By Ezra Jack Keats, Puffin Books
Join Peter as he experiences the wonder of winter’s first snow fall. Nothing says ‘new possibilities’ like the fresh canvas of a snowy day.
By Teddy Jam (Matt Cohen) and illustrated by Eric Beddows, Groundwood Books
Lyrical prose and rich illustrations portray a tired father’s imaginative explanations of the nighttime noises outside the window. Billed as the Canadian Goodnight Moon.
By Jeremy Tankard, Scholastic
When Bird wakes up, he’s too grumpy to eat, play or even fly, and instead starts stomping through the forest on foot. But his oblivious, happy-go-lucky friends stick to him like glue, turning Bird’s walk into an inadvertent game of follow-the-leader that makes Bird even grumpier.
By Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, Candlewick Press
It is impossible not to sigh and aw-w-w over the sweet illustrations of Little Nutbrown Hare in various stages of sleep and play as he and Big Nutbrown Hare describe their love for each other.
By Taro Gimo, EDC Publishing
It’s a part of life that no one can escape. Not even elephants! Little ones and parents alike will get a kick out of this humorous biology lesson.
By Eric Carle, Penguin Random House
Layered under the imaginative die-cut pages are lessons about counting, the days of the week and the magic of metamorphosis.
By Eric Hill, Puffin Books
The first lift-the-flap children’s book has toddlers readily identifying with the rascal puppy Spot, who is hiding from his mother, Sally.
By Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle, Henry Holt & Co.
A page-turner that ignites in readers the desire to glimpse a blue horse, a purple cat and the next brilliant thing that follows.
By Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Dial Books
Everyone knows that dragons breathe fire, but did you know that dragons love tacos? Just make sure you don’t serve them with spicy salsa…
By Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel Books
All Duncan wants to do is colour. The only problem? All his crayons have quit! Will he ever be able to get them to come back?
By Shel Silverstein, HarperCollins
There once was a tree who loved a little boy. Learn the true meaning of conditional love in this heartbreaking classic every parent will relate to and every child will come to understand.
By Hervé Tullet, Chronicle Books
In this magical and interactive book, readers are instructed to press, shake and tilt the pages to experience a whirlwind of whimsy. A celebration of imagination and ingenuity, Press Here will have children and parents alike transfixed.
By Julia Donaldson and illustrated b Axel Scheffler, Pan MacMillan
During a walk in the woods, a cunning mouse evades the dinner plate of various forest creatures by inventing the fearsome Gruffalo. However, when he is suddenly faced with a real Gruffalo, he must once again outsmart his foe, proving that you don’t have to be the biggest to be the strongest.
By Martin Waddell and illustrated by Barbara Firth, Candlewick Press
Warm watercolours capture Big Bear’s tender attempts to banish all dark from the cave so Little Bear feels safe enough to sleep.
By Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, Simon & Schuster
Infectiaous, playful rhyme sends the alphabet on a romp up a coconut tree.
By Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, HarperCollins
Wise Brown’s quiet poetry has lulled generations of children to sleep and enticed millions of families to hunt for the mouse on every page.
By Dennis Lee and illustrated by Sandy Nichols, HarperCollins
Margaret Laurence once said of Lee’s inaugural poetry collection that “you can almost hear the skipping ropes slapping on the sidewalk.”
By Lucy Cousins, Candlewick Press
According to Cousins, Maisy “drew herself” one day when Cousins was doodling, and has since become one of the best-loved characters in children’s books.
By William Steig, Square Fish
An unscrupulous fox wonders if it would be “shabby” to eat his dentist once his toothache is cured, then finds himself outsmarted by the clever Doctor De Soto.
By Rosemary Wells, Puffin Books
The illustrations of curious three-year-old Max and bossy seven-year-old Ruby incite as much fun as the words.
By Vera B. Williams, HarperCollins
Three stories of crazy-for-you affection, starting with Little Guy being chased by his daddy, who catches Little Guy and throws him high, swings him all around and gives him a kiss right in the middle of his belly button. “More,” laughs Little Guy. “More. More. More.” The book explodes with colour, each word an assortment of hues, each baby uniquely adored.
By Dr. Seuss, Random House Books for Young Readers
Written in response to an article in Life magazine that lamented the boring reading lessons in schools, The Cat in the Hat employed 223 words from primary reading lists and single-handedly killed “Dick and Jane.”
By Margaret and H.A. Rey, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
George embodies the irresistibly lovable little monkey in all small children.
By Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw, Firefly Books
This sentimental favourite showcases a mother’s undying devotion to her child, which eventually comes full circle.
By Ludwig Bemelmans, Puffin Books
It is a lovely moment of drama and fun when Miss Clavel discovers 11 wailing little girls who yearn to have appendicitis just like Madeline.
By Robert McCloskey, Viking Books
A delightful story about a duck family in Boston’s Public Garden that crosses a heavily trafficked street with the help of the police department.
By Virginia Lee Burton, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The spirited telling of how a steam shovel named Mary Anne is captivating for its unabashed delight in all things mechanical.
By Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Annick Press
Princess Elizabeth rescues, and then dumps, handsome Prince Ronald, who disapproves of the paper bag she wears instead of burnt clothes.
By Chris Van Allsburg, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The majestic illustrations of this Caldecott Medal winner illuminate the simple, heartwarming story about how believing in Santa Claus keeps us young at heart.
By Mélanie Watt, Kids Can Press
Squirrel has his share of wacky fears, which he unwittingly confronts in a laugh-out-loud way that inspires young readers to take small risks of their own.
By Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin, Kids Can Press
Bored canine Stanley discovers that nothing actually happens when he sneaks up on the forbidden couch, and so dancing, fridge-raiding and a full-blown party ensue.
By Marie-Louise Gay, Groundwood Books
Stella’s irrepressible “leap before you look” and “invent if you don’t know” philosophies make for some creative explanations to her little brother Sam about the sea.
By Tim Wynne-Jones and illustrated by Eric Beddows, Groundwood Books
When a cat who loves water finds a map to the sea, he has a thrilling, wholly original adventure.
By Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson, Grosset & Dunlap
In a lovely testament to self-assured individuality, Ferdinand the bull prefers relaxing under a cork tree and smelling the flowers to the snorting and butting of his peers.
By Maurice Sendak, HarperCollins
After threatening to eat his mother up, Max is sent to his room. Once there, he sails off to where the wild things are. He becomes king of these fearsome, and goofy, creatures, leads them on a wild rumpus, then returns home to a hot supper. The honest and uncompromising nature of childhood lives inside the carefully crafted pages and vivid illustrations of this wonderful and much-loved book.
By Jean De Brunhoff, Random House Books for Young Readers
A young orphaned elephant rises from wild animal to the toast of high society (in a smart pressed suit) and ultimately to king of the elephants.
By Shel Silverstein, HarperCollins
Silverstein’s first collection of children’s poetry, at once clever, funny and profound, dares all dreamers to try extraordinary things.
By Crockett Johnson, HarperCollins
Armed with nothing but his purple crayon and creativity, Harold embarks on a wild adventure of his own devising. A whimsical ode to the power of a child’s imagination.
By Ian Falconer, Simon & Schuster
What adventure will Olivia get into next? Follow along with “everyone’s favourite precocious pig,” in this iconic and award-winning series of sweet stories.
By Mo Willems, Disney-Hyperion
When the bus driver has to leave, you are left with only one task—under no circumstances can you let the pigeon drive the bus. However, that pigeon can sure be convincing…
By Dr. Seuss, Random House Books for Young Readers
Where would you eat green eggs and ham? In a house? In a box? With a fox? With a goat? With simple rhymes and only 50 words, this is a great beginner book to introduce a new generation of readers to the magic of Dr. Seuss.
By Jon Klassan, Candlewick Press
Bear has lost his hat, and no one seems to know where it is. Will he ever find it? Humorous illustrations help to bring the story to life, and involve you in the mystery.
By Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight, Simon & Schuster
Join in the mischievous fun of Eloise, the quick-witted little girl who lives on the “tippy-top floor” of New York’s Plaza Hotel. Along with her Nanny, pet pug Weenie and turtle Skipperdee, the adventures and antics of Eloise continue to entertain future generations of readers.
By Mo Willems, Disney-Hyperion
In this interactive and self-reflexive story, best friends Gerald the elephant and Piggie the pig realize that they are in a book—a book that’s being read by you! However, while playing with the reader is really fun, the two begin to question exactly what will happen when the book comes to an end.
By Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, HarperCollins
Harry loves to get messy, but hates to take a bath. Sound familiar? An entertaining book for young readers who love dogs and hate bath time.
By Blance Fisher Wright, Scholastic
Despite the plentiful variety of nursery rhyme editions that surface regularly, it is this version, with its beloved illustrations, that is still going strong after nearly a century.
By Beatrix Potter, Frederick Warne
This quintessential cautionary tale, with its intimate, conversational tone, humorously warns young readers about the perils of misbehaving.
By Marjorie Flack and illustrated by Kurt Wiese, Grosset & Dunlap
Spunky little duck Ping is accidentally left behind on the Yangtze River one night, where his scary misadventures prompt him to be on time the next evening.
By Dav Pilkey, Scholastic
When two fourth-graders hypnotize the mean Principal Krupp, they accidentally bring to life Captain Underpants—a superhero from their homemade comic books. Many adventures, and fart jokes, ensue in this endlessly entertaining series.
By Edizioni Piemme, Scholastic
Geronimo Stilton, a mild-mannered mouse from New Mouse City on Mouse Island, just wants a quiet, simple life, writing stories for The Rodent’s Gazette. However, he can’t seem to avoid getting involved in all levels of high jinks! In this first book of the series, Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye, Geronimo takes readers on a wild treasure hunt when his sister Thea (who has a book series of her own!) finds a mysterious map that takes our hero on a journey he won’t soon forget!
By Daisy Meadows, Scholastic
When Rachel meets Kirsty on the ferry to Rainspell Island, they don’t know that they are about to embark on a magical adventure. It all begins in the series’ first instalment Ruby the Red Fairy, when the two new friends find Ruby the fairy in a pot at the end of rainbow. They learn that Ruby and her fairy sisters, each a different colour of the rainbow, have been cast out of Fairyland by the villainous Jack Frost, and must return before their home is lost to grayness.
By Arnold Lobel, HarperCollins
Grumpy Toad and carefree Frog are best friends. And, while Frog’s optimism seems like the glue that holds them together, Toad has his own shining moments. Once, finding Frog looking too green, Toad goes to great pains to make him feel better. The friends’ great loyalty guides them throughout the four books of their adventures.
By Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Suçie Stevenson, Simon & Schuster
In this winsome first-reader (the first in the series), single child Henry realizes how much he loves his drooling, 180-pound dog, Mudge (who grew out of seven collars in a row), when Mudge goes missing.
By Eve Rice, HarperCollins
While he has lovingly tended to all the other animals, it appears that Sam the zookeeper has forgotten to feed Elephant. Will Elephant have his hay?
By Roch Carrier, translated by Sheila Fischman and illustrated by Sheldon Cohen, Tundra Books
A classic Canadian parable, based on a real incident in Carrier’s childhood, finds humour and horror in the protagonist’s predicament of having to wear the hockey sweater of the rival Maple Leafs.
By Else Homelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, HarperCollins
Little Bear’s relationships help him learn about love in this warm and witty series.
By Phoebe Gilman, Scholastic
A rich retelling of an old Jewish folk tale in which Joseph’s cherished baby blanket is transformed into successively smaller but wonderful items over the years.
By Mary Pope Osborne, Random House Books for Young Readers
An addictive blend of fascinating facts, time travel and easy-to-read short chapters where books are the portal to adventurous time periods.
By Wendelin Van Draanen, Yearling
A thoroughly enjoyable romp with a modern superhero, class nerd Nolan Byrd, who assumes a secret identity to expose class bully Bubba Bixby.
By Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, Simon & Schuster
Thirteen-year-old Mallory and nine-year-old twins Jared and Simon are forced to move with their mother into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate belonging to their great-aunt Lucinda. Once there, they discover a curious field guide to an array of mythical creatures, and find themselves sucked into the dark and dangerous world of faeries. Detailed illustrations, deliciously cryptic clues and three strong protagonists (bossy Mallory, eccentric Simon and troubled Jared) combine for a wholly satisfying read.
By Margery Williams, Egmont
The charming and sentimental story about how a favourite toy becomes real when loved to pieces.
By Dick King-Smith, Puffin Books
When Fly the sheepdog adopts Babe the pig and saves him from the family freezer by teaching him how to herd sheep, Babe teaches Fly about friendship. This book is the basis for the beloved family movie Babe.
By Jeff Kinney, Amulet Books
When starting middle school Greg Heffley just wants to fit in. However, no matter how hard he tries, his dreams of popularity seem to continually evade his reach. Read along as Greg learns the important lessons of growing up, documenting each new challenge and milestone in heartfelt, and often hilarious, diary entries. A super relatable story for anyone who ever felt like an outcast.
By Ann M. Martin and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier, Scholastic
This re-imagining of Ann M. Martin’s classic series The Baby-Sitters Club brings Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey back together, only now in graphic novel form! Martin’s words, read and loved by generations of young readers, are given new life with Raina Telemeier’s illustrations, as the story of how four best friends form not only a club of babysitters, but also lifelong bonds of friendship, unfolds for a whole new wave of readers.
By Deborah Howe and James Howe, Simon & Schuster
The family dog recounts how the family cat becomes obsessed with saving everyone from a suspected vampire bunny.
By Ursula K. Le Guin and illustrtaed by S.D. Schindler, Scholastic
Four winged kittens take flight to escape the filth and perils of city life, and discover high adventure and a safe home in the country.
By George Selden and illustrated by Garth Williams, Yearling
When a country cricket from Connecticut is accidentally transported to the 42nd Street subway station in New York City, he finds friends, shelter and a hidden talent he never knew he had.
By Beverly Cleary, HarperCollins
Set in small-town America in the 1950s, this tale of eight-year-old Henry’s antics with his new-found mutt, Ribsy, evokes a simpler time and plenty of laughs.
By Mordecai Richler, Tundra Books
Richler’s delightfully dreadful plot, heaped with cheeky humour, finds two-plus-two-plus-two-year-old Jacob in prison for the unpardonable sin of insulting a grown-up.
By Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater, Little Brown Young Readers
Eleven “orking” and “gooking” penguins descend on the Popper household to find fame, fortune and more than a little chaos.
By Beverly Cleary, HarperCollins
Ralph the mouse’s elation that he can actually ride the toy motorcycle of his new human friend, Keith, sparks a night of lively, comic adventure.
By Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett, Random House Books for Young Readers
Nine-year-old Elmer Elevator travels to Wild Island to rescue an enslaved baby dragon, armed with two dozen pink lollipops, some rubber bands, chewing gum and a fine-toothed comb. First book in a trilogy.
By Beverly Cleary, HarperCollins
Ramona gets herself into a ton of hilarious trouble with her inability to compromise and her fierce need to be understood, qualities young readers readily see in themselves.
By Louis Sachar, Penguin Random House
Thirty quirky short stories about an unconventional school with horrifyingly delicious characters such as the ghastly Mrs. Gorf, who turns kids into apples until she is turned into one herself…and is then eaten!
By Judy Blume, Puffin Books
The mischievous meddling and annoying cuteness of Peter’s little brother Fudge will resonate with anyone who’s been bitten by sibling rivalry.
By Ted Hughes, Faber & Faber
Nobody knows where the giant Iron Man came from. With a head as big as a bedroom and an insatiable appetite for metal, he enrages the local farmers by eating their tractors and threshers. Recognizing that the giant is simply hungry and not evil, a young boy named Hogarth befriends him just in time for the Iron Man to conquer a monstrous space dragon that arrives to destroy the world. This is not simply a rock ’em, sock ’em boy’s war story. Former British poet laureate Hughes (also famous for his tragic marriage to the American poet Sylvia Plath) writes with spare, evocative language to tell an entrancing story, part science fiction and part fairy tale, about the seductive power of evil and how peace can defeat it.
By A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, Puffin Books
Generations of kids have been enchanted by Milne’s whimsical stories about the beloved “bear of little brain” and his friends, who find wonder and mystery in the most ordinary things.
By Lewis Carroll, Simon & Schuster
C.S. Lewis said no book is worth reading at age 10 that is not equally worth reading at age 50. Carroll’s classic stands this test of time, as adult and child alike identify with poor Alice, who grows and shrinks and tries to make sense of her nonsensical world.
By Lucy Maud Montgomery, Simon & Schuster
The exuberance with which the feisty red-haired orphan accidentally dyes her hair green and bakes a cake full of liniment pulls us headfirst into her quirky hurricane.
By Mary Norton, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The idea that tiny people called borrowers live beneath the floorboards of our houses, frame postage stamps as art and use matchboxes for drawers is the charming anchor for these daring adventures.
By Katherine Paterson, HarperCollins In this powerful story of friendship and loss, the imaginary kingdom of Terabithia is where Jess and Leslie learn to cope with life when it’s not so beautiful.Photo: HarperCollins
By Christoper Paul Curtis, Laurel Leaf Guided by his own “Rules and Things for Having a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself,” 10-year-old Bud Caldwell’s half-baked odyssey to flee his abusive foster home and find his supposed father will make you laugh and cry.Photo: Laurel Leaf
By E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams, HarperCollins In the beloved story of a little pig named Wilbur who is saved from an untimely death by Charlotte the spider, readers are transported into the barn which smells of the “perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows.” White’s lyrical prose lulls his readers into a celebration of senses, encouraging them to find the wonder in every moment. The story confronts the reality that the passage of time — and friends — is inevitable, and portrays change not as a tragedy, but as a door to new opportunities.Photo: HarperCollins
By Lloyd Alexander, Holt Books for Young Readers The urgent quest in this mythical world is pursued by fallible protagonists and buoyed with more than a pinch of humour.Photo: Holt Books for Young Readers
By J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Perhaps just as magical as his wizarding abilities is the way Harry Potter took the literary world by storm and got kids (and their parents) reading again.Photo: Bloomsbury
By Gary Paulsen, Simon & Schuster A young boy survives a plane crash and goes on to spend 54 days — filled with obstacles and triumphs — alone in the wilderness.Photo: Simon & Schuster
By Louis Sachar, Laurel Leaf Stanley Yelnats’ no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather started a family curse that is lifted when events as palindromic as Stanley’s name lead him to retrace his ancestor’s tracks.Photo: Laurel Leaf
By Cornelia Funke, Scholastic Meggie’s father unwittingly reads some nightmarish villains out of a book and into the real world in this dark and gripping fantasy.Photo: Scholastic
By C.S. Lewis, HarperCollins J.R.R. Tolkien argued that publishing the chronicles of Narnia would hurt Lewis’s reputation as a serious writer, but few can resist the magic door into a world where animals talk and epic battles are waged.Photo: HarperCollins
By Laura Ingalls Wilder, HarperCollins The physical and emotional struggles of pioneer life captured in these books were largely lost in the TV series, as was the unique character of Pa, truly larger than life on the page.Photo: HarperCollins
By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt A timeless tale that explores the essence of love and loneliness while gently exposing the foibles of adulthood.Photo: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
By J.M. Barrie, Puffin Books The “innocent and heartless” tale of Neverland and the Lost Boys, with pirates, crocodiles and the tantalizing concept of never growing up.Photo: Puffin Books
By Brian Jacques, Penguin Random House Vintage Children’s Classic This epic adventure of the mice of Redwall Abbey contains the elements of all grand quests: tragedy and comedy, danger and wonder, a despicable villain and an inspiring hero.Photo: Penguin Random House Vintage Children's Classic
By Frances Hodgson Burnett, Penguin Random House Bantam Classic The story of how spoiled, ill-tempered Mary and lonely, bedridden Colin are transformed through their efforts to bring a mysterious, abandoned garden to life.Photo: Penguin Random House Bantam Classic
By Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler), HarperCollins The unrelenting bad fortune that plagues the Baudelaire orphans propels you through these books’ dark, droll pages like a rubbernecker at a car crash.Photo: HarperCollins
By Natalie Babbitt, Square Fish After drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family became immortal — a fact that 10-year-old Winnie Foster discovers after stumbling upon the eternally 17-year-old Jesse Tuck in the woods one morning. Compelled to make Winnie understand that the family legacy is more curse than blessing and must be kept secret, the Tucks steal her away. While Winnie’s affection for the family grows — as does her infatuation with handsome Jesse — she also comes to see that living forever means that life passes you by.Photo: Square Fish
By Kenneth Grahame, Pan MacMillan The madcap adventures of Mole, Ratty, Toad and Badger expose lessons of friendship and morality with rich metaphor and burlesque comedy.Photo: Pan MacMillan
By L. Frank Baum, Signet Described as the first truly American fairy tale, Baum’s classic story sends us on a weird and wonderful journey to learn that sometimes you have to get lost in order to be found.Photo: Signet
By Madeleine L’Engle, Pan MacMillan Likeable characters who stumble and grow make this more than just great science fiction.Photo: Pan MacMillan
By R.J. Palacio, Knopf Books for Young Readers Auggie Pullman was born with a rare facial deformity, a characteristic that makes it hard for him to fit in. This inspirational and uplifting story about overcoming adversity reminds all readers that true beauty lies below the surface. Make sure to catch the film adaptation, starring Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts coming to theatres in late 2017!Photo: Knopf Books for Young Readers