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"What Can A Crane Pick Up?," by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Mike Lowery (Alfred A. Knopf)

Combining toddler-pleasing elements -- silliness, a bouncy rhyme scheme, the ever-popular subject of trucks and a wacky illustration with each turn of the page -- this read-aloud book easily becomes a shout-along. "Can a crane lift men in business suits? Yes! And a load of cowboy boots. Cowboy boots or even a COW. A cow? But HOW?" Ages 1-5. (Credit: Handout)

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Top 12 children's books of 2012

Great tales, for kids of all ages, that stood out on the shelf this year. -- Sonja Bolle

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