Among my favorite gifts that my son has received is the little set of books from his great-aunt, a fellow book-lover: The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak. Sendak, well-known for his incredible Where the Wild Things Are, puts his genius towards these four small books (encased in a perfectly sized small box): a counting book, a book of the months, an alphabet book, and a cautionary tale.
What more is needed in a little set of books for a little one starting to learn of the world? Perhaps deep whimsy as well; facts are facts, but alongside Sendak's imaginative drawings in aqua, green, and yellow hues, these facts of numbers and letters come alive with gentle, comic, loving humor. Life is rather strange, after all, and a little silliness goes a long way.