Friday, June 10, 2011

Childrens Books - choosing great literature for your child.

No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally worth reading at the age of fifty - C.S. Lewis

Growing up my parents conscientiously tried to 'raise a reader'  I remember being read bedtime stories every night with one of us perched on the back of the couch 'doing' her hair, or at her feet giving her a 'pedicure' to keep her awake.  My mom had a copy of 'Honey for a Child's Heart' by Gladys Hunt, an anthology of children's books filled with wonderful ideas for helping your children fall in love with literature.  When I began teaching my mom gave me the fourth edition, and paging through it I recognized many of the titles.  The library was our main source of reading material, and we'd make the trek to the downtown branch every Saturday (and the children's section had ANIMALS! Jemima the puddle duck, who was none too friendly, and an elusive chinchilla which never came out of it's little hutch.  It was years later before I actually found out what a chinchilla looked like!)  My mom didn't only stick to picture books either.  She read aloud wonderful chapter books chosen to appeal to all listeners.
Even before Ashton was born I began a collection of children's books, which is being added to at all times.  I rarely buy new books, but hit the book section at each and every secondhand store, thrift shop or garage sale I hit.  Our book collection ranges from cloth and board books, through toddler and children's picture books, to children's and young adult novels.  I have to admit that my reading choices sometimes come from the latter (see above quote)
Anyways, enough with the chit chat - let's get to the good stuff!  Here's a list of my favorite books.  (ICR stands for I Can Read)

  • A Hole Is To Dig by Ruth Krauss  Fun book of 'definitions' Dogs are for licking noses
  • Make Way for Ducklings and ...
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  • ANYTHING by Richard Scarry.  Our favorite is Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
  • What Dads Can't Do by Douglas Wood
  • Little Critter books and...
  • A Boy a Dog and a Frog and...
  • Frog goes to dinner and...
  • What to do with a Kangaroo by Mercer Mayer
  • Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar and...
  • The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
  • Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar
  • Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty
  • Morris goes to School (ICR) by B. Wiseman
  • Sammy the Seal (ICR) and....
  • Julius (ICR) and...
  • Danny and the Dinosaur (ICR) by Syd Hoff
  • Dandelion by Dan Freeman
  • the Frog and Toad books (ICR) by Arnold Lobel
  • ANYTHING by Dr. Seuss (or his nom de plume - Theo Le Sieg) A lot of them are ICR, but don't forget his longer books like Bartholomew and the Oobleck, The Grinch who stole Christmas and The Lorax
  • But No Elephants by Jerry Smath
  • Are you my Mother (ICR) and...
  • Sam the Firefly (ICR) by P.D. Eastman
  • Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo  This was actually an 'Ashton choice' at VV but has catchy rhythmic and repetitive poetry about MACHINES!
  • A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock
  • Hand Hand Fingers Thumb (ICR) by Al Perkins  Wonderful rhythm book for younger toddlers

  • Clown by Quentin Blake  QB illustrates the Roald Dahl books.  This is a book without words where the illustrations tell the story.  Also a great tool for beginner writers to create their own story.
  • Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkinn
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • the Alfie books by Shirley Hughes
  • Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber
  • Guess how much I Love you by Anita Jeram
  • The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack
  • the Olivia books by Ian Falconer (not just because I have an Olivia!)
  • The Mitten (and others) by Jan Brett
  • the Pinkerton books and...
  • Won't anybody play with me? and...
  • The Enormous Tadpole by Steven Kellog
  • The Girl who Hated Books by Pawagi Manjusha
  • Parts and...
  • More Parts and...
  • Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold
  • the Frances books by Russell Hoban

  • Anything by Barbara Reid  She does wonderful plasticine illustrations
  • If you take a mouse to school by Laura Numeroff
  • Anything by Robert Munch  his funny books are only eclipsed by his hilarious story telling.  I've heard that some think his books are a tad disrespectful, so please review before reading them to your kids
  • the Berenstain Bear books by Stan and Jan Berenstain not really for literary purposes, but they are great teaching tools for certain issues (I'm currently borrowing a copy of 'Learn about Strangers' to introduce that concept to Ashton)
  • Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
  • Aesop's Fables illustrated by Eric Kincaid wording is for older kids, but illustrations are phenomenal
  • Mr. Archimedes Bath by Pamela Allen
  • Imogene's Antlers by David Small
  • The Library by Sarah Stewart
  • anything by Bill Peet  some of his books are in rhyme and some in prose
  • Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak why oh why does Hollywood insist on trashing these wonderful classics?!?
  • Little Toot by Hardie Gramatky
  • Stone Soup by Jon J Muth
Here's some longer novels that are GREAT for reading aloud:
  • Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B White
  • the Roald Dahl books
  • the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

  • the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • the Ramona and Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary
and especially for the boys:
  • Homer Price and..
  • Centerburg Tales by Robert McCloskey
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer I've never read this, but my DH remembers his mom reading it
I'll revisit this topic with more novels for older kids later on, but I think this post is long enough.  Happy Reading!


  1. Oh such great memories of reading, going to the library, and cuddling. These are definitely some of my favorite parts of parenting. Wishing every parent fun reading experiences with their children.

  2. Thanks so much for linking to this- what a great list! Full of many of my favorite reads and lots of new ideas. Heading to the library this week with a big list!


So. Whadaya think?