In this month’s Sassy Book Club, Singapore author Lisa Beazley gets you through summer holidays with her all-time favorite children’s books
It wasn’t easy to compile this list. The sheer volume of truly fantastic children’s books is dizzying. So I focused on entertainment value; prizing absorption level, belly laughter, interactivity, and wonder-delivery over all else. Given those standards, what would you add to this list?
Before the iPad, there was this book, which has kept my boys busy and happy for countless hours. As far as I’m concerned, it is the greatest book ever created.
True confession: we had been “reading it” with our firstborn for nearly a year before we discovered Goldbug – the tiny, um, gold bug that hides on every page a la Where’s Wally. It was like getting a whole new book! Still in heavy rotation through ten years and three kids, we are on our third copy and counting. How’s that for a testimonial?
Perfect for ALL ages!
Image by Choo Cha Handmade
I’ll be honest, I’m not always in the mood to read this one because you really have to go for it, putting on the voice and all that. Unless you are willing to act like a complete loon, don’t even bother. When my middle child was four and five, he would become weak with laughter when I read this to him. He has grown up in Singapore, without Sesame Street, so he doesn’t know the hilarious narrator, loveable furry old Grover — or that my Grover voice is a truly terrible imitation of the real thing which may help account for its warm reception.
Recommended for ages 2 to 7
Image by Elizabeth Bird
This is new, so it hasn’t yet stood the test of time but I’m in love with the relevance factor for many of us Singapore families and the old-fashioned-yet-fresh illustrations by Hadley Hooper. Moving boxes, a new home, siblings…sound familiar, anyone?
In this three-part picture book of moving house and imaginative play, Mabel and Sam sail the high seas of their new home, tour the museum of their living room, journey through outer space to the safety of their own beds.
Recommended for ages 3 to 8
Image by Veeda Bybee
Whenever I get to pick the bedtime story, this is my first choice. It could easily be a hundred pages long, yet Steven Kellogg tells this sprawling tale of adventure and friendship in a picture book you can read in under 10 minutes. A favorite from my own childhood, the newer version’s updated illustrations pull me right back into the world of Louis and his cheeseburger-eating “tadpole.”
Recommended for ages 5 to 9
Image by Inside of A Dog
Everyone loves this and its predecessor, The Day the Crayons Quit. They are genius in a “Why didn’t I think of that?” kind of way. I don’t know if my kids are laughing at the book, or laughing at me laughing, but all of our cheeks hurt by the end. That neon red crayon gets me every time. Oliver Jeffers’s illustrations are perfection.
Recommended for ages 4 to 8
Image by Me Books
If you’ve seen Mac Barnett’s TED talk, you are a little bit in love with him. All of his books are worth reading, but this one scores points for interactivity. You’re yelling at the book like someone watching a football game: “Argh! It’s there! Right there!” “No! Go the other way!” The story is as simple as its title, but the sparse language and the brilliant illustrations by Jon Klassen make it pure magic.
Recommended for ages 2 to 8
Image by Megan Lingo
Lead image sourced via Pixdaus