children’s books

I’m happy that my boy likes to read. Several months back he started picking up books, walking over to us, turning around and backing into our laps while holding or handing us the book. It is truly a great feeling to read with Benjamin. For one thing, there’s no feeling like a little kid sitting on your lap or leg or knee–lounging back against your chest or arm. Just fantastic. And, it’s fun to find kids’ books that you enjoy too. It’s actually great to find ones you like since, if all kids are more or less like Ben, they read the same ones over and over. So, yes, I’ve got my favorites. They are all of the board book variety right now, otherwise they would not survive here. So, without further adieu, here are some of my favorites of Ben’s books.

First of all, two classics by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd:

1. Goodnight Moon – A classic nighttime book. I’ve just about got it memorized from reading it so much. The rhymes and cadence of the book is a noted feature (“In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon, and a picture of– the cow jumping over the moon. And there were three little bears sitting on chairs…”). Also, though it isn’t mentioned in the text, on one of the walls there is a framed picture of one of the scenes from The Runaway Bunny.

2. The Runaway Bunny – A little boy bunny cannot escape the relentless love of the mother bunny. Dont’ have to look too far for the sermon illustration there.

Next, a couple of selections from Eric Carle:

3. The Very Hungry Catepillar – Follows a catepillar from birth to butterfly. My favorite part is when, after something of a bender on sweets on Saturday (“that night he had a stomach-ache.), on Sunday he eats a nice green leaf (“and after that, he felt much better.”).

4. The Mixed-Up Chameleon – A chameleon wishes to be like lots of other animals, only to become very mixed up. In the process, he learns to appreciate being himself. With both of these, Carle’s unique illustration style is almost as captivating as the stories themselves.

And the rest:

5. I Love My Mommy Because and I Love My Daddy Because, by Laurel Porter-Gaylord, illustrated by Ashely Wolff – Nice, touching books with wonderful authentic scenes of animal parents and babies (as it says on the last page: “The animal behavior pictured in this book has been verified by wildlife biologists.”).

6. Time for Bed, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer – Again, the rhyming schemes are nicely done–no annoyingly sing-songy a-b-c-b lines that get old so quickly. Two simple rhyming lines per page with a different animal being encouraged to go to bed by its parent. The illustrations use rich, attractive colors and the variety of animals is impressive.

7. Alaska’s ABC Bears, by Shannon Cartwright – My in-laws brought several children’s board books home from their trip to Alaska last summer and this is the best of the bunch. The illustrations are sweet and fun and the assocaitions with the letters of the alphabet range from the predictable to the absurd.

8. In the Garden with Van Gogh, by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober – This one takes several of Van Gogh’s paintings, mostly well known ones, and arranges them along with a poetic story that unfolds as the pages turn. The rhyme scheme is not my favorite. Nevertheless, they are quite enjoyable. Perhaps it’s because of the narrative they create with Van Gogh’s paintings, but that’s fine with me. Van Gogh is one of my favorites and I’m glad to have this way of sharing him with Ben.

Your favorites?

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3 thoughts on “children’s books

  1. I always liked Bill Peet (especially No Such Thing – if I remember the title right) and William Steig (who did much more than Shrek).

  2. Goodnight Moon and any Eric Carle books are big hits in our house. Our daughter also really likes The Snowy Day and Whistle for Willy by Ezra Jack Keats.

    Our daughter is almost three so she can be trusted with non-board books now. She loves Dr. Seuss (and Green Eggs and Ham is missing – very serious situation at our house) and Richard Scary’s Big Word Book.

    My daughter Claire also likes to read books over and over and over. It is a great feeling having them on your lap and reading to them. Now when she brings over a book she says, “Talk to it!” It is very cute. Our son is almost a year old and is starting to show interest in books – beyond chewing on them.

  3. “Put Me In The Zoo” by Robert Lopshire. If Marcy is reading it to Colin, I can recite right along with it because I have it memorized…

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