Hands : Growing up to Be an Artist, by Lois Ehlert, tells of Ehlert’s experience working on art projects alongside her mother and father. The simple text conveys a clear story, and Ehlert’s photographs make mundane objects – even a pencil and ruler – beautiful. Besides, I’ve always had a soft spot for children’s books with interestingly-shaped pages.
Zippers, Buttons, and Bows, written by Moira Butterfield and illustrated by Peter Uttonis an activity book with a basic plot of children getting ready to go outside. Emma was able to fasten the button with no trouble and the zipper with some help. She’s a little young to tie a shoe, but she enjoyed playing with the laces. I have one small pet peeve with this book. The snap (for our edition at least) is the plastic type found on cloth diapers, and it was too difficult for my daughter to snap or unsnap. The difficulty of doing and undoing this type of snap is exactly why it’s a popular feature on cloth diapers (keeps the diaper on where velcro won’t), but I wish for this book they had used an easier to do and undo metal snap. Of course, that may have led to greater wear and tear on the pages…
Cinderlily: A Floral Fairy Tale, by David Ellwandand Christine Tagg, tells the classic Cinderella story with a flower sultan searching for the most beautiful bloom. The story itself is nothing exceptional, but I love the combination of photography and illustration, and Ellwand’s flower people look like they are really dancing.
Whoever You Are, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub (also available in Spanish), is the best diversity-themed book I’ve seen. Staub’s colorful illustrations caught both of my children’s attention immediately, and my two-year-old likes this book so much that she can recite it from memory. I love the book’s message that, while we may be different from one another in many ways, we are all the same where it really matters: in joy, love, pain, tears, smiles, and hearts.