In the Middle of the Night


By Aileen Fisher

When a girl doesn’t want a puppy or toy or any other traditional birthday gift, but only wants to go out for a walk in the middle of the night, the result is this poetic picture book with lovely retro illustrations. Join the girl and her dad as they discover the mystery and beauty of the night with small, fascinating, middle-of-the-night nature discoveries—the girl’s best birthday present ever.



Ages 3-10

Available second-hand


Reviewer: Doreen




The Seven Silly Eaters


by Mary Ann Hoberman

We were given this book as a baby gift with our seventh baby—very fitting! A picture book to make the kids laugh (and maybe see a little of themselves if they have picky eating habits?), but also a book to make the parents laugh as the mom goes from patient and good-humoured to discouraged and throwing in the towel. Things turn around, however, when the kids make a haphazard attempt to help out…


The pictures are half the appeal of this rhyming story, as the family grows and tumbles about the farmhouse by the sea, with books and staircases lining the little house where an attic serves as a jumbled bedroom for all the kids. Heart-warming and fun!

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Ages 3-8


Reviewer: Doreen

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Come Over to My House

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By Dr. Seuss

Illustrated by Katie Kath

This is a fun, easy reader that takes you to dozens of countries around the world, emphasizing different lifestyles but the universal welcome of an open door and an invitation to “Come over to my house! Come over and play.”

For kids who have been studying geography, an enjoyable challenge is to identify every country mentioned, based on the illustrations.

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Ages 2-8

Available from public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen

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Poetry Books


Favorite Poems Old and New selected by Helen Ferris

A thick volume of poems for children that is sure to contain many old favourites, plus introduce some new friends. The word “wholesome” comes to mind.

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The Children’s Book of Virtues edited by William J. Bennet

This large (not thick) richly illustrated picture book contains about 20 short stories and 10 well-chosen poems.

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Leaves from a Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

With illustrations by Donna Green

Stevenson’s poems are almost a must as a first introduction to poetry for kids. There aren’t many full colour illustrated copies of his work available, that I know of, and so I appreciate these illustrations by Donna Green.

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The Random House Book of Poetry for Children: A treasure of 572 Poems for Today’s Child  selected by Jack Prelutsky

Mostly humorous poems, but some gems hidden in between. Kids will laugh and learn to love the rhythm and rhyme of poetry through some of these pieces. The illustrations are aptly silly.

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A Child’s Book of Poems  by Gyo Fujikawa

For those who find the book above a disgrace to all serious poetry, here is an alternative. About half as thick, this picture book is full of gems with a few humourous poems hidden in between. The illustrations are simple in colour and line.

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The Ideals Treasure of Best Loved Poems

Contains many classic favourites for teens and adults; is fully illustrated throughout with photographs from nature.  A good variety of well-known poems.


Poems for Children: A Delightful Collection for Boys and Girls

A slimmer picture book, illustrated in an old-fashioned style that matches the tone of these old classics for children. This volume has fewer (if any besides R.L. Stevenson) modern poets than the others.

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When We Were Very Young

And Now We are Six

Or compiled in one volume as The World of Christopher Robin

By A.A. Milne

Very true to the style of the original Winnie-the-Pooh books. These poems are a light and over-all fun read if you enjoy that whimsical ho-hum what am I thinking of train of thought…  A thick volume with line illustrations on each page.

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The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies

By Cicely Mary Barker

A volume that contains the flowers of each season, then the flowers of the garden, trees, and wayside, and lastly the flower alphabet. Each page introduces another flower or two.

With children dressed up with wings on each picture, this is an odd place to turn for nature study, one would think, but Cicely Barker’s beautiful paintings have realistic flowers that are accompanied by just as realistic poems that tell one or two striking characteristics for each flower.

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Out and About: A First Book of Poems

By Shirley Hughes

I was a little disappointed in this thin picturebook. The pictures and topics are very suitable for kids, but although I know poems don’t need to rhyme or have rhythm, I did miss it throughout, and I think kids would too.

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Winter Poems

Selected by Barabara Rogasky

I loved this book for the beautiful watercolour scenes that gave such a rich background to the winter season.  This book is intended for teens, however, I find, with more difficult language and the theme of death in one poem. Not as satisfying as some poetry collections, since for every classic favourite author, there were a few more stilted poems in between (personal opinion!)


Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons

a celebration

By Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown. She is not your typical poet or story writer, and yet there is a gentle rhythm to her writing that makes her books good read-alouds. The world seems to think so too, as her Goodnight Moon is an enduring classic. This collection of poems—found forty years after her death— has just been recently published.

The poems in this picturebook are simple, fun, or sweet, and even if they’re not your favourites, a young child will enjoy sitting on your lap, just looking at the beautiful pictures and hearing the rhythm of your voice.

Twelve poems, twelve pictures—illustrated by twelve different award-winning picture book authors. And that makes this a neat book to talk about. What do you think the artist used to make this illustration? What do you like about it? Do you think it suits the poem? (I think they did a great job matching the illustrators’ styles to the different poems.) Which style of picture would you like to try make? Read about that illustrator in the back of the book, then get out your paper!

The book includes a CD by two music artists who have put the poems into song form in something of a cross between folksongs and country.

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Ages 0-10

Picturebook with CD

Available from: public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen