My younger kids usually need a little one-on-one time to decompress after school, and one of our favorite ways to do this is reading together. After a few minutes in my lap, they’re ready to go play again. But, I have to admit, I’d much rather read a cool indie book like Carson Ellis’ Home than anything Dora or Clifford or, heaven help us, Caillou.

I think it’s hard to find artfully designed board books for preschoolers — although we do love Cozy Classics and BabyLit — but the new board book for kids, Air by Kyla Ryman with beautiful cut-paper illustrations by Nathalie Trovato, is now right up there with the best of them.

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Air by Kyla Ryman and Nathalie Trovato: A beautifully illustrated board book for kids that teaches the importance of the air around us.

What makes this book so lovely is its simplicity. The writing is basic; it tells kids — at a level even 3-year-olds will understand — why we need air. But it’s the cut-paper illustrations that are truly special. The French-born and now Brooklyn-based artist, Nathalie Trovato, calls her style “enchanted minimalist,” and it’s a perfect description for this book. Even though there’s not too much happening on the pages, my kids and I are really drawn to the pictures, and find ourselves lingering on every page as we read.

If you need a personal add-on to a baby shower registry gift, an easy stocking stuffer for the holidays, or a small gift to give your child’s preschool teacher for the classroom, we think this one will be loved by everyone.

You can find Air by Kyla Ryman and Nathalie Trovato at our affiliate Amazon, or look for it at your local bookstore. It is part of the the Toddler Series from Home Grown Books, who are also the creators of Black Cowboys, another favorite board book of ours.

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