The Official Top Ten Books
- Where the Wild Things Are; Maurice Sendak - I do, indeed love this book. It’s fun and filled with imagination and scary/friendly monsters. What could be better?
- The Giving Tree; Shel Silverstein – I usually enjoy Silverstein but I hated this book. At first, I got all caught up in the love and generosity of the tree. In the end I am always depressed at the selfishness of a boy who grows into a selfish man and continues to take his entire life. Horrid little man. And that tree is quite the enabler!
- Good Night Moon; Margaret Wise Brown – This book will always be engrained in my heart as the favorite of my daughters. Happy memories of snuggly reading abound. Be sure you look for the little mouse on each of the pages in this delightfully illustrated book.
- Green Eggs and Ham; Dr. Seuss – I love this book! I remember getting to pick out a favorite book to represent when I was in elementary school. My mom and I carefully blew out some raw eggs (no small task) and painted them green. I’m not even sure what we used for ham, but the entire vignette was adroitly glued onto a paper plate and adorned with two ribbons that rendered it into a hat. I was so proud of that hat!!! And I still love this book!
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs; Judi and Ron Barrett – Judi wrote it and Ron illustrated it. A perfect combination of teamwork, creativity, and a love of food. Best served with a tasty dinner for a delightfully happy meal.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Eric Carle – This is one of those books that we read and didn’t care for one way or another. I know lots of people really like it (and I did try reading it a couple of extra times to see if I could figure out what I was missing). I wouldn’t say don’t read it; I’d just say don’t go out of your way to do so.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day; Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz – A great book to read to a disgruntled child if you want to make things feel better. I always thought it went better when I read it as Mommy and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day. Either way works.
- Guess How Much I Love You; Sam McBratney – “I love you up to the moon – and back.” Does it ever get any sweeter than this sweet little love story?
- Pat the Bunny; Dorothy Kunhardt – This is a fun book to explore with your child and one of my favorites. But I never could understand – why did they name the bunny Pat?
- Love You Forever; Robert Munsch – This book is very tender and illustrates the cyclical nature of parent – child love. It gets a little stalkish in places but repeats the unforgettable message, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always.” Young children love the way this books wraps them up in a message of love and caring.
That’s it for the top ten. But I thought I’d share a few more of my personal favorites with you. I’m sold on the tender, old fashioned stories in many of the older books but a lot of the new books are pretty fabulous, too.
My Personal Favorites
- Blueberries for Sal; Robert McCloskey – Okay. Let’s be honest here. Any picture book written by Robert McCloskey is a must-have book. This story is about Sal’s adventure picking blueberries with her mother in Maine. What makes it special is a baby bear is out picking blueberries with his mother on the same mountain! Your kids (and you) will adore
- Harold and the Purple Crayon; Crockett Johnson – Let Harold and his purple crayon draw you into an imaginary world of delight and fun.
- Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type; Doreen Cronin – teach your child about the power of collective bargaining with this adorable book.
- The Runaway Bunny; Margaret Wise Brown – The baby bunny comes up with a multitude of ways to run away. The mommy bunny lets him know his efforts will be futile as she will always come get him. This fabulously illustrated book is always a favorite with the kids.
- The Little House; Virginia Lee Burton – I first found this book at my pediatrician’s office. I had to work really hard not to steal it. I love this book that much! The little house is happily living in the country when urban sprawl takes over her space until she finds herself living a broken life in the city. She is saved (my stomach kept turning as I turned each page; afraid there was not going to be a happy ending). That is the magic of children’s books. And that is the way it should be.
- Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; Eileen Spinelli – An accidental Valentine delivered by the postman transforms the life of a lonely old man. This book illustrates the power of love and kindness.
- Lizzie, the Lost Toys Witch; Mabel Harmer – You will have to work to share the delights of this out-of-print book with your children. Why? Because it’s out of print of course! It is one of our most favorite books about a witch who gathers up children’s lost toys and her adventures which are complicated by a sign stealing kangaroo.
- Me First; Helen Lester – Pinkerton the pig was a pushy little pig who always had to be first. Until one day when he met the sand witch. This book is a family favorite that we read over and over. The kids liked to pair it with The Little Red Caboose; Marian Potter (a Golden Book). (See how I cheated and snuck in an extra book?)
- The Pokey Little Puppy; Janette Seabring Lowery (a Golden Book) – The puppies are always escaping the yard and going on adventures. But the pokey little puppy misses everything because he’s sooo pokey! Kids adore this book.
- The Lively Little Rabbit; Ariane (a Golden Book) – I had my mother’s copy of this book from when she was a little girl and I adored it. When my kids came along, they loved the book and wanted to read it again and again. But my mother’s copy was missing the first page! So I hunted down another copy and we kept both. It’s a story about a little rabbit who outsmarts a mean old weasel. You’ll have to look in out of print books for this little gem.
- Little Black Sambo; Helen Bannerman – Little black Sambo’s mama has made him a fine new suit of clothes and the mean tigers approach him one at a time to steal them from him. This book illustrates how this clever little boy not only gets back his clothes but gets a delicious meal of pancakes! It was once on the banned books list which I could never figure out since Little Black Sambo is the smartest and bravest little boy I know.
I’m out of control when it comes to books. These are my favorites (well, a few of them). Read a book to your child every night. You’ll never regret it. Which are you favorite picture books?