Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Top 10 Best-Loved Children's Books

This post is as much for preserving some of our family history as it is for those of you with young kids looking for some new picture books.  These books are the most well-loved and treasured books in our house.  Collectively I'm certain they've been read thousands of times.  It is my hope that in sharing them here, that you may find a few new ones to treasure as well.   

What Is Your Language? (by Debra Leventhal):  This cute book came with a cassette tape with the words of the book set to music.  We haven't had a cassette player in our house in years, but my younger kids still know the tune to the song because we (me, Spencer, and Cami) remember it so well.  This book follows the journey of a little boy who travels around the world and hears the word, "Yes" in all the different languages.  It's a quick read, but fun and educational too.  (Si, Da, Hapana, Oui...)

Officer Buckle & Gloria (by Peggy Rathmann):  This hilarious book follows the adventures of Officer Buckle and his boring safety speeches.  Boring, that is, until Gloria the dog comes along and livens things up a bit. 

Growing Frogs (by Vivian French):  This book is a cute story about a little girl and her mother who find some frog eggs in a pond and take them home to take care of them and watch them grow from tadpoles to frogs.  It's very detailed and informative, but also very appealing and fun for the kids. 

Bedhead (by Margie Palatini):  This book cracks us up.  It's all about a little boy who has a serious case of bedhead and it follows his adventures as he tries to get rid of his bad hair day.  This book is great for lively, animated storytelling. 

Are You My Mother?  (by PD Eastman):  I think this book has been one of the first "real" books that my kids have read by themselves.  The story is cute and the words simple.  Since it is a little long, we usually take turns reading every other page. 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt (by Michael Rosen):  This repetitious book is great for toddlers because it's so easy for the kids to chime in during the reading.  I think every single one of my kids has had this book completely memorized at one point.  Even still when faced with a mud puddle, my kids will yell, "Squelch, Squerch..." as we trudge through it! 

Bill and Pete (by Tomie de Paola):  { Fair warning--the last page of this book has a naked bum in it.  It's whimsically drawn and has perfect comedic effect, but I thought you should be warned.}  Having said that though, this book has taken its turn as a favorite with all 5 of my kids.  My kids sing out the alphabet has Bill learns it in crocodile school and when the "bad guy" (as he's actually referred to in the book) jumps out of the bath and runs "all the way to Cairo" with his naked bum running off into the distance, my kids (and me) laugh hysterically. 

Chrysanthemum (by Kevin Henkes):  This book is all about a little girl named Chrysanthemum who absolutely loves her name.  Too bad everyone at school thinks it's too long.  It goes through her struggle of wanting to change her name and then eventually coming back to acceptance that her name really is wonderful.  It sounds funny, but my girls, in particular, have loved this book.  It's a little on the long side for a picture book, but at one point Cami had the entire thing memorized word for word. 

Caps for Sale (by Esphyr Slobodkina):  Don't be shy when reading this classic book.  This book just calls out for calling, stomping, and finger shaking.  

Edward the Emu (by Sheena Knowles):  This silly book has some rhythm to it that makes it fun and easy to memorize.   I'm fairly certain that at any given time, I and a bunch of the kids could recite this book on demand. 

And as a bonus, here's a little glimpse into one of my favorite books when I was a young child....

Friends are Very Special People (by Lillian Tarry)--long since out of print, but still available used on Amazon.  This book is sweet and simple and has the most beautiful illustrations.  I totally and completely adore this book, even as an adult. 

It somehow survived my childhood and is still a treasured book in our home today, although none of my kids have fallen as deeply in love with it as I did. 

That's my handwriting in there....

Now, I'd love to hear what some of your favorites are.  Share, share! 


Jocelyn Christensen said...

I think I've only read four of these!~

My favorites are:

Snow Music

Snowmen at Night

(I used to read them to my first baby who was born at the beginning of winter!)

The one where they drive the bookmobile into the zoo and all the animals get into reading...It's a tribute to Dr. Seuss!

C said...

We have never met but I frequently read your blog and I have used many of your fantastic FHE lesson I'm happy I finally got the chance to give something back to you...

So here come some of my daughter's (she's four) favorite books (and some of mine...)Mostly swedish authors, but I've seen them all translated in English on Amazon.com

Mamma Moo goes down a slide by Jujja Wieslander (Picture book, about 4-6 years)

Pancakes for Findus and Findus and the Fox by Sven Nordqvist (Picture Books about 4-6 years)

The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom and Stick Man by Julia Donaldson (Picture Books)

All books about Lotta, Emil, Karlsson on the roof and Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lingren (In Sweden you can buy both picture books and books about 4-10 years)

Ronja the robber's daughter and Mio my son and The brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (for older children about 7-10, maybe a little bit older 9-11 for the brothers Lionheart)

The books about Bridget by Pija Lindenbaum. (Picture books about 3-6 years)

For toddlers the books about Sam by Barbro Lindgren and Boo and Baa by Lena and Olof Landgren.

Good Night Alfie Atkins and Very Tricky Alfie Atkins by Gunilla Bergström (Picture books, about 3-6 years)

Franny's Friends by Catarina Kruusval (Picture Book 2-5 years)

I hope you find something intresting...

Momma Nielson said...

Another great post Lara!
I read these books out loud to all of my babies and over the years the stories never got old:

My top ten:
1. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
3. Make Way for Ducklings &
4. Blueberries for Sal both by Robert McCloskey
5. Tiki Tiki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
2 by William Steig:
6. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
7. Dr. DeSoto
These next three are by Janet and Allan Ahlberg:
8. Each Peach Pear Plum
9. The Baby's Catalogue
10. Peekaboo

Mom said...

One of your favorites as a child was A Fly Went By. Also Squawk to the Moon Little Goose. I definitely agree with Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal.

Lara said...

Jocelyn, Thanks for those suggestions. I'm going to look for those at the library.

C, Thank you for the comment, the kind words, and for taking the time to share your favorites. I'd only ever heard of Pippi Longstocking before, but I'm going to look up some of those. I love discovering new treasures!

You actually reminded me of a couple I should have had on the list as well. "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Blueberries for Sal" are also very well-loved books at our house. Visiting Boston Commons a few years ago and seeing all the familiar sites in "Make Way for Ducklings" is one of my kids' favorite memories of Boston.

Lara said...

Your comment sneaked in there while I was leaving my own. First, great minds think alike. I can't believe I forgot "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Blueberries for Sal". Second, I'd kind of forgotten about " A Fly Went By..." and "Squawk to the Moon Little Goose." Now I want to check those out from the library as well!

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