Hug Me by Simona Ciraola follows a hopeful little desert cactus who’s searching for affection despite a tendency to be prickly. After a series of rejections, the little cactus becomes resigned to loneliness. But the green hero keeps an open heart, and finds friendship in an unlikely place. The charming illustrations combined with the thoughtful exploration of nature vs. aspirations marks this picture book as one of my favorites.
Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers is a series of short, inter-linking stories for each letter. This is not a book for preschoolers, but for their older grade school siblings to read aloud. The challenging vocabulary will encourage questions, while they chuckle at the twisty dark humor.