Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beverly's Favorite Mainstream Children's Picture Books

Every week at the library we say goodbye to books that we've read over and over. These are a few (of many) that we love; ones that we really couldn't say goodbye to, and had to purchase!

If you have a preschooler, Good Thing You're Not An Octopus, by Julie Markes and illustrated by Maggie Smith, is bound to be a hit. A little boy who doesn't like to get dressed in the morning, brush his teeth, sit in his car seat, or do other daily tasks, finds out he really doesn't have it that bad! My toddler fell in love with the fun text and pictures. She can recite this entire book by heart, and I love reading it to her as well. "You don't like to get dressed in the morning? Good thing you're not an octopus! If you were an octopus you'd have eight legs to put in your pants," begins the book. By the end of the tale, the boy is relieved that he doesn't have two hundred teeth to brush like a shark or that he only has to nap for the afternoon and not the entire winter like a bear. Your child will be inclined to agree with the author at the end of the book: "... it's a good thing you're you. Whew!" (Ages 4-8; HarperCollins, 2006; ISBN: 0064435865; Hardcover, $6.99)

Another favorite in our house is a reminder of my childhood. I Can Fly ,by Ruth Krauss, and illustrated by Mary Blair, is truly a classic! The golden book edition is abridged, so to get the full delight of this book, you'll have to find it in library binding. The illustrations are precious. The text is so easy for young ones to memorize and even act out! "A bird can fly, so can I ... I can squirm like a worm ... Crunch crunch crunch, I'm a goat out to lunch," are several examples. The text can be sung, and the tune is written out in the beginning of the book. The book ends with some nonsense words: "Gubble gubble gubble, I'm a mubble in a pubble. I can play I'm anything that's anything. That's MY way." (Ages 4-8; Golden Books, 1979; ISBN: 0307105482; hardcover, $2.99)

That Special Little Baby was such a favorite and adored library find, that we surprised our daughter with it as a Christmas gift. Written by Jane Ann Peddicord, and illustrated by Meilo So, the book features a baby who "grew, and grew, and grew," until she became a big girl who could do big kid things.
"There was a special baby, very soft and very new, who cried and sighed and snuggled, and was loved the whole day through. That baby could not walk or talk, or even count to two, still somehow she discovered tiny wonders she could do." The book follows this special baby as she learns to take in the world, play with big kid toys, feed herself, go swimming with her Daddy, run and play with her dog, go potty by herself, and learn to draw and color. At the end of each new thing she discovers, your child will enjoy saying with you, "and grew, and grew, and grew!" The ending is so precious that sometimes you might read it with a lump in your throat: "You know that special baby, who was loved the whole day through, the one who cooed and peekabooed and splashed and stretched and grew? One day she cuddled close to read, the way you like to do, and when she turned the final page, she said ... 'I love you, too!'" (Ages 4-8, Harcourt Children's Books, 2007; ISBN: 0152054308; hardcover, $12.48)

The Little Bear Treasury by Else Holmelund Minarik,and illustrated by Maurice Sendak is a compilation of Little Bear, Little Bear's Friend, and Little Bear's Visit. The reason I like these stories is because they are a rare dose of old fashioned, wholesome, fun. Little Bear is a sweetheart of a bear cub who has a wonderful relationship with Father and Mother Bear as well as his Grandfather and Grandmother. He has many adventures with his animal friends: Duck, Owl, Cat, Hen, and his human friend, Emily. These stories foster imaginative play, kindness, compassion and fun. This is an I Can Read Book, so it is great for reading aloud or as an Early Reader. Just a note: there is a story about a goblin in the book, but he is portrayed as an imaginative and friendly character. The illustrations are simple and perfectly suited to the stories. Little Bear will become like a friend to your child because the stories are so easy for a child to understand and enter into.
(Ages 4-8; HarperCollins Publishers, 2003; ISBN: 0060273984; hardcover, $12.44)


Kristina said...

Beverly, the Little Bear books are a huge hit in this household, too.

Tanya said...

I'll have to find that Octopus book! Sounds like something my kids would like -- kind of like "I Love You, Stinky Face" which is an absolute favorite around here.