Books make great gifts, and the picture books on this list contain stunning illustrations and wonderful stories that will bring humor and pleasure to readers and listeners.

“Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown: Race from A to Z” by David Shannon, Loren Long, and David Gordon, 2014, Simon & Schuster Books, ages 3-6.

Learning the A, B, Cs can be fun and full of action in this book from the Trucktown series that includes favorite characters Izzy Ice Cream Truck, Tow Truck Ted, and many others. As readers move through the alphabet, the trucks vroom and rumble in a flurry of action until reaching the letter S, when there is a stop, skid, screech, smash, and sirens. Will a truck pileup keep these friends on wheels from getting to the letter z? Developer Jon Scieszka is know for his efforts to promote reading for boys, but the Trucktown books are entertaining for all. Visit Scieszka’s website at

“Over There” by Steve Pilcher, 2014, Disney Press, ages 4-7.

In this touching story of loneliness and friendship, Shredder leaves the comfort of his quiet, cozy home in search of something more. While alone, he finds the world to be big and adventurous place, but with a friend even the ordinary can be an adventure. Published as a collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Disney Press, the book features the sweet and lovely illustrations of Pilcher, who formerly worked on the movies “Shrek 2”, “Shrek the Third”, and “Brave”. “Over There” is Pilcher’s debut children’s book.

“Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories” by Dr. Seuss, 2014, Random House, all ages.

Beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, described as the master of logical nonsense, has left loyal readers four nuggets of gold in this collection of stories previously unpublished in book form. Seuss-lovers will be reunited with favorite characters in in familiar settings, but with new tales, including Mulberry Street, Horton, and the Grinch. Originally published in magazines during the 1950’s, these stories will delight readers as they are reunited with Seuss’ zany use of words and clever illustrations.

“Little Humans” by Brandon Stanton, 2014, Farrar Straus Giroux, ages 4-7.

Street photographer Brandon Stanton uses color photography to capture the spirit and sense of self that makes children unique and, well . . . human. “Little Humans” stems from Stanton’s publication of “Humans of New York” and his blog of the same name. The delightful photographs and simple text remind us that little humans can do big things.

“Hug Machine” by Scott Campbell, 2014, Antheneum, ages 4-8.

People need 4 hugs a day for survival, and 12 hugs a day to thrive. The “Hug Machine” is a simple story that does its part to promote hugging. A young boy, bearing open arms, shares his love through hugs. He knows that a hug can give calm, cheer, love, so he hugs everything, including a porcupine. Bold watercolor illustrations share the emotions of giving and receiving the all important hug.

“A Bean, A Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack” by William Joyce, Illustrated by Kenny Callicutt, 2014, Atheneum Books, ages 4-8.

The traditional tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is retold with a zany twist that reflects the unique creativity of author William Joyce. His work includes contributions to the movies “Toy Story”, and “A Bug’s Life”, and the television show “Rollie, Pollie, Ollie”, along with writing and illustrating over fifty children’s books. Jack’s tale includes a giant beanstalk that grows from a talking bean who guides Jack to a giant. From there the story takes a squeaky clean twist.