Wow, for starters, I'm sorry that it took so long to finally get started on some recommendations. We have a lot that we want to write about... the first one is always the hardest.
For a quick background, ever since Abby was a baby, she never wanted to re-read books. Seriously. When she was two we used to check out 70 books a week at the library just to keep up. She still won't re-read books. We go through about 30 chapter books a week with her. It's kind of insane. Her quirkiness is actually how we are deciding which books to recommend. We still get about 40 books a week at the library and we don't have to time to write a review for each and every one of them. Instead, we are going to recommend the odd few that Abby will ask to read again (Alex is more than happy reading the same thing over and over and over like most children.) If Abby doesn't want the book a second time while we have it, then the book didn't cross into the realm of "great."
Our first recommendation is actually a series of books by Aaron Becker. We will call it the Journey Trilogy. This is a series of wordless picture books. I read once that parents are less likely to buy wordless books because they are unsure of what to really do with them. If that is you, don't be intimidated. Think about it, before your child can read, every book they look at alone is a wordless picture book, and they still LOVE them. Open the book, talk about what you see. Engage your child in the story and see what they think is happening. This is actually one of the reason I love this type of book because there are no words to hold you back. You are free to explore the beautiful illustrations and use your own words to make the story.
Aaron Becker's trilogy not only has some of the most beautiful illustrations you have ever seen, but also one of the most complex and beautiful stories. The trilogy begins with Journey. In this story a little girl uses a red marker to draw a door and escape from her boring every day world into a kingdom of imagination and adventure. Like in Harold and the Purple Crayon, everything that she draws with her marker comes to life. She uses this magic to help her courageously escape from an evil emperor and to eventually bring herself back home.
Following the storyline in Journey, in Quest and Return we see our same heroine and the same sinister villain. Even though our heroine originally escaped, in Quest we see that the emperor has darkened the majestic world of her imagination and it is up to our heroine and her friend to bring light and color back to the kingdom. Finally in Return all is set right and with the help of her father, our heroine is finally able to vanquish the emperor.
As I mentioned before, the illustrations in these books are absolutely breathtaking. Although the storyline would be more appropriate for a child 4+, the pictures are so bright and detailed that you could discuss them with a child of any age, while adjusting the story to a level that they can understand. We just love this series and highly recommend it!