Booklights: Thank you Bear by Greg Foley
One day after a particularly boring grocery run, I told my daughter, Ellie, we would get a new book for her since she was so patient (as patient as a toddler can be expected to be, at least). We hopped on over to the bookstore a few shops down and began our search. I steered my little bookworm away from the "Classics" section-- The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Cat in the Hat are wonderful books and are classics for a reason; however, she will have many, many opportunities to explore those in her lifetime and I wanted something different. We had an even harder time finding something that wasn't a licensed "watch our TV show and buy our toys" book, or yet another book about counting or colors. Those books have their place, but she had so many already. I also wanted to avoid any pop-up or lift-the-flap books, because they would not last more than a few minutes at the destructive hands of my toddler.
I stopped when I saw a square book with a white cover and simple illustrations: Thank You Bear, by Greg Foley. The book's design is what first caught my attention. I loved that each page had a different color of background for the text, and those pages matched the colors on the corresponding illustration page. The illustrations were adorable and sweet. I was sold, and Ellie immediately wanted "the bear book," so we purchased it and brought it home to read. The story was also very simple: A little bear finds a box and is excited to show it to his best friend, Mouse. He meets other animals along the way who don't find the box very exciting (but don't worry--it all ends well!). When I got done reading it to Ellie for the first time, she uttered the highest word of praise that a child can give for a book: "Again!" Thank You Bear is a favorite over here. It is perfect in it's simplicity. It has a simple message and storyline so that it's easy for young children to follow, and the illustrations are engaging without being overly complex. This would be perfect for a beginning reader, and also a wonderful bedtime (or anytime) story. Greg Foley has other books in the Bear series (which Ellie also adores), and I encourage you and your little ones to check them all out!