Parents’ Best Children’s Books 2018

Selected by literacy experts and 75 kid testers, the new children’s books on Parents’ 10th annual best-of list will be favorites for years to come.

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Best Board Book

Hi-Five Animals!

Written and illustrated by Ross Burach

This interactive rhyming story with cartoon-like illustrations held the attention of our toddler testers. They pushed their tiny hands against moose antlers, elephant trunks, and lion paws to give the animals a high five, just as the story encouraged. The favorite spread came near the end: “Hi-five an octopus, I say. But only if you have ALL day!” Ages 1 to 4

“My toddler likes to ‘read’ it herself by saying the names of the animals as she high-fives them.”—Amanda Gallup Philadelphia, PA

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Best Alphabet Book

Mr. Bear’s ABC

Written and illustrated by Virginie Aracil

Thoughtfully designed spreads show capitalized and lowercase versions of each letter along with clever illustrations of animals, objects, and even concepts that match. Kid testers loved pointing out how bears were “hiding” behind the curl on a Q and in the middle of a V. “I appreciated that the book mixed familiar words like pandaand unicorn with new vocabulary like quartz and village,” says a mom who read it with her 3-year-old son. Ages 2 to 6

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Best Bedtime Story

Star in the Jar

Written by Sam Hay, illustrated by Sarah Massini

The charming plot about helping a lost star get home enchanted our little readers. “The story reminded me of E.T.,” says 5-year-old Savannah. Parents reported that the book’s one or two sentences per page put it in the zone of being satisfying without going on seemingly forever. Plus, the magical ending makes for sweet dreams. Ages 3 to 8

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Best Book for a Birthday Gift

Happy Birthday to You!

Written by Nosy Crow, illustrated by Nicola Slater

Make this sweet book your go-to party present because all our preschool testers just adored it. “My 3-year-old liked pressing the buttons on each right-hand page to hear an animal play a different instrument,” says Catherine McCord, the Los Angeles–based founder of Weelicious.com. And the testers practically lost their minds on the final page when they saw a candle light up on the layer cake and heard the animals play “Happy Birthday” for Little Otter, their friend. Ages 2 to 6

“Some books that play sounds get old fast, but this one is classy, and each page sings for just a few seconds.”—Heather Herriges, Cary, IL

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