Two favorite books around my house are My Little ABC Book and My Little 123 Book by Bob Staake. I bought them at SF MOMA in 1998 and started reading them to my daughter when she was a couple of months old. Now I read them to her little sister, and my older daughter likes to sit with us. Staake's art is deceptive — it looks simple, but I still find new things in the illustrations after over a hundred readings. His work is a big inspiration to me.
Staake has a new book coming out that looks completely different from his earlier work — the psychedelic candy colors have been stripped away from his style, leaving luminescent shades of gray. Interestingly, these monochromatic images have a 3D quality to them, while his color work is totally flat.
This book is called the Orb of Chatham and it's about a mysterious black orb that appears in a fishing village on Cape Cod in 1935. Five months after the visitation, all the witnesses disappear forever. The pub date is June.