Monday, June 8, 2009
Take a Look at a Good Book
I few days ago I had a couple of hours to spare. That's a rare thing for me, so I took advantage of the situation and headed straight to Barnes and Noble. I meandered around the shelves for awhile, but wasn't desperate since I have a stack of 8 books on my dresser just waiting for me - a truly delicious state of being by the way.
After 10 minutes or so I headed to my ultimate destination and that, of course, was the children's section. I love children's books and have a rather admirable collection of well over 100 of my favorites. For several years, at Grossmont College, I taught a Language and Literature class and cultivated my love of children's books into a healthy obsession. Whenever I travel I bring two things home - one is a Christmas ornament and the other is a children's book. Every Christmas since the kids were very young I have selected and read a Christmas book to the family on Christmas Eve. It's one of our favorite traditions. Now that the kids are grown, I have had fewer opportunities to research new favorites. That was, of course, before Bailey was born. Now I have every excuse to return to my favorite obsession. That's how I ended up spending an hour reading children's books at Barnes and Noble.
There are good children's books and not so good. One thing I've learned, however, is that what I consider wonderful is not always in sync with kids. For example, Kelly loved Make Way for Ducklings. I found the illustrations boring and the story uneventful. Four-year-old Kelly would spend hours looking at the pictures and worrying about the baby ducks crossing the street. I left Barnes and Noble with only one book - one that I've loved for years. It's called The Carrot Seed. It's simple, but the story is so sweet. I was anxious to bring it home to Bailey and was thrilled when she signed "more" after the first reading - and after the second and third. She loves the book and enthusiastically shakes her head "no" when the parents say, "I'm afraid it won't come up." Since my children are not readers I sincerely hope that Bailey will grow to share my love of books. The signs are looking good.
I know you didn't ask, but I'd like to share some of my favorites with you. These are all for young children and are considered picture books. I'll have to come up with another list for older children.
1. The Napping House- my favorite picture book - or anything by Don and Audrey Wood
2. Good Night Moon
3. Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom
4. There's a Nightmare in my Closet
5. For slightly older children anything by Patricia Polacco
6. An authentic book of nursery rhymes
7. Any Spot book - for infants and toddlers
8. Caps for Sale
9. Any Corduroy or Curious George book
10. Any Elephant and Piggie book - I just discovered these and love them!
11. Amazing Grace
12. That Rain, That Sky - just because I love storms
13. Where the Wild Things Are
14. Tikki-Tikki Tembo
15. Are You My Mother?
17. Strega Nona
18. The Little Engine that Could
19. Rainbow Fish
20. Stone Soup
21. The Carrot Seed
22. The Paper Bag Princess - a must for young girls!
25. Any Fancy Nancy book - for girls
26. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ...or a Pig a Pancake, etc.
28. The Little House
29. Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
30. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Actually, it's an impossible list to make. I haven't even touched on my favorites. I recommend an hour or two alone in a bookstore to discover your favorites. By the way, I left off Dr. Seuss, though I really like some of his books. And, you won't see Disney books on my list even though I think they have a place.
If you haven't read any of these, give them a shot. You won't be disappointed. And, I'd love to hear about your favorites.