The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

Blessed are the toys — or paper dolls, as the case may be — who have little girls (or boys) who play with them and bring them on adventures, and this is the story of one such little girl’s paperdoll chain, whose names are Ticky, Tacky, Jackie the Backie (so named because her back is, quirkily, permanently turned), Jim with two noses, and Jo with the bow. Then again, you could say that the good fortune is mutual since these imaginary adventures are fun for all.

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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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Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this book would appeal to the kids. Sure, its shiny Caldecott Honor credentials attest to the quality of the illustrations within, but there are barely any words inside and the basic story about a duckling wandering off on his own while his mother goes around searching for him, seems pretty straightforward. In fact, the title — Have You Seen My Duckling? — is repeated several times in the book in the form of the mother duck’s speech, and serves as the main body text.

Well, I was wrong: it was a huge hit with both kids!

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