In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Learning to read books

Very first learning to read books:
Big Brown Bear, by David McPhail
The Flip-A-Word Series, by Harriet Ziefert, ill. Yukiko Kido
Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss
The BOB Books
The Cat and the Cab, by Judy Thoms
Am I A Man? by Judy Thoms
thoughts on learning to read -- from Deborah
on phonics-based learning to read methods
The Primary Phonics Series (Mac and Tab, etc.), by Barbara Makar
Meet Monster: Six Stories about the World's Friendliest Monster, by Ann Cook and Ellen Blance, ill. Quentin Blake
The Dolch "Pleasure Reading" series, by Edward W. Dolch, Marguerite P. Dolch, and Beulah F. Jackson
the Structural Reading series, by Catherine Stern, Toni S. Gould, and Margaret Stern
The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotas
the Brand New Readers series
Danny and the Dinosaur, by Syd Hoff
Ten Apples Up on Top!, by Dr. Seuss
Disney Peter Pan Level 1 Reader

Next level:
Mrs. Brice's Mice, Sammy the Seal, and others by Syd Hoff
Board books!
The Frances books, by Russell and Lillian Hoban
The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books

Alphabet books:
Kipper's A to Z
The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book, by Jerry Pallotas

Diaper bag books (good for reading on the subway, planes, etc.):
Jamie and Angus, by Anne Fine
Little Bear, by Else Holmelund Minarik
Little Bear's Visit
Father Bear Comes Home
Little Bear's Friend
the Frog and Toad series, by Arnold Lobel

Early reader books with multiple stories in them:
the Little Bear series, by Else Holmelund Minarik (illustrated by Maurice Sendak)
No Fighting, No Biting!, by Else Holmelund Minarik
the Poppleton series, by Cynthia Rylant 
the Frog and Toad series, by Arnold Lobel  
The Golly Sisters Go West, by Betsy Byars
Mouse Soup, by Arnold Lobel

Elephant and Piggie series, by Mo Willems

Pinky and Rex and the Bully, by James Howe

Fancy Nancy, by Jane O'Connor

High-interest for reluctant readers:
The Best of Pro Football
National Geographic's Myths Busted
The Cat on the Mat is Flat, by Andy Griffiths

The High-Rise Private Eyes series, by Cynthia Rylant

Short chapter books:
The High-Rise Private Eyes series, by Cynthia Rylant
Dodsworth in New York, by Tim Egan (also Dodsworth in Paris and Dodsworth in London) 
Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Park
The Pinky and Rex series, by James Howe
The Henry and Mudge series, by Cynthia Rylant (and here)
The Boxcar Children series, by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Toon Books:
Silly Lilly in What Will I Be Today? by Agnes Rosensteihl
Little Mouse Gets Dressed, by Jeff Smith
Maya Makes a Mess, by Rutu Modan

the Fancy Nancy series, by Jane O'Connor