Best Board Books: The Watermelon Seed, the Gift that Keeps on Giving!

This is one of the very best board books right here. We are in love, and The Watermelon Seed has been on heavy rotation in our house for years! Check it out and see why we think its a best book for one year old and best book for two year old kids!

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Best Board Books: Monkey and Me, a Family Favorite!

Monkey and Me is one of the best board books, and it was on repeat read in our house for years! This is one of the best books for two year old kids, namely because of its short, repetitive verses. Check it out!

Monkey and Me, best board books and best books for two year old

There is nothing more exciting for a mom who loves to read than watching her child fall in love with books-- and then attempt to read them him or herself. Not all books are perfect for these emerging readers. Some are too lengthy, too wordy, or, simply put, too challenging. But then you come across a gem like Emily Gravett's Monkey and Me, and your heart overflows with joy as you watch your little one open a new world with the simple turn of a page. It is, hands down, one of the best board books out there! This is my pick for the newest Instagram bookclub, @kidlitpicks, which is highlighting favorite repeat reads this month.

The story is simple: a little girl and her stuffed monkey get downright silly as they imitate some much loved animals. They hop like kangaroos, hang upside down like bats, and swing about like monkeys. As the child's actions are depicted prior to the spreads illustrating the animals she mimics, a fun guessing game ensues as little ones attempt to figure out what animal will be featured on the next page.

Monkey and Me is one of the best board books that I find just brilliant in its simplicity. While Pickle is too young to actually "read" this book, the unadorned story and repetitive versus are perfect for boosting his confidence as an emerging reader. Sure, he essentially has the pages memorized, but that is what I love about it. That is where the magic happens. There is something so special about watching him pull this story out of a stack of books, climb onto his bed, and ask me to sit next to him so he can read to me. The fact that he truly believes he can read it makes him radiate joy and fall in love with the book. Repetition in story is so important for this reason - it instills such confidence in children!  But perhaps more importantly, in addition to boosting confidence, repetition also provides the practice kids need to enhance new reading skills by strengthening connections in the brain that help children learn.

Monkey and Me is a treasure in our house for both Pickle and Bo alike. You can never go wrong with a book by Emily Gravett. She's a gift to the world of children's literature.

Want the book? Get it here! Monkey and Me, by Emily Gravett.

Interested in checking out our other favorite Emily Gravett book? Click HERE to read our blog post on Orange Pear Apple Bear.

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Best Board Books: Learn Numbers with Counting Kisses!

For the sole reason that this book elicited so many giggles from my boys, this will forever rank is one of the best board books in our house. We have no doubt your kids will love it too, and its a great concept book to add to your collection!

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The Kissing Hand is the Perfect Book to Help Kids Through Separation Anxiety!

Inside: Looking for a phenomenal story to help kids cope with separation anxiety? THE KISSING HAND is the book for you. Check it out!

*This post contains affiliate links.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn!

Separation anxiety is tough for any parent.

Whether it’s dropping a child off at school, leaving a kiddo with a babysitter, or trying to peel your kid off your leg when you’re saying goodbye at a playdate, it is not easy for them to let go.

Enter THE KISSING HAND, an oh-so-fabulous book, and one of my favorites to help kids cope with goodbyes — not to mention a mother's unwavering love for her child.

In THE KISSING HAND, one small raccoon is nervous to start school. Why? He doesn’t want to leave his mom, of course. Sound familiar?

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Chester also only wants to do those things with which he is already comfortable— play with his old friends, read his own books and swing on his own swing. How will he get over his nerves?

Leave it to Mom, of course. Mrs. Raccoon has a long-held secret up her sleeve, and she teaches a frightened Chester about the “Kissing Hand.” She spreads Chester’s fingers into a fan, kisses the middle of his palm, and has him touch that same palm to his face as he recites some simple words:

“Mommy loves you.”

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With his kissing hand as his side, Chester calms down. He now knows that he has nothing to fear!

School may be scary at first, and it may not be easy to leave his mom, but whenever he feels himself getting anxious, he can always touch his paw to his face and remember that mom is always with him, even if she isn’t sitting right beside him in his classroom.

The result? One little raccoon heads off to school with confidence and courage — and even gives mom a present of her own.

The Kissing Hand

OK — so let me be honest for a moment.

I first read THE KISSING HAND long before I had kids, and it didn't really resonate with me. It was an undeniably sweet story, but it just wasn't one of the books that thrilled me during my writing studies.

But now, post kids?

THE KISSING HAND has made several of our “best of” children’s book lists!

Fast forward several years, and now I'm a mom of two boys. And if there is one thing I've learned about children's literature after becoming a parent, it's that the types of books I love are constantly evolving — because sometimes, I fall in love with a book after I see the effect it has on my own kids.

This is exactly what happened with THE KISSING HAND.

Not only do my kids also love it, but THE KISSING HAND has ended up on so many of Happily Ever Elephants children’s book lists, including books for kids with anxiety, children’s books about divorce, children’s books about courage, first day of school books, and children’s books about moms.

THE KISSING HAND instills comfort in both parents and children alike

As a parent-reader, I found myself in Mrs. Raccoon's actions (I know that sounds kind of funny, but its totally true!!)

I was struck by the notion of doing anything in your power — making up any game, trick or story — to instill a sense of confidence in your child and to ensure your little one knows you are always with him, even when you are not physically present. It was comforting to me to find my own desire to protect and help my children reflected back to me, and I loved learning a new a tool to help my kids through troubling situations.

As a child reader — well, let’s just say that my boys thinks THE KISSING HAND is the best book ever. We have used our kissing hands so many times —particularly at school drop off — and it instills such comfort and reassurance in both of my kiddos.

THE KISSING HAND is a beautiful, gentle story, with a timeless message that will no doubt be incorporated into your daily lives. We hope you love it as much as we do.


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Best Board Books: Paying it Forward with Hooray for Hat!

This is one of the best board books about the concept of paying it forward - that when we take care of our friends, that joy will come back to us tenfold. We love Hooray for Hat, and due to its repeating verses, we think this is one of the best books for two year olds.

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Best Board Book Ever!! CAPS FOR SALE

If you are looking for the best board book ever, you MUST take a look at CAPS FOR SALE, an old classic, that was on reread in our house for years. Check it out!

Best Board books and best books for two year olds, Caps for Sale!

CAPS FOR SALE is hands down one of the very best board books for toddlers!

There are some books that simply stand the test of time and, sometimes, we read them and we wonder why? What is it about THIS book that has such long lasting appeal, more than so many others? Why is this one of the best board books, one that has become such a classic?

This is how I felt about CAPS FOR SALE, by Esphyr Slobodkina, until I first read it with my own child and it became the most sought after book in our house.

I'll admit that when Pickle first got this book as a gift, I wasn't inclined to pick it up.

Let's be honest- I totally judged the book by its cover. The illustration on the front did not excite me, it was old, and it wasn't by any of my favorite picture book authors - or one I had ever even heard of before! 

But then Pickle pulled CAPS FOR SALE off the shelf one night at bedtime, when he was deciding which three books he wanted me to read to him. Together, we opened it up.

… and then I experienced first hand why CAPS FOR SALE is one of the best board books for little ones.

We read the first page, and then the next one and then the next one, until the story about a peddler selling caps in the countryside came to a close, and Pickle immediately put it back in my hands and said "again, mama!"

So we read CAPS FOR SALE again, and this time, Pickle laughed as I acted out the scenes from the pages -- when I looked left and right and behind the tree for the missing caps, and when I shook my finger and "tsz tsz tszed" at the monkeys that stole them. When Pickle asked me to read it yet again, he acted out the story with me.

It's been a good year since we read CAPS FOR SALE for the first time, and it remains the BEST board book to act out together at bedtime. Maybe that's why it has stood the test of time- because the story is simple yet complex in the lessons it imparts, and it is simply so much fun to get silly with the text. Whatever the reason may be, one thing is for certain: this classic, originally published in 1940, is a definite keeper.

If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of CAPS FOR SALE, do yourself a favor and grab it now!

HAPPY READING! Hope you give these books Two Trunks Up as well!

Did you like our guide to the best board books? We are so glad! Check out these fantastic posts - we think you will love them too!

Want the book? Get it here! Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina. *This is an affiliate link.