Sometimes it's easier to express one's own feelings using someone else's words. So, for the mother
Sometimes it's easier to express one's own feelings using someone else's words. So, for the mother who can't find just the right way to tell her son that she hopes he is lucky in life, or the father who wants to say to his little girl that he, too, can sew the loose button on a teddy bear, there are several new picture books that can help.
"Wishes for You" (HarperCollins, $15.99, ages 3-7) is for parents, grandparents and any other caregiver who wants to share universal hopes with a child.
Tobi Tobias' text, including the line, "I hope you will have moments when you're so happy, you'll feel the sun is shining from inside of you," is set against Henri Sorensen's painting-style illustrations.
On the flip side, though, there are some words that all parents seem to say so naturally, you'd think the parents invented the phrases themselves.
In "My Momma Likes To Say" (Sleeping Bear Press, $15.95, ages 4-10), Denise Brennan-Nelson explains the history of "Sleep tight ... don't let the bed bugs bite" -- a phrase popularized in the 1800s when children slept on a mattress made of straw, leaves and pine needles that bugs similar to fleas loved to munch on.
She also writes that children in France hear mothers say, "I throw my tongue to the cat," instead of the American expression "Cat got your tongue?" Either way, mom is asking, "Why are you being so quiet?"
Jane Monroe Donovan's illustrations demonstrate how silly the words of wisdom can be if they're taken too seriously.
Mom Cat and Baby Cat enjoy some carefree fun in "Only My Mom and Me" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke (HarperFestival, $6.99, ages 2-5). On their special days together, they take crunchy leaf walks and have long picnic talks, and sip cocoa from mugs and share frosty nose hugs.
Meanwhile, Dad Bunny and Baby Bunny take morning hikes and long rides on bikes in the companion book "Only My Dad and Me."
Sometimes, though, work or other responsibilities call parents away from their children's side, but that doesn't mean the children aren't at the center of their parents' thoughts. "Where Is My Mommy?" (HarperCollins, $15.99, ages 1-4) by Julie Downing shows young readers that when a mother bluebird returns to her nest -- and her three young chicks -- she is carrying the youngsters' lunch.
A mutual admiration society gathers in "Mommy Loves Her Bunny" (Scholastic, $4.99, ages newborn-3) by Josephine Page with pictures by Mary Morgan. All the mommies in this book, including a duck, a pig and a human, love their babies, and all the babies love them back.
And in case there is any doubt just how much a mother can adore her child, Tara Jaye Morrow compares the love to a lion's affinity for a great roar and an eagle's desire to soar in "Mommy Loves Her Baby" (HarperCollins, $15.99, ages 3-6). Turn the book over and fathers get a turn in "Daddy Loves His Baby."
Both sides of the flipbook are illustrated by Beeke.
"Mama Mama/Papa Papa" (HarperFestival, $6.99, ages infant-5) is another dual-sided book that gives equal time to mom and dad. This board book by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by Laura Regan focuses on the gifts that each parent can give a child.
For instance, the mother tiger gives her baby milk while the father beaver is hard at work building his family a home.
But in "Daddy and Me" (Little Simon, $5.99, ages 1-5), it's an eager tyke who offers Dear Old Dad a little help. In fact, it's up to the child in Karen Katz's book to find the tools that dad keeps misplacing.
After hearing about the "great team" that his father works on and the "bulls and bears" that so often take him on a wild ride, a little boy is determined to go to the office with his dad to see what goes on behind those frosted glass doors. And the boy, who brings with him a lunch box that looks like dad's briefcase, isn't disappointed in "My Dad's Job" (Simon & amp; Schuster, $15.95, ages 5-8) by Peter Glassman and illustrated by Timothy Bush.
"What Daddies Do Best" (Little Simon, $6.99, ages 1-5) by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger has been reissued in a board book so even the tiniest tots can see how their fathers come in handy when it's time to make a snowman or learn how to ride a bike.
Both dad and daughter receive Father's Day gifts in "Won't Papa Be Surprised!" (HarperCollins, $15.99, ages 3-7) by Terri Cohlene and illustrated by Elizabeth Sayles.
At first Mikele can't figure out why she'd be getting a present, but her father explains that without her, he wouldn't know the joys of parenting. Of course there are some parents-turned-grandparents who relish their new position -- it's parenting without the problems, they say.
If youngsters don't already know that grandpas don't usually scold kids when they cheat at cards or sneak an extra dessert they'll find out in "Grandparents!" (Kane/Miller, $10.95, ages 3-7) by Roser Capdevila and Anne-Laure Fournier le Ray. The book, though, also shows how grandparents can be helpful in explaining family histories and exposing children to new things.
Each week, young Jay Jay looks forward to Sunday because that's the day he goes to Grannie's house for a big feast in "Full, Full, Full of Love" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 2 and up) by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Paul Howard.
Cooke writes: "Grannie's house is always full, full of hugs and kisses, full of tasty dishes, full of all kinds of fishes, full to the brim with happy faces, full, full, full of love."
Meanwhile, little Albert doesn't get to see his grandmother each week so her occasional visits are very special events. In "My Grandma Is Coming to Town" (Candlewick Press, $13.99, ages 3-6) by Anna Grossnickle Hines and illustrated by Melissa Street, Albert prepares for grandma's arrival by picking her flowers and drawing her a "welcome" sign. When grandma finally arrives, Albert becomes a little shy because she looks a little different from the way he remembers, but once they get into the groove of their special rhymes and riddles, Albert sees that she's the grandma he knows and loves.
The woman with gray frizzy hair and no shoes in "My Hippie Grandmother" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 4 and up) hasn't changed since 1969, writes Reeve Lindbergh. And why should she? Life is good when you live in a purple bus and, at least in Abby Carter's illustrations, wear tie-dyed T-shirts and love beads.