Board Books & Picture Books (Gift Ideas and Favorites)
Hippos Go Berserk

Hippos Go Berserk

I love when friends send a book and say “we loved this one!” It feels like I’m placing memories on my shelf along with a great story. Thanks to thoughtful friends, we have an abundance of Sandra Boynton books in baby’s growing library, and for good reason. They’re so much fun! And great for teaching counting. This one features a hippo house party, silly illustrations, and clever rhymes. More info →
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Something’s Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

Something’s Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

This book is hilarious. My husband and I started reading it in the bookstore and cracked up--we had to bring it home. A bear named Jeffrey leaves his house wearing only underwear. He knows something is wrong, but he just can’t figure out WHAT. (Adults reading this book will know that feeling well--where did I put my sunglasses? Oh, they’re on my head.) The animals in the forest look askance when Jeffrey walks by, but finally, a kind friend asks about his unique outfit and soon the whole forest is sporting the latest fashion. This book is better suited for slightly older kids, as it features lots of text on the page, quite a bit of internal dialogue, and the themes of embarrassment and anxiety. More info →
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Dream Big, Little One

Dream Big, Little One

Vashti Harrison books are gorgeous, and I love learning about iconic historical figures along with my son. This one features 18 Black American women who made history in their fields, like Mae Jemison and Bessie Coleman. It looks lovely on the shelf and encourages further research and storytelling as the sparse text introduces these women but doesn’t share their full biographies--which is perfect for curious parents and kids. More info →
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Say Hello!

Say Hello!

A Caldecott winning author, stunning collage-style illustrations, and a sweet premise make this colorful book a joy to read. Carmelita loves to greet her neighbors who hail from all over the world, and she learns their custom greetings and walks her dog around the neighborhood. Colorful, bright, and fun, this is a great way to introduce kids to the beauty and diversity of language. More info →
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Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street

I’m always on the lookout for new picture books to share with my nephews. When I heard Anne recommend this title for Sara’s collection in Episode 260: A little free library with a life of its own, I knew I needed it for “Aunt Bookworm Reading Time.” The illustrations—and the message—in this Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book are beautiful. It’s the story of a young boy named CJ and his grandma encountering a diverse group of passengers on a bus ride to their local soup kitchen. As they pass through the neighborhood, CJ has lots of questions for his grandma, and she answers them with honesty and care. More info →
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The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day

A classic. What more is there to say? It’s the most checked-out volume of all time at the New York Public Library and beckons to be read on a literal snowy day. When I’m in the thick of winter blues, this book reminds me that snow is magical and dare I say—FUN. It makes me nostalgic for growing up in snowy Wisconsin and helps me appreciate each snowstorm where I live now. Someday, I hope my son gets to enjoy the freedom and wonder of a snowy day outside just like Keats’ famous character. More info →
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Shh! We Have a Plan

Shh! We Have a Plan

Three friends attempt to sneak up on a little bird. “Shh we have a plan!” They repeat. While the buddies run around the forest and scare the bird away, one pal decides to implement his own, gentler scheme. Repeated phrases like “1 2 3 GO!” make for interactive delight, and the color scheme is gorgeous and eye-catching.

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Dog’s First Baby

Dog’s First Baby

This was a #bookstagram-made-me-do-it pre-order—after seeing a few posts featuring the bold illustrations and thinking of our sweet pup Penny meeting baby for the first time—I had to add it to our collection. A dog tries to determine just what in the world his parents have brought home (“Hmm...are you a dog?”), he quickly learns they’ve provided him with a new best friend. This is a must-purchase for anyone who considers their dog to be part of the family, or who feels nervous about introducing their fluffy friend to baby for the first time. More info →
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Puppies Pop-Up Peekaboo

Puppies Pop-Up Peekaboo

I found a few of these adorable pop up books in my favorite children’s section at Books and Company in Oconomowoc, WI. They proved to be a hit with my nephews from newborn days onward. Each page features a cute stuffed animal, a little bit of text, and a huge pop up flap that’s easy for little hands to maneuver. There’s no plot to follow here--just engaging hands-on reading and lots of color. These are my absolute favorite to give as baby gifts, as there’s a subject for every interest. Tip: I’ve even found them at TJ Maxx on occasion, making for an excellent one-stop-gift-shopping experience. More info →
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Peek-a Who?

Peek-a Who?

A diaper bag essential! This book is compact, making it perfect for travel. The mirror on the last page is perfect for that stage when little ones love to see themselves, and they’ll adore the simple rhyme and repetition. My nephew carried this one around the house for months, and now I have multiple copies on baby’s shelf. More info →
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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

This was my husband’s favorite book when he was little—his mom can still recite it from memory (as I’m sure many of you can, too!). I love that classic picture books like this one are now available in board book format, making them easier to read with tiny kiddos, though the picture book is also a bookshelf staple. Fun fact: I didn’t realize the illustrator grew up in the same small town as my grandmother! Surprisingly, they didn’t know each other (usually my grandma knows every family name and farm from the area). More info →
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Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemum

This was my favorite book to check out from the library when I was in kindergarten. Chrysanthemum is a mouse who loves her name, until she goes to school and gets teased about it. Her supportive parents try to restore her confidence, but it takes a special teacher to turn things around. Henkes is a phenomenal illustrator, but his sense of humor and genius use of vocabulary makes this book such a delight to read aloud. Book nerd alert: I remember being so pleased with myself for pronouncing long words while reading with my parents. More info →
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Little Hoot

Little Hoot

A friend sent a box set of Amy Krouse Rosenthal books, and I had never seen them before! I sat down to read them right away and giggled the whole way through. The way she subverts expectations and uses irony—it’s perfection! Little Hoot features an owl whose family expects him to stay up late (as owls do…) but all he wants to do is go to sleep. Such sweet illustrations, and the funniest premise. Humor goes FAR for me. I love reading a book that makes me laugh and entertains my little one. More info →
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