As mentioned yesterday, I am going through our circulation records here at the library to see what the most popular books have been this year, in hopes of sparking some Christmas gift ideas. Today I start looking at what we call the "easies", or picture books. Many of our most popular are part of an ongoing series, so we'll begin with those.
Curious George swept everyone away, taking the top three spots, and ten of the top 40! Most popular were the original, Curious George Feeds the Animals, and
There's just something about that irrepressible little guy getting into trouble without ever meaning to, that speaks to pretty much every child. You can find everything from stuffed Georges to cocoa mugs to clothing to alarm clocks to gift with the books.
Fancy Nancy is another continual favorite, with picture books, early readers, and a chapter book series (I have been pleased with the chapter books, which are good in their own right - not just coasting along on the popularity of the character.)
This has been our most popular title:
and of course it's perfect for Christmas. Gift this one with an ornament making kit, or several in the series with a collection of accessories or glittery art materials.
Another series that is standing the test of time are Numeroff's "If You Give a..." series:
These lead well into writing activities. Maybe grab a couple blank books at the dollar store and write on the first page, "If you take (child's name) to the (favorite location)...", then finish the story together over cocoa and cookies!
And who can't love Mo Willems' Pigeon?
Gift the set with a pack of hot dogs. You kids will get it.
Here's another series that may last forever:
Both the old classics and the newer titles are read over and over. Consider getting a live tree you can plant later, or decorate a tree outside for the critters, and read this title together!
The four original Pete the Cat books are checked out more than they are in:
I saw quite a few costumes based off this one at Halloween this year! You could decorate a jacket with fun buttons all over, or buy a pair of white canvas shoes to decorate with I Love My White Shoes (that just happens to be our story time craft today!)
A personal favorite for reading out loud:
You lose you librarian license if you don't do the voices. A stuffed kitty would go well with any of these.
Finally, one more with a predominantly female cast:
Kids might be surprised to learn that each story has a 'life lesson' to teach - and probably won't care. The lesson is never obvious or heavy handed; the characters are realistic and endearing; and, forget the wings, who wouldn't want those boots?!
None of these are brand new series, are they? That surprised me, too! There are many other great ones out there (Llama Llama and Arthur just missed the cut), so browse around your local library to see what else they have to suggest. And, happy gifting!