boys readingI’ve created a list of ten of the best 2014 storybooks for parents of children birth to age 5.

I look for exceptional quality and books that are perfect read-alouds for little ones.

These stories, with their familiar themes, playful rhyming words, and stunning artwork will capture your children’s hearts.

To get your copy of the list, click the button.


189303Making holiday gifts together, whether homemade cookies or a picture to hang in the window, is a meaningful way to involve your child in giving. Let your child choose the paper and have fun wrapping together. There’s a lot of love in a child’s off-center and scotch-tape-smothered packaging.

There is also a lot of learning when a child measures, cuts, tapes, and decorates. Have a “wrapping tub” just for your child with extra paper, ribbon, bows, and old gift cards to cut up. The process is always more important than the product.

Playful Early Learning

  • Arrange a play place at home where a child can safely explore and create whatever catches her fancy.
  • Make a “wrapping tub.” Use a plastic tub and fill with all sorts of wrapping paper pieces, ribbon, tissue, bows, old gift cards and labels.
  • Wrap gifts together and don’t fret about how they look.
  • Save holiday gift magazines and stickers. Put them in a tub with child safety scissors and construction paper. Make holiday gift tags and cards together for family.

Read aloud storybooks on giving: Dream Snow by Eric Carle, Merry Christmas Maisy by Lucy Cousins, Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell, Bright Baby Touch and Feel Hanukkah by Roger Priddy, and Happy Sparkling Hanukkah by Elizabeth Spurr

the red hen“Who will help me gather the ingredients?”

“Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the rat.

“Bribbit,” said the frog.

The father and daughter team of Rebecca Emberly (Author) and Ed Emberly (Illustrator) collaborate to create a delightful twist on the classic folktale, The Little Red Hen. Red Hen finds a cake recipe and asks her friends to help. Cat, Rat, and Frog want no part in the cake preparations. They leave all the work to Red Hen, and wait to taste the Simply Splendid Cake as it comes out of the oven.

The bright, bold collage pictures are stunning, and the comical, goofy characters make you laugh. The text is simple, repetitive, and easy for little ones of all ages to chime in on every page. A perfect read-aloud for story time.

Playful Early Learning

Before Reading:

  • Look at the cover and ask your child what she sees.
  • Find the blackbirds. Ask why they are there.

During Reading:

  • Use an animated voice; make your voice go high and low.
  • Invite your child to “read” with you on every refrain.
  • Ask your child what she sees as you point to the pictures.

After Reading:

  • Find simple shapes like the circle, square, and star.
  • Use the recipe for Hen’s Splendid Cake and make a cake to share.
  • Read aloud the classic folk tale, The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone.
  • Compare the characters of the two versions.