First and Best 2012

December 1, 2012 | Lisa

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First-and-best-2012As the holiday season quickly approaches, look no further than TPL for great gift ideas for the young children in your life. The 2012 First and Best Booklist has just been unwrapped! It features the year's best in Canadian books for children from birth to age five that are fun to read and help develop early literacy skills. Carefully chosen by our expert children's librarians from piles of submissions, these books will foster a love for reading from an early age.

The booklist is part of our Ready for Reading initiative – a combination of free high-quality programs, services and resources designed to build kids’ early literacy skills and develop a love of reading.

Enjoy the upcoming winter season snuggled up with loved ones and these great books, available at library branches across the city!

Are these top picks from 2012 in line with yours? Do you have others to recommend? Let us know in the comments below.


Animal masquerade 

Animal Masquerade

Marianne Dubuc

Entertaining animal disguises, wide-ranging vocabulary and occasional subtle changes to the typeface to reflect animal characteristics make this book fun on many levels.


Canada in words


Canada in Words


This colourful vocabulary builder will have children speaking fluent “Canadian” in no time!


Extra yarn


Extra Yarn

Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

A cosy tale that will provide a warm reading experience, peppered with some wonderful words to build your child’s vocabulary.



Now i am big I can do it myself

I Can Do It Myself!

Now I Am Big!

Stephen Krensky & Sara Gillingham

The bold, graphic illustrations and the simple narratives and rhyme schemes are great tools to engage very young pre-readers.



It's a tiger
It’s a Tiger!

David LaRochelle & Jeremy Tankard

Children will relish the frequent opportunity to warn “It’s a tiger!” at full volume, making this the sort of book that will establish a firm foundation for a lifelong joy of reading.



Kiss tickle cuddle hug


Kiss Tickle Cuddle Hug

Susan Musgrave

Babies like to look at other babies! The expressive photography used here will delight parents and children alike, and will enable young children to begin to associate words and feelings.


Mr. zinger's hat
Mr. Zinger’s Hat

Cary Fagan & Dusan Petricic

Budding readers, with prodding from a parent or caregiver, will enjoy the realization that their own stories are bound only by the limits of their imaginations.



Noisy poems for a busy day

Noisy Poems for a Busy Day

Robert Heidbreder & Loni Joy Smith

Though the compilation of poems in this book follows the narrative of a daily routine, they can be enjoyed individually too. The playful rhymes will help children understand the sounds that build language.


The stone hatchlings

The Stone Hatchlings

Sarah Tsiang & Qin Leng

There is nothing quite like imaginatively told stories to motivate children to learn to read. Children will delight in this tale of Abby’s stone eggs.


Toads on toast


Toads on Toast

Linda Bailey & Colin Jack

A delightful turn of events and a fox fond of cookbooks make this title a winner for developing both narrative skills and the awareness that print is all around us.