As a former English major and future English teacher, I (Adri) love to give books as gifts to my friends' children. I feel like kids always have an abundance of toys, but good books can sometimes be hard to find and I feel that good books are vital to developing a love of reading in children. Here are a few of my and my siblings' favorite books from when we were little. Most of the books here are fairly unique, so the odds that a young one in your life already has one of these books are pretty slim and would be a safe bet for a gift, in my opinion.
We absolutely loved the Max & Ruby series. The stories and illustrations are cute and fun and the fact that they're board books makes them appropriate for even the youngest kids.
My younger brother couldn't get enough of this book when he was 3-7 years old. We went to the library at least once a week back then, and every other time, he would check out Airport. Everyone in our family had it memorized because we read it so many times!
Pretzel is a great story about a really long dachshund and his search for love. This was one we read over and over...and over again.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is another great story. It's been so long since I've read it, that I don't quite remember what it's about. But, I do know that we kids and our parents loved it.