The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

There’s something instantly comforting, likeable and, well, cute about a white, puffy protagonist — see: Big Hero 6‘s Baymax; even the somewhat freaky Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters looks cuddly when merchandised as a soft toy, which my sister used to have — and few will be able to resist the little marshmallowy guy on the cover, the eponymous Beekle.

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Churchill’s Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu

With a name like that, I suppose it’s no surprise that the protagonist in Churchill’s Tale of Tails is a rather portly pig who enjoys genteel activities like painting, playing classical music, reading and having tea with his friends. (In fact, I suspect that the character design was largely inspired by his namesake, that most famous stiff-upper-lipper in history, who was, ahem, of a similar body type and who had on occasion also worn a monocle — but I digress.)

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The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

In a sense, wordless picture books are like frames excerpted from a silent movie, telling a story in their own quiet way. Because there are no words to guide the reader along and explain the sequence of events, such books are a true test of the illustrator’s storytelling vision and artistic abilities — although, here, Marla Frazee‘s considerable talents are such that she makes it all seem almost effortless.

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Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

First published in 1960, Are You My Mother? is one of the earliest and most popular books for budding independent readers — and it’s not hard to see why. The sentences are deceptively short and simple, but they add up to tell a warmly humorous tale about a somewhat impulsive hatchling who goes around looking for his momentarily absent mother — albeit in all the wrong places, since he doesn’t know what she looks like.

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Lost Cat by C. Roger Mader

One of the biggest worries when it comes to packing, whether it’s to move to a new house, or when you’re going for or returning from a holiday, is forgetting something and leaving it behind. In what must be every pet owner’s nightmare, the family in Lost Cat accidentally leave their pet cat behind in the midst of their house-moving frenzy.

As for their cat Slipper, well, I think we can all surmise how it feels to be stranded and abandoned (albeit not on purpose), not least from those big, sad peepers staring out from the book cover.

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