Here are some of my boys' all-time favorite books. They are arranged roughly from more recent books suitable for older kids (age 4) at the top and younger kids as the list goes on.

*small-space living/budget tip: Borrow books from the library. As much as I'd love to buy all the books in the world for my boys, we live in a small space and on a budget, but just down the street from the library. We make a haul from the library each week and renew the books we love online for as many times as possible. Our library system is huge and it is easy to request books from other locations. We've learned that the checkout limit at our library is 42 books at one time on one card!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

This is the original in the series full of warnings about this mischievous pigeon. It was introduced to us by Great Aunt Jane, so we knew it would be a good one.

The Runaway BunnyThe Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

I've seen this book everywhere, but I hadn't read it or read it to the boys until
 the other. day. We all love it and it's by the Goodnight Moon team!

The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team by Stan Berenstain

Since the boys are obsessed with baseball, they love this book. We went on a Berenstain Bears spree at the library and read most of them. This was their favorite.

I Love My Little StorybookI Love My Little Storybook by Anita Jeram

This is a sweet story about loving books. My boys call the illustrations beautiful, which they are. There are fun things to find within the paintings.

Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm BirdieCalvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie by Jennifer Berne

This book is adorable, and since the bookwormy protagonist is named Calvin, the boys love it even more. It is witty and cute and a book I'll probably buy for Cal at some point.

Crêpes by Suzette‎Crêpes by Suzette‎ by Monica Wellington

This is a delightful, artistic book, full of things to look at. The backgrounds are collages of photographs from Paris and the characters are illustrations in the foreground. The boys liked looking at the pictures and in the back is a crepes recipe that we tried and loved.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

Super cool and informative book about Apollo 11. Allow plenty of time for this breakdown of the mission. The boys love it and have it to thank for being able to randomly astound people with their space knowledge.

Two Old Potatoes and MeTwo Old Potatoes and Me by John Coy

The art in this book is fantastic and the content is also fascinating. Now we know how to grow potatoes...which I should have known all my life being from Idaho, but...I didn't. There's one weird page that doesn't seem to belong in the story. See if you can find it.

If You Decide To Go To The MoonIf You Decide To Go To The Moon by Faith McNulty

This book was a gift from the boys aunt, uncle, and three imaginative cousins. It's cute, the paintings are amazing, and it is full of facts to read(that may or may not be interesting, based on time of day and level of energy of the parent reader).

If You Give a Mouse a CookieIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

This is the original If You Give a___ a ___ series, and by far the best one. The story comes full circle and is cute. If You Give a Moose a Muffin and the other  follow-up books aren't as clever. The boys love to finish the sentences on the pages.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction SiteGoodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

We've been living next to a construction site for a year now and so all this equipment is familiar to my boys. The rhyme is cute and the illustrations are too. It's even educational if you're like me and didn't know the names of some of the machinery.

Bear Has a Story to TellBear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead
Calvin especially loves this book because we met the author and illustrator (they're married and live in a barn in somewhere like Michigan!) at the National Book Festival last year. The paintings are beautiful and the story is simple and sweet about a forgetful bear.

Eye Guess: A Foldout Guessing GameEye Guess: A Foldout Guessing Game by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

This is an old-ish book; it has nothing flashy about like many newer books. The pages fold out and the kids get to guess which animal is which by looking at one eye of the animal and some written hints. The boys can't get enough of it. They now know what a bobcat is. The last page is has all the animals hidden on it.

Hello, Robots!Hello, Robots! by Bob Staake

This is clever and it rhymes. The robots get their brains zapped in a storm and have to figure out how to fix themselves.

Boy and BotBoy and Bot by Ame Dyckman

This was a book Cal picked out at the book store after a friend gave him a gift card for his birthday. It is a sweet story of friendship. It's how the boys learned the word affirmative.

ChalkChalk by Bill Thomson

Chalk is magic! This book makes the boys want to draw with sidewalk chalk all day. Imagination galore. No words, so you get to make up your own!

Ducking for ApplesDucking for Apples by Lynne Berry

This is cute and it rhymes and includes apple pie, so what's not to love? The boys love that the ducks ride bicycles.

What Did You Put in Your Pocket?What Did You Put in Your Pocket? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

This is a weird book. I was waiting for a clever ending, but there isn't one. The boys love the paintings and the sing-song repetition. It helped them learn the days of the week. Cal pretends to paint the pictures while we read.

Wow! Said the OwlWow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood

We got this delightful little book as a gift from a friend in Scotland. It helped the boys learn their colors. Or, actually, their colours.

George ShrinksGeorge Shrinks by William Joyce

I remember reading this one when I was little. We love the story and the pictures. It's mostly a picture book and there's a lot to look at-- a house from a different perspective than normal.

The GruffaloThe Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

If I had a nickel for every time my boys want to reenact being the Gruffalo and the mouse I'd be rich. The boys were about two and a half before they liked this book, but since then it has been a huge hit. Clever mouse! There's even a movie that is awesome and perfectly true to the book.

Bugs GaloreBugs Galore by Peter Stein

"Stay away from crawl-on-poo bugs!" That's the boys' favorite line from this fun, rhyming book with great illustrations of silly bugs.

Aunt Lucy Went to Buy a HatAunt Lucy Went to Buy a Hat by Alice Low

Silly, crazy Aunt Lucy keeps messing up while she goes out shopping, which makes for a fun, interactive story. The art is fabulous,too.

Take Me Out to the Ball GameTake Me Out to the Ball Game by Jack Norworth

Anything with this title is a hit with the boys. They love the song and they love to look at the crazy pictures of animals playing baseball.

The Busy TreeThe Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward

The pictures in here are beautiful and reading this book is a great way to learn what lives in trees. The boys found a similarly-looking tree by our house and have named that "Our Busy Tree."

Show me the Honey (The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That)Show me the Honey by Tish Rabe

This is one of the boys' newest faves. This series of books (The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That) are from scripts of the actual PBS show. This one about traveling into a beehive and helping them make honey is particularly entertaining to the boys. The rhyming isn't forced, which is a relief, and the rhythmic sounds are make the facts about nature easier to remember.

MadelineMadeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

I'm not sure if the boys are "supposed to," since they are boys, but they love this book. Their favorite part is when Madeline says, "pooh pooh" to the lion in the zoo. Naturally, they like to say "poop, poop" instead. The pictures in here are so great.

Jack the BuilderJack the Builder by Stuart J. Murphy

Jack is quite imaginative in this book and the boys love that. It helps with numbers as well as creativity, as Jack builds with his blocks.

Higher! Higher!Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli

The boys have loved this book since they were little. They love to swing and this picture book with only one word leaves room for a lot of imagination. With the help of Daddy, the boys named the little girl Pickle and the alien Gerbert.

Faster! Faster!Faster! Faster! by Leslie Patricelli

Not as great as Higher, Higher, but the same little girl and dad and the same, imaginative idea.

Maisy Big, Maisy Small (Maisy)Maisy Big, Maisy Small by Lucy Cousins

This book of opposites with one of the boys' favorite characters is one they like to read by themselves or with us.

Baseball HourBaseball Hour by Carol Nevius

This older book with wonderful illustrations is about a typical kids' baseball practice.

Little Quack's BedtimeLittle Quack's Bedtime by Lauren Thompson

The boys love this book about duck siblings falling asleep.

Meeow and the Big BoxMeow and the Big Box by Sebastien Braun

The boys love to talk to Meow using the lines in the book.

Hush, Little PuppyHush, Little Puppy by April Pulley Sayre

We all love this book as a bedtime book or any-other-time-of-the-day book. The boys have memorized most of it and love to finish the lines I start.

Little Golden Book Collection: Farm Tales (Little Golden Book Treasury)Little Golden Book Collection: Farm Tales by Annie North Bedford

This is an anthology of a bunch of Golden Book farm stories. My parents gave it to the boys for their second birthday. It is beautifully illustrated and I remember many of the stories from when I was growing up.

I Want to Be an AstronautI Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton

This is simple, but the illustrations are cute and the sentiment is pretty true for my boys, so they like it.

Hush Little BabyHush Little Baby by Sylvia Long

Mommy's going to show you a hummingbird instead of buy you a mockingbird in this story of a bunny's bedtime.

Tuck in the PoolTuck in the Pool by Martha Weston

I got this book to try to ease the boys' fear of getting into the pool. It didn't, but they still like the story, especially Tuck's pet spider Snyder.

Even Firefighters Hug Their MomsEven Firefighters Hug Their Moms by Christine Kole MacLean
This was introduced to us by our friend Rob. I love it because of the imaginative play it shows. The boys love it because on one page the kids in the story are pretending that their ceiling fan is a helicopter's blades.

Bedtime for MommyBedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I picked this up at the library while doing a quick, I'm-in-a-hurry-but-the-boys-need-new-books-so-I'll-grab-random-ones-off-the-shelves walk-through the other day. I didn't notice until I got home that it's by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, whose big-person books I love. What a great idea for a kids' story! Kids love to pretend and at least mine love to boss others around. It's cute. I try to focus the boys' attention on the part where the little girl carefully washes her mommy's feet in the tub. Maybe someday they can give me pedicures.

The Whistling Frog from Lily Pad PondThe Whistling Frog from Lily Pad Pond by William Crain

At first I thought this would be too long for two year-olds, but its rhyme and cadence are catchy and the boys love the melancholy frog pictures. It's by an Idaho author my parents met this summer who signed it for the boys, which makes it a special addition the bookshelves.

The Three Little Fish And The Big Bad SharkThe Three Little Fish And The Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist

This version of the three little pigs is adorable and shiny. The boys love it, especially when the shark's teeth fall out at the end.

Snowmen at NightSnowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner

This is an imaginative book about what the neighborhood snowmen do after everyone goes to sleep. The artwork is pretty and the idea is just charming. Look for the snowman with the cucumber nose.

HoptoadHoptoad by Jane Yolen

This book from my Aunt Jane (not the author Jane, just the book-giver Jane) about a near toad-al road disaster has ended up keeping my boys on the sidewalk better, lest they become like Hoptoad but worse.

The Three Bears Board BookThe Three Bears Board Book by Byron Barton

This is the perfect introduction to the tale. The boys memorized it and they love to do the voices of Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear.

Who Wears Glasses? (Scholastic Reader Level 1)Who Wears Glasses? by Ana Galan

I got this at the library to help ease Cal into the whole wearing glasses concept. It's a cute and rhyme-y and about animals wearing glasses. I like to think that it helped him with the transition...

  Meeow and the Little ChairsMeeow and the Little Chairs by Sebastien Braun
We recently discovered this other Meow book at the library, which resulted in both boys excitedly sitting down in little chairs, at the same little table in the library kids' reading room while I read it to them. Twice. There aren't a lot of things they'll sit for at the library with all its stimulation, particularly the murals in the kids' room. We love clever

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

This book captured my boys' interest from the time they were just a few months old. The sounds are great. The cover is all ripped off our copy and there are teeth marks all over it-- signs of a good book.

Maisy Goes to the Hospital (Maisy)Maisy Goes to the Hospital by Lucy Cousins
I got this after Clark had to go to the emergency room for stitches on his chin. They love the tragedy of the broken leg but the redeeming recovery of their favorite mouse at the end. It also includes balloons, which is always a plus.

Maisy Goes Shopping (Maisy)Maisy Goes Shopping by Lucy Cousins

The boys memorized this book in part because they love to go grocery shopping and to talk about going grocery shopping.

From Head to Toe Big BookFrom Head to Toe Big Book by Eric Carle

This was an early favorite and the first way the boys performed for people. The donkey is an especially entertaining move.

Millie Cow Large Format: Funny FacesMillie Cow Large Format: Funny Faces by Roger Priddy

Cal was terrified of the sound at the end of the book when he was little, and frankly so was I. But both boys grew to love it for some reason. Not one of my favorites, but it's not about me, right?

Belly Button Book (Boynton on Board)Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton

The boys have loved this rhyming book since they were tiny. There is a duck to find on every page except one and a couple pages have balloons! It's also hilarious.

Quick as a CricketQuick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood

This must have been where Calvin first learned similes. He has been a fluent fountain of rich similes from the moment he could speak. This is a fun book that not only introduces figurative language, it highlights how one person can be and feel differently at different times.

Curious George and the BunnyCurious George and the Bunny by H.A. Rey

This is the boys' favorite Curious George book. For some reason they like that George is sad on one page and they like to help him find the bunny and say goodnight to all the bunnies at the end.

Book!Book! by Kristine O'Connell George

Super cute, simple book about one little boy receiving and loving a book for its many uses. My boys loved the page where he makes a fort to read his book in.

Chugga-Chugga Choo-ChooChugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis

This is a book the boys have loved since they were tiny. They still like to look at the great illustrations of the toys and name them.

Baby Einstein Let's Look!: First Look and Find (Baby Einstein)Baby Einstein Let's Look!: First Look and Find by Michael P. Fertig

This is a matching book that the boys have loved for a long time. Even before they understood the concept of matching the pictures in the boxes to the pictures in the scenes, they loved to find and point to all the colorful images. The also recognize the characters from Baby Einstein movies.

A Book of HugsA Book of Hugs by Dave Ross

This was my gift to Calvin, the best hugger ever, on his first Valentine's Day. It is creative and adorable and the boys have loved it for a long time.

The Very Lonely FireflyThe Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
There is a story within a story here, and Carle's illustrations are charming as always. The last page has flashing lights, which is about the best thing in the world for toddlers.

Goodnight MoonGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This classic is a classic for a reason. Finding the mouse on every page is also a great treasure hunt. I thought for a long time that there was a page without the mouse, but one day Clark found it! What a kid!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

So much to learn in here for little ones-- colors and animals and teachers and students. My boys loved to look at the page with all the children on it.

Curious George Before and After (CGTV Lift-the-Flap Board Book)Curious George Before and After by H.A. Rey

This is a simple before/after cause/effect book. It also has flaps which my boys love and which I have glued back on many times each.

Touch And Feel Baby AnimalsTouch And Feel Baby Animals by Jennifer Quasha

From almost day one the boys have loved to touch the animals in this book.

My Reading Life Lately/Semi-lately

                                   The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the RainI finished this crying, but in a good way. This story is told from the perspective of a brilliant and devoted dog. The subject matter is weighty but the story is heartwarming and good.

I Am the MessengerI Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this over the summer with some of my tutoring students. I loved it. Its message is strong, and the mystery carries the story. Hard to put down, funny, and unusual.

The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue: 101 All-New Recipes and The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue: 101 All-New Recipes and ""Sneaky"" Tricks for Creating Healthy Meals Kids Will Love by Missy Chase Lapine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such great ideas for sneaking nutrition into kids' meals and presenting normal food in a fun way. Our family favorite is the Monkey Pancakes.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's ManifestoIn Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great history of food and "nutritionism" in the US. He gives readers a lot to think about and has good eating rules to follow.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary LifeEncyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of my favorite fun reads. It's easy to pick up and put down for all of you who have a lot of distractions in your lives. The first time I read it on the bus and it was ideal for that type of reading. I am charmed and entertained by Amy KR's creativity. Read it!

BossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a Tina Fey fan and an avid 30 Rock viewer I loved this book. It's a quick read and I admit I shed some laughing tears over some of her stories...or did I wet my pants? Something like that. What a funny lady.

Love, Stargirl (Stargirl, #2)Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

This is the sequel to the young adult novel Stargirl. I read it while one of my tutoring students read it for her summer reading book this summer. Such a fun, sweet read, both books. Beautiful, refreshing, charming...

PeonyPeony by Pearl S. Buck

I picked this up because I loved Pearl Buck's The Good Earth, but I'm not exactly sure why I kept reading. It's a nice story, but it's disappointing and sad.

The Girl With the Dragon TattooThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Everyone was reading this so I started it too. It took me awhile to get into it, but I was soon sucked in. I loved the mystery in it. I hadn't read a mystery for a long time. We went to the movie when it came out and enjoyed it, minus the graphic sex stuff. I started reading the second book in the trilogy but about a third of the way through I decided I'm over it. Moving on.

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