Gift Picks for Young Book Lovers

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When in doubt, give a kid a book. The joy of enchanting stories and illustrations and the love of reading are the best presents a grandparent can bestow, whether they’re classics like The Wind In The Willow or newly published. Here are suggestions for both read-to-me books and books-I-can-read-myself.

Work: Occupational ABC
You’ve got to love an ABC book where W stands for Wedding Singer and X stands for Xenologist. “Want Ads” at the end provide witty, one-sentence explanations for each job. Altogether a clever alphabet with an appealing palette of color.



Carl’s Christmas
Carl the big black dog is back and just imagine what’s going to happen when he babysits on Christmas Eve. The story is fun and the the illustrations are smashing. Both are by Alexandra Day.





Sam! A Little Treasury
Sam is the little boy, Stella is his sister and Fred is the dog and their simple conversations are gentle and sly, as are the wonderful illustrations on each page.

The latest in the sweet series by Montreal author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay.



The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts
Is there a boy –or a girl, for that matter — who won’t relish this book that only appears to be naughty but is actually very informative and factual about flatulence.

Kids learn it’s not only completely natural but delves into the farting habits of other animals, too.




The jungle animals get cranky but refuse to nap. “I’m too big to have a nap,” says elephant. “Kings don’t take naps,” says lion. Then, a little girl teaches them to close first one eye, then the other. Bold colors and childlike drawings make this book by French illustrator Iris de Mouy perfect for bedtime reading.


Crane and Bear Stick Their Necks Out
A charming chapter book for young readers or parents who enjoy story reading time.
It’s a story the late Valerie Slayton told her children and grandchildren and when granddaughter Gabrielle found it, she generously decided to share it with other families who will enjoy the lively tale. Find it at, and at Ben McNally’s Books in Toronto.




The Art of the Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls, the movie, introduced the community of quirky creatures who lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs who saves them from the villain Archibanld Snatcher. The “Art of…” features the detailed artwork that went into the film’s creation, including character sketches, puppets, textiles, set dressing, and 3-D printed facial models, alongside the story of the film’s development.

My First Chinese New Year

A little girl learns about welcoming the coming year and the festivities that celebrate it. The irresistible collage illustrations by Karen Katz, a folk art illustrator, are cut from paper with colorful Asian designs with other media. Very young children will be enchanted and may even learn to say Gung Hay Fat Choy.



A Bad Kitty Christmas
Nick Bruel’s bad kitty is on the rampage again, this time because she didn’t get everything she wanted for Christmas. There’s a happy ending but only after Bad Kitty scampers through three alphabets and many bad kitty capers.





Not the usual instructions to tots, this charming board book is a compendium of cautionary advice about animals, for example, “Don’t invite a bear to a sleepover in winter.” Turn the page and you’ll fine out why: “It won’t wake up until spring.”

A debut book by Toronto interior designer Lits Trochata with delightful illustrations by Toronto textile designer Virginia Johnson.