Bookworm food

Some books explicitly try to create little bibliophiles by fostering a love of reading and/or teaching basic literacy concepts. These entertaining reads — some of the best we’ve ever seen — do just that in five dramatically different and innovative ways.

There’s no shortage of alphabet books, in which A is for apple or some other word starting with A; B is for bear or banana; and X is always for X-ray or xylophone. This book, the latest of a series, has fun with the format by serving up words like “ailurophile” and “bioluminescent” instead. Part of the fun is watching grown-ups try to pronounce each word! 

Ages 4–6 • $17.99

Todd Bol became a local hero after launching the Little Free Library movement from his yard in Hudson, Wisconsin. See if you can avoid getting chills, or maybe shedding a tear or two, while reading this inspirational and lovingly illustrated true story.

Ages 4–7 • $17.99

Few books encourage a love of reading with the wit of this spin on the traditional tale. Because she’s read extensively about wolves, Little Red stays calm and in control throughout her journey through the forest … until the ending, which abandons the original’s storyline (which is pretty brutal, when you think about it) in favor of a charming twist.

Ages 4–8 • $17.99

Here the ABCs provide a framing device for 26 valuable lessons about becoming your best self, from embracing adventure to being one in a zillion. (Thankfully, for X they went with “excitement” rather than trying to shoehorn in something about X-rays or xylophones!)

Ages 4–8 • $17.99

Learning abstract concepts — such as what a noun is — can be tough for kids. This book makes it easier by packing each page with loads of examples, goofy characters and entertaining illustrations. Capstone is simultaneously releasing books about adjectives, adverbs and all the other parts of speech, too.

Ages 5–8 • $7.95

Ed Dykhuizen is an associate editor at Minnesota Parent and father of three, who lives in St. Paul.