My daughter is 15 months and hit that delightful stage where she loves to be read to and picks out the books she wants read. I'm mostly relying on the collection I brought from the 'states, because it's easier than going to the library, though I'm sure I will soon. Anyway, here are some books I highly recommend for reading to young ones or if you need gives for kids 0-5 that the parents won't hate you for.
Happy Hippo;Angry Duck I actually got this for my mom for her birthday one year. It is very cute, pithy and reminds all of us of the transience of emotions and the importance of support networks.
Oh my, Oh my, oh dinosaurs There is nothing deep about this book, it's just particularly good verse and a lot of fun.
The Pout Pout Fish This was the first book my son loved. I used to recite it to him after he'd been weaned and still woke up in the night. My daughter is also fond of it. The verse is excellent, easy to memorize, easy to chant, the pictures are charming and amusing and best of all it has a great theme. If you've got a mopey teenager in your life, I highly suggest getting this for him/her and reminding the kid that maybe the world isn't as set in stone as you think!
The Little Blue Truck Not Pout Pout Fish level good, but still excellent rhymes, a good moral, lovely illustrations and something you can read 50 times in a day without going crazy.
Rah Rah Radishes and Go Go Grapes these are my all time favorites to read and my son at almost 4 is still a big fan. The subtitle of the former is a 'a vegetable chant' and they do read beautifully as such. Harness your inner cheerleader and teach your kids about the world of fruits and vegetables. They're very high energy. There's a third about grains, but last I checked it still wasn't out in board book form.
The Doggies and Babies Book Originally my son wouldn't read any book that didn't have photographs. I'd recommend any of John Schindlers books (Busy Busy Dogs, Busy Busy Monkeys etc.) if your child is like that and they are good in their own right, but Doggies and Babies is inspired. It's both adorable and so true about the similarities between toddlers and canines. I great baby shower or first birthday gift.
Baby Beluga My daughter only wants books with song. There's a whole series of Raffi books and we read Puff the Magic Dragon a lot, but Baby Beluga is visually the most stunning and the song has the most interesting lyrics. If you're not familiar with the tune, I recommend listening to it before trying to sing the book, as the melody is as complicated as it is haunting and my husband pointed out that the text isn't necessarily split in the way you'd sing it.