Librarian: Gail LaVaude, codirector at Bradford Public Library
Book: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Age range: 3 and up
LaVaude's summary: "There was one little baby who was born far away/ And another who was born on the very next day/ And both of these babies, as everyone knows/ Had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes!" So begins this delightful picture book, a collaborative work from renowned children's-book creators Mem Fox (Possum Magic) and Helen Oxenbury (Tickle, Tickle).
The simple text and multicultural watercolors teach young children to celebrate diversity while demonstrating that people across all cultures have something in common. And the repeating rhymes help kids develop phonological awareness. That's an important step in literacy development.
Why you'll like it: I love reading this book aloud at story hours. Toddlers enjoy the sing-song rhythm of the words, and the repetition makes the story easy for them to follow. Kids can't help but join in as they guess what's coming next.