This is a weird incidence of me really preferring a sequel to the original, “Unicorn Night Sleep Tight” is the sequel to “Unicorn Day” which was fine but it never really stole our hearts to be perfectly honest. “Unicorn Night” however, has become a fast favourite in our household. My kids just love this book, it’s one of my 3 year old’s go to bedtime picks. it’s a cute rhyming read aloud, and perfect for bed.
One little girl is nervous about starting kindergarten, but as luck would have it the school uniform store also provides a handy little school unicorn to lend emotional support. This story was adorable, my kids were confused about why the girl had to return the unicorn, and honestly I kind of wish they got to stay friends forever too. Either way, very cute, very colourful, fun read aloud.
“Room for Everyone” is an instant classic in my opinion, fast paced, colourful, fun read aloud. With a structure that really is reminiscent of classic folk tales. It’s beautifully written, wonderfully illustrated, and tons of fun for readers.
“Wolfboy” is truly a delightful book, with it’s unusual plasticine illustration, that are fun and unique and a story that’s charming with a sweet twist at the end that readers will have a laugh at. Adorable.
Look for a guide where:
-the writer has tried the actual products and tells you about how their real kids used them. Helpful if you can tell if that kid’s personality aligns with the kid you are buying for.
-the toy company did not pay for a spot on the guide, gift guides in most magazines are paid for spots, and certainly in all junk mailers.
-where you can ask questions to the guide creator and get answers.
consider the actual kid you’re buying for.
-is the criteria for selections on the guide clear? And are they the criteria you yourself value?
-Ask the kid you’re buying for what they like, or ask their care givers and educators, use that as a starting point. If the child is going to daycare or kindergarten, they’re playing with lots of different kinds of toys, and their educator will know what they gravitate towards.
Being a thoughtful gift giver doesn’t mean being a good guesser. Asking shows respect for the child as an individual.
Delightful Funny Stories Your Kids Will Love, Gender and Age is irrlevant: These are all stories that my own children have enjoyed over multiple reads, or in some cases over the past year over and over again. The criteria is humour, enjoyability, good strong story line, likeable characters, excellent art, and that MY KIDS LIKED IT! All of my books are gifted, period, but I have not accepted any money and the links bellow are not affiliate links, I strongly suggest you buy them from your local indie bookstore.
“Leopold’s Leotard” Rhiannon Wallace, Risa Hugo 2021, Orca Book Publishers.
Leopold loves the dance! He doesn’t love his itchy performance costume. What will he do?
“Atticus Caticus” by Sarah Maizes and Kara Kramer, 2021, Candlewick.
A rhyming delightful tribute to a boy’s beloved cat. One of my three year old’s favourite book.
“Off-Limits” by Helen Yoon 2021, Candlewick
There’s nothing like the allure of office supplies, especially when they’re left unattended.
“Cannonball”by Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan, 2020, Source Books Kids.
Doing a cannonball is no simple act, it takes courage, it takes chutzpah, has he got what it takes?
“On Account of the Gum” by Adam Rex 2020, Chronicle Kids Books.
A bad situation, and it just gets worse. Don’t sleep with gum in your mouth.
“Lobstah Gahden” by Alli Bridon and EG Keller, 2021, Sourcebooks Kids.
Two lobsters are just trying to win a gardening competition but boats keep dumping garbage on them, read in a Bahstan accent.
It’s Nov. 8 and I’d like to remind you, no matter what you see there’s no urgency that you buy all kinds of crap immediately.
In fact there’s no reason to by useless crap at all. Does anyone actually like getting baskets of soap? Or kitchen signs that say “live, laugh, love”? No.
Your kids will be just as loved if they don’t get a new menagerie of stuffed animals and whatever the new “hot” crap toys are. Trendy crap never lasts anyways
I know it’s hard to resist the insistent messages to buy, so I made you these screen savers to remind you, you can and should say no. Save up for something you really need, like a beach vacation. Wouldn’t that be nice?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I bought all the things. Anything I didn’t buy, other people bought for us. Most of it was completely unnecessary and I try my best to block the entire thing out of my head.
I’m not unusual in these mistakes, when you’re waiting for a baby, whether you’re the parent or the aunty or just a very good friend you want to show your love and excitement and buying everything in sight is an easy and fast way to do it. The trouble is most of the stuff gathers dust, takes up space, creates waste, and at the end of the day it was money better spent on a RESP for school or diapers!
With Christmas coming, people don’t want to gift boring things like diapers and school money. It’s unfortunate but it’s true they want something they can wrap with a bunch of ribbons and watch the baby open. That’s just a fact, unfortunately when it comes to toys for babies-it’s basically all useless. Your baby really just wants to chew on your tv remote, or old water bottle. They’ll be more excited by the wrapping tissue than any fancy electronic rattle.
So here’s my solution for everyone. Buy books. You can wrap books. They’re made of paper instead of crap plastic. You can read to the baby you give it to, and that’s an experience you can enjoy together with actual value. And you can write a little message in it that will be kept for years to come. Books are relatively easy to store, and they’re not annoying. If everyone could just call up their local independent bookshop and order a ton of books for all their babies this year, the world would be a much calmer more literate place!
Now I know, you’re like, ‘but WHICH books?’ the baby might already have it? Well don’t worry I got you, I have two lists for you, one of active play books that babies and toddlers can experience and destroy with great joy over time, and a second list of beautiful books that are sure to be future classics in a child’s library. All of them new books of the last two years! So it’s unlikely they’ve got it already.
Click on the photos of the books to check out their publisher website, and place an order with a local independent book shop and support your local economy!
The expectation that when someone gives your kids something- when they were not asked to do so- you must pretend to be grateful, and then let it collect dust until it finally finds its way onto a donation pile or scrap heap is complete nonsense. And I object. So I’ve created a sample season’s greetings but no thank you letter for you all!
The narrative of forced gratitude for something that is actively inconvenient and wasteful is especially infuriating, to me, when the offending item was purchased for my child without considering my child as a person with preferences and feelings. (My kids are capable of talking, why doesn’t the person call them up and ask them “Hey what kinda stuff do you like?”)
Extra infuriating when it’s gigantic and noisy.
Can we please start changing the narrative that relatives and family friends need to give flashy toys to demonstrate a relationship? It’s really messed up, inconvenient, wasteful, and desperately harmful to our environment.
Before you say “well some people can only afford crappy plastic toys and they deserve to enjoy the gift giving time of the year” YES, they do, but can they ask first? Can they ask what the kid actually likes instead of deciding ‘that’s a boy-child and I’m gonna buy them a great big gun thing.’ Can they maybe get a ten dollar bill, go to the convenience store, have it broken into nickels, and give the kid a giant bag of coins? (My brother in law did that one year, and it was such a huge hit with my kid, and it cost him less than ten bucks.) Can they perhaps just buy some nice books, write a nice message in them, and sit down and read to the child? It’s not hard to make space for books, if they’re good books they get enjoyed way longer than a crappy plastic toy, and its an opportunity to build a relationship.
So here is a list of 5 love filled Grandparent Books I recommend Grandparents buy instead of getting random crap in the clearance section at Walmart.
TIME FOR BED, OLD HOUSE Janet Costa Bates, A.G. Ford @candlewickpress a boy’s first sleep over with his Grandpa, and it’s time to say goodnight to every part of the house.
CARLA AND THE CHRISTMAS CORNBREAD Carla Hall and Cherise Harris @simonkids a beautiful nostalgic story, with a delightful array of foods, and family traditions.
THE ELECTRIC SLIDE AND KAI Kelly J. Baptist and Darnell Johnson @leeandlowbooks One boy practices his dance moves in anticipation of finally seeing his grandpa again. A joyful happy family story.
THE WHOLE WORLD INSIDE NAN’S SOUP Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang Absolutely beautiful, would be nice to include your own recipe to pass down when writing a dedication into the end papers.
WE’LL BE TOGETHER AGAIN Lucy Menzies and Maddy Vian @quartokids this one is unusual, it flips open like two doors, and shows the little girl waiting to be reunited with the grandfather, who is on the otherside.
THE LONGER THE WAIT THE BIGGER THE HUG Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar @faberchildrens the third book in this charming classic series about love and affection.
These books were all submitted by the publishers for the #bookstagang _bestof2021 which is currently being judged!
“Gigantosaurus: Roar, Giganto, Roar!: A Puppet Book” by Cyber Group Studios @bigpicturepress Willow is obsessed with this dinosaur puppet book. Such a huge hit!
“When I’m Not Looking” Farren Phillips @yeehoopress hilarious, engaging, search and find element included. Absolute delight.
“The Grumpy Fairies” by Bethan Stevens, adorable, funny, beautiful.
“Here Be Dragons” Susannah Lloyd and Paddy Donnelly @quartokids this one doesn’t technically release until February in North America but if you order from Blackwell’s you can get around that in time for the holidays.
“Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle” Cathay Ballou Mealley and Kelly Collier @kidscanpress
“Maybe…” by Chris Haughton Okay I said five but here’s a bonus book because I can’t leave it off the list! We love Haughton’s humorous books about mischievous animals and this new one about monkeys tempted by a tiger surrounded mango tree is top notch. Instant classic.
So these are the books I thought were the funniest of the year so far, they’re not the most educational, they’re not the most important or diverse. Just the funniest books my kids and I loved. If you’re looking for something more sentimental, fact filled, or looking to create a more intentionally diverse collection, check out some of my other recommended lists!
Looking for Board Books guaranteed to entertain and stand the test of time? Perfect gifts for Baby Showers, Christmas, holidays, birthdays, or just because!
Board Books are the perfect form of children’s book, they hold up, they’re water resistent, they’re easy to travel with. Babies and toddlers can explore them independently and manipulate the pages and the features. Then of course there’s the whole new world of flaps, furs, twists, pulls, tabs, and whatever the heck pop out an artist can imagine and create! Paper Engineering adds a completely new element of STEM creation and 3D thinking otherwise unimaginable.
I LOVE BOARD BOOKS. MY KIDS LOVE BOARD BOOKS. Why do publishers bother printing stories on anything else? It just makes everything more accessible.
Source 1: Bond, S. ” Top 5 Ancient and Medieval Censored Books TO Read During Banned Book Week” Forbes, 2016.
Source 2: King, N. “Banned Books Week: How the Blacklist can Goose a Book’s Sales” Marketplace.org, 2013.
Source 3: SaraH Ockler, SarahOckler.com, 2010
Source 4: Ringle, P. “How Banning Books Marginalizes Children,” TheAtlantic.com, 2016.
Source 5: Waller, A. “Books About Racism and Police Violence Fill Out List of ‘Most Challenged Titles.” NYTIMES, 2020.
Have you ever wondered why publishers and authors are always publicizing preorder availability? There’s some very practical reasons for it!
Special thanks to the team at Walker Books for answering questions about this issue as well as UK Book Publisher, Editorial director at Andersen Press, Libby Hamilton @LibbyHamHam on Instagram