Toronto - Toronto Public Library is pleased to announce its inaugural First & Best booklist: a selection of the best of 2007 Canadian children's books for children from birth to five. 

"First & Best '07 includes our top picks for kids for this publishing year," says Ken Setterington, Child and Youth Advocate for Library Services at Toronto Public Library. "The books meet all the usual standards for excellence in children's literature," he says, "but in addition, we're recommending them as the best of the year for building reading readiness in children five and under."  

Setterington spearheaded the development of First & Best as part of Ready for Reading at Toronto Public Library, a new approach to library services for children from birth to five years that emphasizes reading readiness.

First & Best '07:

  • Eats, by Marthe Jocelyn, illustrated by Tom Slaughter, Tundra Books (letter knowledge)

  • Goodnight, Sweet Pig, by Linda Bailey, illustrated by José Masse, Kids Can Press (vocabulary)

  • Grumpy Bird, written and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard, Scholastic Press (narrative skills)

  • Lickety-Split, by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Dušan Petrič, Kids Can Press (print awareness)

  • Out Came the Sun: A Day in Nursery Rhymes, illustrated by Heather Collins, Kids Can Press (phonological awareness)

  • Please, Louise!, by Frieda Wishinsky, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay, Groundwood Books (print awareness)

  • Shoe Shakes, by Loris Lesynski, illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Annick Press (phonological awareness)

  • Sing a Song of Mother Goose, illustrated by Barbara Reid, Scholastic Press (board book - vocabulary)

  • Welcome Song for Baby: A Lullaby for Newborns, by Richard Van Camp, Orca Books (board book – print motivation)

  • What Am I?, by Linda Granfield, illustrated by Jennifer Herbert, Tundra Books (narrative skills)


Pre-reading skills highlighted by Ready for Reading are: print motivation (a positive attitude toward books and reading); phonological awareness (the ability to hear the smaller sounds in words); vocabulary; narrative skills (the ability to understand and tell stories); print awareness (noticing print and understanding its usefulness); and letter knowledge.

All First & Best '07 books are available for borrowing at Toronto Public Library and are listed at kidsspace.torontopubliclibrary.ca.

Setterington is a children's author and storyteller as well as frequent critic of children's literature. Setterington co-authored A Guide to Canadian Children's Books in English with Deirdre Baker in 2003.