The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayer published in 1959 may not be a recent book, but it is a classic. It was one my mother read to my siblings and I as children and was one of my older sister's favorite books. So much so, that she sent a copy of this book to my daughter for her birthday. Reprinted in 2008 by Purple House Press, The Blueberry Pie Elf is the story of a little house elf who discovers a love for blueberry pie. But the poor elf quickly becomes unhappy because he craves this pie, but has no way of letting the humans know (since house elves cannot be seen nor heard) that he'd like another piece of pie. Until one day he leaves some footprints... The Blueberry Pie Elf is a fun read-aloud story. The black and white illustrations are fun too as they occasionally include a splash of red, blue, or purple. This book is a classic well worth reading aloud. And if you enjoy adding to the fun of reading by trying little projects I definitely recommend serving blueberry pie after reading this book. It makes for some entertaining dinner conversation when there are preschoolers in the house.
Rhino's Big Itch by Natalie Chivers (Published in 2010 by Good Books). This is a recent acquisition by our library. I was immediately struck by the beautiful and colorful illustrations. The story is a fun one to read and yet remains educational. Rhino has a big big itch and he cannot get it to go away. He seeks help from some of the other animals in the safari...except for the lion, but no one can help -- until he comes upon a little tiny bird. I loved this book the minute I saw it. I will definitely be watching for more stories written and/or illustrated by Ms. Chivers. As for my daughter, she's enjoyed "re-reading" it aloud to us and talking about "Rhino's big itch and the bird helps."