Children’s pictures books is a thriving industry and I am continuously surprised by the talented authors and illustraters who continue to create beautiful books that tell memorable, enchanting stories in engaging, clever, at times poignant, sometimes nostalgic and always memorable ways.

There are many dedicated lists, awards and websites dedicated to promote children’s books and many listicles to peruse for inspiration. This isn’t one of those. These are my 5 picks of books guaranteed to put a smile on both reader and child’s face.

They are the books we return to again and again. On sad days and bad days when little ones don’t feel like doing anything, these are the books to have at hand. They are keepers, never-return-to-the-library kind of books.

They also make great gifts for children, both boys and girls, for mature two year olds upwards to five or six year olds. There are many book gift sets, book-related toys, books with DVD’s and again, this isn’t one of those lists for gifts where the book is almost an afterthought.

These are books bought to be read, over-and-over, again-and-again until their pages are worn and they smell like dust and cinnamon.

They have something good to say. Not just to children, but also to adults. They are timeless.

The Book With No Pictures

by B.J. Novak (Author)

A hilarious book with no pictures. The perfect illustration that books with no pictures can be just as good, if not better, than books with pictures.

book with no pictures

The Dark

by Lemony Snicket (Author), Jon Klassen (Illustrator)

Most children, at some point, are afraid of the dark, just like Lazlo. This is a story about the dark. It is not a scary book. It covers common ground that has been covered by others a great many times, but it is the only book, one of dozens we have read, that finally convinced my daughter that the dark itself is not a scary thing at all. It is engaging, evocative and beautifully written and illustrated.

the dark

There are no cats in this book

by Viviane Schwarz (Author)

Children’s fiction is filled with animal themed books and despite all the well-known characters, this is my daughter’s favourite animal book. She never tires of it and neither do I. The story is about a bunch of lovable cats who are just about to go traveling around the world, except they cannot get out of the book without a little help. It is imaginatively interactive, with the cats asking for help from the reader. Again a fairly common theme in children’s fiction done brilliantly well.

there are no cats

The New Jumper (The Hueys)

by Oliver Jeffers (Author, Illustrator)
KindlePaperbackBoardbookAudible Audio Download

A story about individuality. It makes it onto our list because it is a story written from the middle. It is about being different and embracing your own individually, but it is just as much about being the same as everyone else and finding it uncomfortable when someone comes along with a new thing that upsets the balance and suddenly everything starts to change.


The Day The Crayons Quit

by Drew Daywalt (Author), Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)

A story about empathy, thoughtfulness and colouring. Duncan comes to colour and finds that his crayons have quit and left him a letter each to explain why. It is another children’s book with a big impact – illustrating problem solving skills that makes everyone happy in the end, including Duncan himself. Sometimes, making other people you care about happy can unlock a whole new world in the process.

theday the crayons quit

Children’s pictures books make beautiful presents. All, except for “There are no cats in this books” are available as a Kindle editions that displayed beautifully on tablets, as well as paperback/hardback versions.