10 books week: 10 books for the littles

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Today’s list was unbelievably difficult for me. So many books that I couldn’t list here – no Make Way for Ducklings? no The Biggest Bear? no Richard Scarry?? But this the list I’ve found myself with after the agonizing is over. A mixture of old and new, ones from my childhood that I still read to my kids, and ones that we’ve discovered with great joy as a family.

1) Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney: My kids love all the books in this particular series, but this is our first and favorite. She captures the personality of young children perfectly, and obviously a good part of the attraction for my own is the not-too-usual fact that the mother is named Mama. Even spelled the way we spell it here.

2) A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson: I consider this book to be the best introduction to poetry for young children. There are many different publications of this; we own one illustrated by Thomas Kinkade, but I’ve linked to the Golden Book version which is the one I remember reading over and over again as a child.

3) Edith and Mr. Bear: A Lonely Doll Story by Dare Wright: The story of Edith, a lonely doll, is set to black and white photographs of posed dolls and stuffed animals. Edith makes a family with Mr. Bear and Little Bear, and this particular story is my favorite. As is the theme with many of my favorite childhood books, Edith does something naughty, is disciplined, yet ultimately loved and forgiven. Tongue-in-Cheek Parental Discretion advised: Edith is disciplined via spanking, shown quite graphically with a posed bear’s hand raised over a bent-over doll’s bottom. It’s a photo that I haven’t forgotten since I saw it the first time.

4) The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set by Laura Ingalls Wilder: I do not ever get bored reading these books, even aloud and to very small children. This is the perfect introduction to chapter books, both for reading aloud and for beginning readers. The story is timeless, and boy, did I ever sometimes wish that I was Laura, living in the cabin in the Big Woods.

5) Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco: This was maybe my most difficult choice because I just love everything this woman has ever written. This is the most oft-read one in our home however. The perfect book to read on days when the “boom-booms” get too loud, and my little girlies need some reassurance.

6) Yonie Wondernose by Marguerite de Angeli: Yet another naughty child story that I loved from my childhood. The Pennsylvania Dutch aspect was important as part of my own heritage, and it’s always cool to see something that you recognize in print and illustrations. This is a beautifully written and illustrated story – a true classic.

7) Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: We read a lot of Margaret Wise Brown in this house, but Goodnight Moon is quite deservedly the favorite. I can recite it, which is helpful when little fingers turn pages too quickly. The soothing, soft lilt of the phrasing is perfect for bedtime stories.

8) A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza: This is a new favorite, perfect for our little family. I consider this to be the better version of Are You My Mother?. In that story, the little bird looks around at everyone who doesn’t look like him until he finds his mother, who looks like him. In this story, Choco realizes that a mama doesn’t have to look like him, and when he finally goes home at the end, the page where the Mama Bear hugs all of her children – a bird, a hippo, an alligator, and a pig – oh, man, that page gets me every time.

9) The Little House by Virginia Burton: This might be my favorite storybook of all time. The passage of time, the passage of city to country – it’s just so well-done. I look forward to turning every page to find out what’s changed.

10) The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones: As I wrote recently, this is a new addition to our home, but there is no bible storybook that we enjoy reading from more. It is the prefect addition to our bookshelf.


And it’s your turn! What are your favorite books for littles?

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