When Ellie was in Kindergarten and Lorelei was an infant I noticed something– there is a surprising amount of overlap between “learning to read” books and books for infants and toddlers. Both use a very few, simple words. Both are typically illustrated very literally, so that the illustration exactly matches the text. While illustrations can be widely varied and beautiful, many of the best being like small art galleries, they don’t always make for the most inspiring read text-wise. Especially when you are reading them over and over and over again. Of course, the main functions of these types of books are different than those of a good picture book or read-aloud. They are designed to foster word (or language) acquisition or decoding– not to titillate with a well-turned phrase. No wonder, then, that they are often pretty… uninspiring for the adult reader. So before you yawn your way through another rendition of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (a great book, by the way– but even the best can use some new neighbors now and again), check out these titles and add some fresh ink to your shelf.