Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our Top Ten Favorite Children's Books

Top Ten Favorite Books For Little People

Ultra-violet catastrophe!: Or, The unexpected walk with Great-Uncle Magnus Pringle
Besides having one of the best book names EVER, this was an essential read for me as a little person. The heroine has crazy messy hair, climbs trees and skins her knees, doesn't fit in, and finds a completely heartbreakingly sweet messy adventure with her Great Uncle Magnus Pringle, who also doesn't fit in.

The Jolly Pocket Postman (The Jolly Postman)
This was one of Dakota's favorite books as a little boy, read to him so repeatedly it's unfortunately fallen apart a bit. I'm not sure why the price on Amazon is so high- can the book be valued this much? Maybe we bought a book that became rare and classic without knowing it? We did buy the original in 1996 when Dakota was just two. It's a charming story with tiny envelopes containing even tinier letters and lists on every page that follow the story of this little postman on his adventure.

Good Night, Fairies
The story is told in a rhythm that soothes and feels like hot chocolate and fireplaces and trusted loved ones and happy days, and the illustrations are absolute heaven if you love detailed drawings and fairies. One of MY favorites.

Eloise (Eloise Series)
I am Eloise. I am six.
" One of the most entertaining, charming characters in children's literature, drawn from the same lines as the great Pippi herself; Eloise is smart, sassy, awkward and interested in everything. The illustrations are absolute heaven. My favorite is when her shirts are too little and ride up on her belly, still round with fat from her almost-grown-out-of baby years.

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings
A must have for every child. Shel Silverstein understood children in a profound way, and every poem is directed to their mysterious world, where magic is real, sadness is as common as happiness, and grown ups think babysitters
'sit upon the baby' and there is a creature that lives in your nose that will bite your finger if you pick your buggers. The illustrations, simple line drawings, are absolutely brimming with wit and close observation. I have read this since my childhood and never stop loving and quoting it.

The Relatives Came
Lola loves this book!! A fairly new book to our family, bought two years ago and loved and well read since. I'm happy when Lola picks this to read to her, because it captures my attention as well as hers. A family in a mountain home welcomes a huge carload of their relatives, and a lot of really cute hugging, eating and sleeping goes on until the relatives leave. The illustrations get to the heart and make us smile- my favorite is the one with family piled up all over the house in ridiculous positions, snoring away.

Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the River
I loved this as a child and now my children love it too. Something in this story of Scruffy- the little tugboat who makes his way from the tub to the wide wide world, eventually through the big dark boots of men at work, the chopping waters and slapping of boats- something about it captures the feeling of childhood looking onto adulthood: the wide wonder, the innocence, the eventual landing into the arms of love. When I read this to my children there is a hush that falls onto them.

Miss Rumphius
Oh. This book is a rare gem, a wise and beautiful story that never fails to bring tears to my eyes as I read it. I won't give too much away, but Miss Rumphius is the story of a girl growing into a young woman, an adult and then an old lady, and more so, it's about intellectual curiousity and wondering at the natural world, perseverance in the face of suffering, about finding beauty, meaning and love and giving it back to the world, told in the most gentle way possible for young hearts. Gorgeous. Lola loves this one, too.

My Pony
A little girl longs for a pony, falls asleep and rides through lands on her pony, Silver, until she wakes up. But her pony will always be waiting. It's that simple. As a little girl who had a Pony Fund to save for my future horse, the last image in this book, one of a silver horse head gazing through the little girl's window with the words ' He will be waiting. Always. ' made me choke up the first time I read it so that Lola said " What's wrong, Mommy? "
Nothing, I could have easily replied, this is just the power of a good book.

Buford the Little Bighorn
Bill Peet is a genius. His children's books have a special place in my heart, none more so than Buford the Bighorn, my sister Lura's favorite childhood book. Little Buford can't climb around the rocks like all the other bighorns, because his horns are a little TOO big. This tenderly told and illustrated story brims with compassion and depth. All of Bill Peet's books are to be highly recommended.

TBG said...

My favorite children's book growing up was The Seven Silly Eaters, I would check it out if I were you!

Rebecca said...

I'll have to see if the library has them!

Ms. Moon said...

I was just straightening up my kid books and came across The Jolly Postman and The Relatives Came To Visit and thought about how much I am going to love rereading these with Owen.

Marion said...

OMG, "Ultraviolet Catastrophe" has been a fav in our family for over 30 years! I read it to my girls and I've read it to their kids. When we'd get to the page where they take off their socks to cross the stream, my girls would say, "Yock off, Mommy, yock off!!" and I'd have to take their socks off, too. I get all teary just thinking about it.

My granddaughter, Mary Mace, LOVES the "Fancy Nancy" series by Jane O'Connor. They are amazingly colorful and great reading, too. Mary is in first grade and just tested at 3rd grade reading level. I give "Fancy Nancy" some of the credit. Her little brother, Warner, loves the "Llama, Llama" series by Anna Dewdney. His favorite is, "Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama". LOL!

Great, informative post, Maggie May. Reading to children (and nurturing a love of reading in them) is the greatest gift you can give them.


Ellen said...

You and I share many favorites in childrens books. I have saved most all my kids books and they are on bookshelves where they can still be read....I find them calming even for an adult.

98126res said...

fabulous... thank you!

Tara At The Sideshow said...

I'm going to buy all of these. Where The Sidewalk Ends is the only one I already have, I can't believe it! But I do have boys. But Charlie loved Pippi Longstocking when I made him read it with me the other day, so I think I can sell him. A good story is just a good story.

Anna said...

Le gasp! I thought I was the only child who loved The Jolly Postman!

Maggie May said...

TGB I will!

Marion we also love Fancy Nancy :) i say 'that's fancy' a lot!

Tara your boys will love the tugboat and the relatives came all the same...and the fairy book is about a little boy who travels to dreamland...

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

Always searching for new books, and of course, I take your recommendations at the highest value! Thank you.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, we love, love, love The Relatives Came to Visit. And Arnie the Doughnut was another favorite that comes to mind right now. Even Henry, aged twelve, sometimes piles up those old picture books and reads them, one after the other!

Have fun reading those again and again to your little Ever!

Caroline said...

This is a gold mine you are providing us with. It's so hard to sift through the crummy vs. really great children's books these days at the library--so this is great.
A couple of these we've read and have (The Relatives Came is one we really like as well) but the rest would be new to us. I can't wait to try and find them. Very curious about Ultra Violet and The Jolly Postman! Excellent. Thank you.

Annie said...

Hi Maggie,
You've listed a few books I'm not familiar with, and I will definitely check them out (literally, from my library!). Based on your descriptions, I especially want to read Scuffy the Tugboat and Miss Rumphius (Miss Rumphius is a classic, but I've never actually read it). I love these books from your list: Goodnight, Fairies and Susan Jeffer's My Pony. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

Annie said...

Hi Maggie,

A hardcover of the first Jolly Postman book, called The Jolly Postman, is 12 dollars and change through Amazon:

Apparently, the Jolly Pocket Postman was a sequel, and I'm presuming the high price is because it is out of print. The original book, the Jolly Postman, is definitely considered to be a children's book classic, and it also involves letters in pockets, and characters from children's books.

* said...

Traction Man is Here, by Mini Grey. You Must Read It (now, if possible!). And there's a sequel to it. In fact, all of Grey's books are divine.

Also: "Snip Snap, what's that?" (a story best read aloud) - storytime kids @ the library love it!

Tanya Ward Goodman said...

I love, love Miss Rumphius, but can almost never make it all the way through with out choking up. There are lupines growing by our freeway exit and it's almost enough to do me in. Another all time favorite is "Amos and Boris" by Louis Steig. Possibly the best kids book in the world.

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