Step Gently Out by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

The lyrical words of Helen Frost’s poem accompany the stunning photography of Rick Lieder to produce a quietly powerful book that literally gives a face to some of the tiny creatures that we ostensibly know co-exist with us, and which we sometimes see around us but rarely pause to take a second look at.

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The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra and Melissa Sweet

For children who are learning or are familiar with the alphabet, these 26 letters will be of very special interest to them: they love reciting and/or singing the alphabet song, and get excited when they spot and recognise individual letters, as if they are old pals. So, is it any wonder that letters have been personified in this book, à la Chicka Chicka Boom Boom?

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Sometimes, especially in this era of information glut, it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind the books or even pieces of writing that we read without a second thought — or worse, that we don’t read at all. The truth is, writing from the heart can be a terrifying thing since you are putting a part of yourself out there, to be judged by everyone and anyone, and sadly, as a result, not many people do — write thoughtfully, that is.

Books are inanimate objects, but they come alive when we read them because they’re someone else’s thoughts, ideas and imagination painstakingly put into words. When you think about it, isn’t it quite incredible that a small part of who a person is can live on long after they’re gone, via their words and stories?

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is thus a timely paean to books that will be etched in your memory for a long time, particularly if you are a bibliophile.

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Where in the Wild? by David M. Schwartz, Yael Schy and Dwight Kuhn

In the animal kingdom, every day is a game of Survivor: outwit, outrun, outlive. Where in the Wild? thus highlights one of the key survival skills of animals: the art of camouflage. For a prey especially, if it can’t be seen, it can’t be hunted down; whereas for a predator, keeping itself hidden from plain sight is an advantage since the prey wouldn’t see it coming until it’s too late.

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The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson

The Carrot Seed is a classic book (first published in 1945!) about a boy who tries to grow a carrot by planting a seed.

Even though everyone around him tells him repeatedly that he would fail, the boy pays them no heed and continues to weed and water his little plot of land.

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Eventually, of course, his patience, perseverance and hard work are rewarded.

Thanks to the book’s very clean, simple text and artwork, even very young toddlers will be able to enjoy this timeless tale.

Applesauce by Klaas Verplancke

Most picture books for kids tend to give a rosy-lensed and idealised vision of parents. And while these are feel-good and sweet, and reassure the child of his/her parents’ love, we all know that as much as most parents strive to be ever chirpy, patient, encouraging, nurturing, loving, etc, there are just times when kids push all the wrong buttons and send us right over the edge, causing otherwise benevolent parents to do or say things that they don’t mean to and later regret.

Perfect parents and kids hardly ever exist in real life: there are good days and bad days. Thus it’s rare to find a book such as this that doesn’t try to patronise kids and their parents by whitewashing the reality that parents are only human — imperfect and flawed.

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No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora

No Fits, Nilson! is a brilliant book that helps kids to recognise that tantrums are unnecessary, by giving them an objective, third-person perspective of the situation in the form of a sweet and entertaining story about a little girl Amelia who is best friends with Nilson the gorilla.

Everything is fine and dandy most of the time, except when Nilson throws the biggest fits over the tiniest things — something that many toddlers are apt to do.

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Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur by Judy Sierra and Tim Bowers

Manners are nice to have, but the process of instilling them can be kinda boring since more often than not, parents end up nagging their kids to mind their P’s and Q’s. To be fair, though, most kids don’t mean to be rude — they’re probably too preoccupied with having fun to remember the myriad dull rules that adults come up with.

Thus, Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur tries to make learning manners fun for the little ones — and it succeeds, too.

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