” swashbuckling pirates on a quest for buried treasure brave wicked whales, giant squids, booming thunder, and spine-tingling ghosts, but quake at the sight of a small mouse.
The Wide-Mouthed Frog written by Keith Faulkner and illustrated by Jonathan Lambert
From the Okefenokee Swamp comes a frog with a wide mouth that he just loves to use. He’s particularly interested in the eating habits of other creatures found in the great outdoors–that is, of course, until he comes upon a big green one with lots of teeth who finds wide-mouthed frogs simply delicious.
Picture Books for Older Children
The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick Written by Drew Daywalt & Illustrated by David Spencer
When a grumpy stuffed bunny and a happy-go-lucky stick fall out of their boy’s backpack, they embark on an odyssey that takes them all around the world, experiencing one crazy adventure after another.
Henry’s Awful Mistake by Robert Quackenbush
Henry the duck tries all sorts of methods to rid his kitchen of an ant before his guest comes to supper.
Hungry Jim written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Jim wakes up hungry, just not for the pancakes his mother is fixing–so his imagination takes over, and he pictures himself as a lion checking out the possibilities for breakfast (including his mother).
Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
A hound rescues a schoolgirl from the Seine, becomes a beloved school pet, is chased away by the trustees, and returns with a surprise.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
Wilbur, a naked mole rat who likes to wear clothes, is forced to go before the wise community elder, who surprises the other naked mole rats with his pronouncement.
P is for Pterodactyl written by Raj Haldar & Chris Carpenter and illustrated by Maria Tina Beddia
Let’s get real—the English language is bizarre. A might be for apple, but it’s also for aisle and aeons. Why does the word “gnat” start with a G but the word “knot” doesn’t start with an N? It doesn’t always make sense, but don’t let these rule-breaking silent letters defeat you!
The Proudest Blue written by Olympic Medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad with S. K. Ali and illustrated by Hatem Aly
Faizah relates how she feels on the first day her sister, sixth-grader Asiya, wears a hijab to school.
The Scarecrow Written by Beth Ferry and Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
After a lonely scarecrow saves a small, scared crow that falls from midair, the pair forge an unlikely friendship that is tested by the changing of the seasons.
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! written by Lucille Colandro and illustrated by Jared Lee
A twist on the classic tale of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” takes the story even further as the lady goes about swallowing up a variety of objects, starting with layers of snow.
Truman written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
He may be slow but Truman the turtle is determined to find his girl Sarah, who has boarded a city bus on her way to preschool.
Interested in other book selections? View our full guides: