Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Favorite Children's Books

As I was organizing my kids' bookshelves lately, I came across all of my very favorite books from all the years of being a mom.  I am in my sixteenth year, you know! ; )

So here's my TOP TEN no particular order...

I have loved this one from the first time we got it from the library.  The illustrations are adorable and I love how it is written as if somebody is talking to the mouse.  I always ask my kids at the end if they think there REALLY is a BIG HUNGRY BEAR??  Or if the person just wanted to get some of the strawberry?  So. Cute.

 This is the only one of my recommendations that we don't own yet.  This book is just so well written.  It is more poetic--you can tell it was written with a great sense of the rhythm of words and a love of the sounds of them.  And I love how it ends with the moms out in the rain dancing with the girls.

I know this book--every single word--by heart.  It was my little boy's favorite for a long time, which meant that EVERY bedtime we read this book.  It has such wonderful illustrations (from the same artist as "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie").  This one is also just plain fun to say.  It is in rhyming poem form, so the kids can start filling in the words after a few readings.  I often read it and leave the last word of each stanza out, waiting for my kiddo to say it.  They love that part...makes them feel like they can read a little bit.

Another one by Audrey Wood.   This is written as a cumulative poem.  It adds a new stanza each page.  Another wonderful way to help kids learn to "read".  Once they become familiar with it, they can say what is going to come next.  Another really fun part of this book is that from the first illustration of the granny sleeping, every single character is somewhere in the room already.  So the kids can become "detectives" and look for the dog, cat, mouse, and flea on each and every page.  It is so fun for them as they locate each one on each page.

If I had to pick ONE ALL-TIME FAVORITE children's book, I think it would probably be this one!  It is also by Audrey Wood.  I love the illustrations, I love the words, I love the IDEA!  Especially the last page..."Put it all together, and you've got ME!"  I think I love this book as much as I do because of a spiritual connection I made one day with one of the illustrations--that I am sure has nothing to do with any intention of the illustrator. 

If you are a Christian (as I am), you might find particular meaning in this picture.  I cannot look at this picture without thinking of Christ's invitation to "take my yoke upon you...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light..."  I find it very touching to look at the little boy's face and how he is giving everything he's got...but it is clear who is shouldering the load. I said...that's totally off the topic of the book!  Read'll love it and your kids will love the exploration into the many facets of their personalities.

This is a relatively new one on our bookshelves.  I just got it a couple years ago.  Super cute story about a mouse that writes little books and puts them on the library shelves.  The librarians and kids eventually want to meet this mysterious author and instead he sets up a little mirror (where they can see themselves as the author) and staples little books out of paper and gnaws little pencils and leaves them set out so all the kids can write their very own stories.  The illustrations are vivid and bright and it is just fun!

 Wesley is a quirky, eccentric kid who has no friends and just doesn't fit in.  He decides that for his summer project he will make his own civilization.  He grows a mysterious crop that he learns to use for food, ink, clothing, insect repellant, games, and more.  And by the time he returns to school, he has "no shortage of friends".  It is a fun exploration into how a civilization can grow...he experiments with the plants fruit, stalk, leaves, and fibers.  The illustrations are brightly colored and very detailed.

There is just something about the words "Llama Drama" that I love.  This is a cute story about a little llama who is scared in bed and calls out for his mom.   My little boy loved the page where the mama llama is mad. {"Baby Llama what a tizzy!  Sometimes Mama's very busy.  Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama."}  Or maybe it's just that he recognized the furrowed eyebrows and scowl on the mama's face! ; )

This is a delightful story about a witch that decides she wants to make piggie pie, but she has "NO PIGGIES!"  It incorporates many other nursery rhymes/fairy tales that make it really fun.  Particularly, Old MacDonald's Farm and the kids really enjoy it.  She flies to a farm but all the piggies see her coming and they run into the barn and put on costumes....chickens, cows, ducks, and even Old MacDonald himself.   I must admit, it's a little morbid at the end.  ; )  When she can't catch any piggies, she invites the wolf (who's been chasing the 3 little piggies) over for lunch..."I always enjoy having a wolf for lunch."  And the last illustration shows them each imagining a sandwich made from the other.

  So, if this would bother your kids, maybe this one is not for you.  But all of my kids have thought it was a very fun book.

I think we love this one because we are a musical family.  My husband and I met in the music department at college....although he was band education and I was choral education...which makes us very different types of people/musicians.  ; )
I would never want my child to ACT like Farkle McBride, but this story is just cute.  He is a musical prodigy that can never be satisfied for long, not matter what instrument he is playing.  And in the end, he discovers (when he has to fill in for the conductor who catches cold) that his favorite sound is all the instruments playing together.  It has fun musical sounds like, "Vroom-pety Doom-pety Doom-pety Doom"  (for the trombone) and "Rootle-ee Tootle-ee Tootle-ee Too" for the flute.  

So, the next time you are at the Library...check out a couple of these and sit down to enjoy them with your kids.

And since I am ALWAYS on the lookout for a good book...what are your favorite children's books??


  1. I haven't read any of these but now I can't wait to check them out!

  2. Most of these aren't on our shelves (and I thought we had everything!). We do love Llama Llama and have ALL the series (Holiday Drama is so cute). Our Farkle McBride (that you gave us years ago) is falling apart we've read it so much. My all-time favorite is the Quiltmaker's Gift (Jeff Brumbeau) It has the most beautiful illustrations and a wonderful message! Aaron's favorites are the Skippy Jon Jones books- I'll bet Cohen would love them!