Books that Make Great Gifts for Kids of All Ages

December 9th, 2020

These books boast beautiful artwork, making them great gifts for any occasion.

Gift Books for Ages 1–3

This is My Daddy!

by Mies van Hout

A lively series of spreads invites young readers to guess the fathers of various baby animals by choosing among several candidates. The fathers are revealed following each multiple-choice page. The final puzzle, involving a human boy, resolves in a humorous surprise.

Shape Up, Construction Trucks!

by Victoria Allenby

Little fans of big trucks will bounce to the rollicking rhyme as they find triangles on dump trucks, squares on cranes, and semi-circles on excavators. Bright photographs, chant-along text, and a closing list of enrichment activities make this a shape book to remember.

Snow Days

by Deborah Kerbel, illus. Miki Sato

For small children, snow is a wonder. Snow Days captures the magic of winter with nimble couplets that celebrate every kind of winter pleasure. Each illustration is a masterpiece made from paper, felt, and embroidery silk, inviting readers to look again and again.

Baby Cakes

by Theo Heras, illus. Renné Benoit

This sweet and simple introduction to instructional texts will have youngsters eager to try making something in the kitchen for the first time.

From 1 to 10

by Mies van Hout

Rendered in bold colours and hues that appeal to toddlers, this book encourages little ones to count the stripes on a fish and the fingers on a monkey, or learn the letters in new words.

Giraffe Meets Bird

by Rebecca Bender

Learn how two unlikely friends met in this prequel to the highly-praised Giraffe and Bird, boasting scrumptious synonyms and bright acrylics.

Good Morning Grumple

by Victoria Allenby, illus. Manon Gauthier

Not every child greets the new day with enthusiasm. Those who don’t are called Grumples, and must be dealt with carefully. This unique celebration of morning captures the love between a parent and their child, even in the crankiest of moments.

Hat On, Hat Off

by Theo Heras, illus. Renné Benoit

It’s time for this little fellow to go outside, but it’s cold out—what will he wear to keep warm? So many hats to choose from! The simple, rhythmic text of Hat On, Hat Off reflects the everyday challenge of getting a toddler ready to go out.

How Do You Feel?

by Rebecca Bender

The toad feels bumpy, like a gnarly tree. The snake feels smooth, like a stone polished by the sea. The hedgehog is discovering the textures of his animal friends, but how does the hedgehog feel himself? Lyrical text and endearing illustrations make this a perfect book for little ones, who may even be inspired to find new ways to express how they feel.

The Haircut

by Theo Heras, illus. Renné Benoit

The Haircut captures the toddler experience of getting a haircut with simplicity and charm. In the Toddler-Tough format with padded cover and extra-heavy pages that are easy to turn and hard to tear, The Haircut is perfect for little ones who are just beginning to feel big.

Gift Books for Ages 3–7

Raven, Rabbit, Deer

by Sue Farrell Holler, illus. Jennifer Faria

A little boy spends the day with his grandfather, endearingly imagining himself to be the caregiver. On a walk through the forest, the grandfather teaches him to identify a number of animals and their tracks: raven, rabbit, deer, sparrow. Back at the house, their special time ends with milk, cookies, and story time that turns into a nap.

Teaching Mrs. Muddle

by Colleen Nelson, illus. Alice Carter

Kayla is worried about missing home or getting lost on the first day of kindergarten but is quickly distracted by the need to help her teacher get through the day. Humorously, the reader sees what Kayla does not: that Mrs. Muddle’s frequent mistakes as she shows them around the school and introduces routines are deliberate ploys to encourage her students’ leadership potential. With Kayla’s help, the class experiences the library, music room, office, gym, and playground as well as centers in the kindergarten classroom.

Nutcracker Night

by Mireille Messier, illus. Gabrielle Grimard

The Nutcracker ballet an New York City’s David H. Koch Theater come to life in this onomatopoeic representation of a little girl’s experience at the ballet. Beautiful illustration infuses each scene with warm holiday colours and a richness that will make young readers feel they are really there.

Pencil: A Story with a Point

by Ann Ingalls, illus. Dean Griffiths

Pencil and his boy Jackson are a great pair, that is until Jackson meets Tablet. Now finding himself dumped in the junk drawer, Pencil must sketch up a plan to draw Jackson back into their friendship. Kid-friendly puns and an upbeat tone make this a wonderful celebration of friendship, collaboration, and unplugged fun.

Benjamin’s Blue Feet

by Sue Macartney

A young blue-footed booby named Benjamin has a knack for finding “treasure” (human discards). When his discovery of a mirror causes him to become insecure about his body, Benjamin uses his collection to change his features. But his changes make it impossible to swim and fish and fly, and Benjamin realizes he’s exactly the way he’s meant to be.

Bon Voyage, Mister Rodriguez

by Christiane Duchesne, illus. François Thisdale

Every day, the children in the village wait to watch the mysterious Mr. Rodriguez go by. His odd but charming ways are eventually revealed to be part of his preparation for the afterlife in this moving intergenerational tale.

Finding Lucy

by Eugenie Fernandes

Lucy is happy painting the colour of laughter in her garden, but loses her way when she follows feedback from a series of animal critics. With wise encouragement from her cat, Lucy finds her authentic self in her work again and painting is rewarding once more.

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

by Rebecca Bender

Giraffe and Bird spat, squabble, and get on each other’s nerves. There’s nothing the irrepressible Bird likes more than to have a laugh at the expense of his dignified friend, and one thirsty day at the water hole, he gets his chance. Giraffe’s awkward attempt to reach the water without getting his hooves wet raises a laugh from all his friends, even bird. With Giraffe’s feelings hurt, Bird learns a lesson about empathy and friendship.

Giraffe and Bird

by Rebecca Bender

Giraffe and Bird are not friends. After all, they fight all the time. But when they go their separate ways and a scary storm strikes, they both realize they might be better off together—even if they are still not friends.

Giraffe and Bird Together Again

by Rebecca Bender

Adventurous Bird loves to try new things and visit new places. His friend Giraffe prefers his safe routine. But when Bird disappears, Giraffe braves a long and difficult journey to save his friend.

Little Fox, Lost

by Nicole Snitselaar, illus. Alicia Padrón

Little Fox is lost in the snowy forest. When an old owl offers to help him find his way home, Little Fox remembers his mother’s rhyming warning to stay still if he is lost. Instead of following a stranger, Little Fox finds a better solution: He lets the other animals help him sing his mother’s rhyme until she follows their voices to him.

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up

by Jane Whittingham, illus. Emma Pedersen

Busy observing the world, Queenie Quail is often admonished to keep up with her parents and nine siblings. When Queenie’s watchful eye spots a cat in the grass, she rescues her family from danger and teaches them the value of slowing down.

Gift Books for Ages 8–12

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night

by Rob Laidlaw

An informational book about bats’ biology, history, habitats, and the environmental challenges they face. “Bat Citizen” profiles highlight the work of young conservationists. Includes full-color photographs throughout, along with a table of contents, index, glossary, sidebars, and center gatefold bat painting.

Once Upon a Line

by Wallace Edwards

A family discovers a trunk of old paintings by Uncle George, each drawn from a single line using an enchanted pen. Wallace Edwards explores storytelling through a single line that grows into a new image and story on each page, inspiring readers to finish the simple stories or come up with their own. An absorbing book rich in detail and color.

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women

by Ailsa Ross, illus. Amy Blackwell

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent and to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.

Small Things

by Mel Tregonning

In a wordless graphic picture book, a young boy’s struggle with anxiety is represented by swarms of tiny creatures that follow and gnaw away at him. As his schoolwork and social interactions suffer, he feels more alone and out of control. The boy’s isolation is ultimately overcome when he opens up to his sister and learns that he is not the only one beset with worries.

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