swiper, stop swiping!


Okay, those without kids – prepare to avert (or roll) your eyes, but we are FRICKIN’ SICK AND TIRED of all the books currently in our oeuvre. In no particular order, here are the ones she has loved:

“Flotsam” and “The Red Book” (the cool “wordless fantasy” ones)

“How Stuff Works” and Scarry’s “Things That Go”

“Angelina Ballerina”

“Babar’s Busy Year” and “Babar and His Family”

“Chicken Soup with Rice” (Sendak)

“Olivia Starts a Band”

“Corduroy” and “A Pocket for Corduroy” (not my cup of tea, alas)

“Curious George Gets a Barium Enema”

“Knuffle Bunny”

“Dora’s Camping Trip” (open to suggestions for good Doras)

“Green Eggs,” “Cat/Hat” and the Suessian opus

“Why Mommy is a Democrat”

“Goodnight Rameses” (very sad after the events of March this year)

“Madeline” (the original)

“Big Girls Use the Potty” (Oh lord how I hate this one)

and a couple books of quick poems that she memorizes.

Anyway, you get the picture. I guess we could break it down like this – we’d like books in these genres:

– hunt-and-find books with lots of detail that AREN’T OVERWHELMING AND MESSY

– cool little stories of the “Angelina Ballerina” and Olivia vibe, containing a pretty good plot but not very long

– off-the-beaten-path books by local folks you might know

– more little poems that she can dig

– anything else that seemed to captivate your li’l ‘un.


0 thoughts on “swiper, stop swiping!

  1. CP

    can’t you make them behave, king george?
    fox on wheels (the entire fox canon for that matter)
    the sun also rises

  2. Beth

    What about Mo Willems’s pigeon books? They’re pretty funny. *I* never get tired of them, and I don’t even have kids.

  3. Cris

    I don’t have kids, but I enjoy playing the role of Uncle Cris to my grad school advisor’s two children by shopping for books. Some of my favorites:
    The Miss Spider books, by David Kirk
    I Stink, by Kate and Jim McMullen (it’s about a dump truck)
    David Gordon’s automotive spin on classic tales: The Three Little Rigs, The Ugly Truckling, and Hansel and Diesel
    The Pot that Juan Built, by Nancy Andrew-Goebel and David Diaz
    The last one I found in New Mexico, but you can order through Amazon. It’s an incredibly beautiful book with a familiar rhyme for children but text for parents also.

  4. salem's little sister

    Ben has loved the Eric Carle Brown Bear, Polar Bear and Panda Bear books since he was an infant. I like the Panda Bear book the best with the endangered and more exotic animals. Our current favorite is Where the Wild Things Are which alternately scares and fascinates Ben. He, like Lucy has memorized the book, among others, and will call me out if I try and skip a page or miss a word. He also loves My Pony which has beautiful pictures and a great ending and as a tip of the hat to his Texas side, Goodnight Cowboy.

  5. Kelly in NC

    My girls love the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor and I kinda like the Otto books (especially Otto Goes to Camp) by Todd Parr.

  6. Steph Mineart

    Eloise seems to go hand in hand with Madeleine. I always loved:
    Where the wild things are
    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
    Little golden books – the Pokey little puppy, etc.
    Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
    D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths (vital!)
    I remember having a great king arthur book that I don’t recall the title of, but it made me want to be a knight in shining armor when I grew up, because I thought they still existed in England. I was very disappointed when I figured out that was centuries ago. And that you had to be a boy.
    And I had an excellent book of standard Grimms fairy tales (the cleaned up, not frightening versions, of course.)
    One of the sets of books I really adored as a kid was “The Golden Book Encyclopedia” – we got it from the “book of the month” club, and read each volume cover to cover before the new one arrived in the mail. The illustrations and cover designs were particularly eye-catching and I’ve replaced my tattered copies recently. Waiting for our next book to arrive was like a mini Christmas, and helped fuel our love of reading.
    When we got older, I loved John Bellairs books, The Three Investigators series, The Mad Scientists Club, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Great Brain books. Many of these are sort of overlooked today in the great “cash in by emulating the Potter magic template” kids book madness going on, and are worth looking for when Lucy gets older.
    Of course, all this reading can lead to problems like this:

  7. scruggs

    ” hunt-and-find books with lots of detail that AREN’T OVERWHELMING AND MESSY”
    Our son is four, but last year my mother gave him a book from the Discover series. It is called “How Stuff Works” Is that the same one. The pages look pretty busy and it is meant for older kids, but he LOVES it. The pages have lots of neat scenes like a space shuttle, a movie theater, etc and shows all the activity that goes along with them. I found the other 3 in the series on Ebay for $6 a piece: Wild Wonders, Life Long Ago (ancient Egypt, Rome..), and People and Places. Great hunt and find books.

  8. Susan

    I have a boy (3 soon to be 4) but these are his favorites…
    1) Harold and the Purple Crayon series
    2) Any Thomas the Tank engine stories or others involving the other engines (trains are big at my house)
    3) He loves the Madeline books too! (they used to be mine)
    4) “How does a dinosaur…” series (Jane Yolen and Mark Teague)
    5) Curious George
    6) Piggy Monday by Suzanne Bloom
    7) “Chicka Chicka 123” and “chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr.
    Happy reading!

  9. cluverc

    What ever happened to ‘The Best Nest’? Next to some of the classics that have been quoted here, it used to be one of my all time favorites and might be great for someone like Lucy, who has homes in three places. It’s by P.D. Eastman and – oh wonders of wonders – can still be purchased at Amazon. Just eeking out over the 3-0 and my mother and I still enjoy referring to our home as ‘the best’..

  10. kent

    Anything by James Marshall/Harry Allard were huge with my kids.
    DR Suess!?!!! Lucy needs to learn about the drum-tummied snum and the the fluff-ruffled muffle!
    Bill Joyce books — Dinosaur Bob and A Day With Wilbur Robinson and George Shrinks.
    Chris Van Allsburg books…

  11. kelly

    Ian, I thought of you and Lucy when reading this recently to my three (22 month twins and 5 year old). For those aged 3 to 6, “Duck in the Truck” by Jez Alborough. Duck gets his truck stuck in the muck (I can’t let my father read this to the kids because he is compelled to add: “and the Duck said.. Oh Fu&k, I’m Stuck”) There’s another in the series by this author equally funny called “Captain Duck”. He also writes “Some Dogs Do” which is sweet a tale about a dog who can fly, but no one believes in him, except his parents.
    Any Robert Munch books are fun, and don’t forget the PEI classic when she is older “Lobster in my Pocket” by Deirdre Kessler.
    Wow, I just did an amazon search and there is a whole bunch of Duck books…

  12. Anne D.

    MUST GET Rosemary Wells’s Max and Ruby board books for young ‘uns. They look cute, but Wells writes the rabbit characters with an attitude, so adults love these stories too. I hung onto all of ours and am preparing to introduce the granddaughter to them now.
    Also, Wells’s three-book set “The Bunny Planet” is beyond wonderful. I even set the words to one of them (“First Tomato”) to the tune of Rock-a-Bye Baby, and sang my kids to sleep with it for years. Even now, I sing it sometimes to my teens and they smile in recognition.
    Wells has other wonderful books for pre-schoolers and early grade school kids. “Hazel’s Amazing Mother” is just one. There is a terrific little Christmas book about Morris, another rabbit.
    Lynn Munsinger’s books are great and funny, again not too treacly.
    And I gotta admit, way before it was a PBS show, my kids and I adored Marc Brown’s Arthur books.

  13. Anne D.

    Oh, and any of the books for young readers by James Marshall and his son. There is a “Fox” series and some others. They are slyly humorous, kids love the slightly subversive tone and adults love the humor.

  14. Anne D.

    Some (not all) of the Tomie dePaola picture books are marvelous, too. If you ever need to deal with the death of an older beloved relative, absolutely get his “Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs.”
    I will try to STFU now! LOL You pressed a hot button. I loved reading to my children and really value the *good* kid lit that is out there.

  15. Martha

    Here are some of my 4 year old’s favorites:
    D.B. Johnson’s: Eddie’s Kingdom (cute multi-family dwelling epic), Henry Builds a Cabin and Henry Climbs a Mountain (Thoreau tales for little ones)
    For a hunt & find book with lots of detail but not messy: Where’s Wallace? by Hilary Knight
    I’m not sure how ‘off the beaten path’ this is but it’s a book written by a friend of a friend – The Southernmost Cat by John Cech. It’s an Ernest Hemingway tale.

  16. Bozoette Mary

    In the Night Kitchen (Sendak)
    All the “Good Dog, Carl” picture books (I forget the author, unfortunately)
    Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat (a Little Golden Book — it was one of my favorites when I was a little kid, so God knows if it’s still even in print!)

  17. Andy

    Wow, where to start?
    I will second the Max and Ruby books.
    For some reason both of my kids love “A Fish Out Of Water.”
    Good Night Moon and the follow up (name escapes me).
    From my childhood – Where the Wild Things Are.

  18. cullen

    “I said a-Boom, Chicka, Boom” –ditto on that suggestion and its natural segue to rah, rah type cheers (peel yer banana). My kids also love the open-endedness of the “If you teach a kid to read, then he/she will be bright” themed books. Parents can have mucho fun with that too– “if you give Daddy a second helping of refried beans, then Mommy will need to light a match in the bathroom”, etal..
    On a personal note (maybe a pre-school year or so from now), I like “Mean Jean (the recess Queen)”. Happy reading discovery!!

  19. Lorelle

    In the Night Kitchen (It will make you wonder a little about Maurice Sendak because it is truly bizarre–but kids love it)
    Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrede
    Any of the McDuff books by Rosemary Wells
    The I Spy books are great “hunt and find” books for all ages
    Angelina on Stage is a good Angelina book

  20. noj

    here’s a demented one for ya…
    …for real, though. there are some great ones by Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers – all of the characters are real fruits or vegetables that the illustrator (Freymann) has modified to appear sort of human. ‘How Are You Peeling’ has been a staple around our place for some time.

  21. Jennifer M

    “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (anything by this team)
    “Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea” by Lisa Wheeler (again, anything by her, but especially her books that are illustrated by Ponder Goembel)
    “Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse” by Kevin Henkes (there are a bunch of books about Lily and her friends)
    Rhyming books that won’t make you want to poke your eyes out: Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein
    “Stanley” books by Linda Bailey (hilarious stories about a dog named Stanley)
    “Today I Feel Silly” by Jamie Lee Curtis
    “Mama, Do You Love Me?” by Barbara Joosse (a cute story about unconditional love set in an Inuit village)
    “Fortunately” by Remy Charlip

  22. Susan

    one more…”Is there really a human race?” by Jamie Lee Curtis. My son thinks the girl with the big hair is hilarious. Interestly he always points to the girl in the burka and asks “mommy why did she disappear?” Out of the mouths of babes….:)

  23. jje

    Yay! Thanks for blogging on this topic! :-) We read a lot of the ones you listed.
    Current faves are:
    all the Toot & Puddle books by Holly Hobbie – gorgeous illustrations and sweet messages about friendship
    356 Penguins – introducing the kiddies to math AND global warming
    The Runaway Dinner – a new take on the Gingerbread Man featuring a sausage named Melvin and peas named Paul, Peter and Percival
    Duck & Goose – cracks me up everytime
    anything Richard Scary but especially “Cars, Trucks…” and “Best Word Book Ever”
    Humphrey’s Corner (also Humphrey’s Bedtime and Humphrey’s Birthday) – more gorgeous illustrations
    I Want to Go to UNC
    How Fletcher Was Hatched – one of my faves from childhood
    A Child’s Garden of Verses by R. L. Stevenson
    Harry the Dirty Dog
    Curious George
    Runny Babbit
    Knuffle Bunny and the Pigeon books
    Dr. Suess – especially Dr. Suess’ ABCs
    Sheep in a Jeep/Sheep in a Shop
    A Bear and His Boy
    Click, Clack, Moo
    Pirates Don’t Change Diapers
    Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
    The Kissing Hand
    I also highly recommend “The Read Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease. The first part makes the case for why and how parents/caretakers should read aloud to children every day of their lives and the second part is a pretty comprehensive list of the best books out there for kids of all ages.

  24. Kelly

    The last comment reminds me of a Jamie Lee Curtis book we have that my 5 year old just got, (the drawings are sweet and its simple and real) “When I was Little: A Four Year Old’s Memoir of Her Youth”. Lucy would enjoy when she gets a touch bigger and can relate to the Big Girl in the book.
    And, its “Swiper NO Swiping!” btw…;)Hold your hand up as you say it for full effect.

  25. LFMD

    Books Lucy will enjoy now:
    Queen Latifah’s “Queen of the Scene”
    David Wiesner’s “The Three Pigs” and “Tuesday”
    Books Lucy will love in kindergarten/first grade:
    The Junie B. Jones series. Junie B. is laugh out loud funny. The three of you will love her.

  26. Neva

    LFMD – we are currently in a big Junie B Jones stage right now. I laugh as much as my 6 year old.
    Anyway, how about the Sheep in a Jeep books (and their kin). We loved all those along with any Dr. Suess books.

  27. mcf

    hey-this is fun!! i’m sure i could go “on” with suggestions, but, to add a few i hadn’t seen already… and based on my skimming of your blog as much as i can but not consistently (so forgive me if i am off the mark, here!!)
    i’d recommend “poems for little ones” as the first set of poems our little one memorized… (baby einstein/disney) i’m sure your little one will love these too…
    dr. seuss is a staple (what a genius he was!)
    we also LOVE beatrix potter — julia used to get a kick out of “reading”/reciting passages from peter rabbit. (my favorite “baby-hears-it-differently” line from this book was “STOP LEAF!!” instead of the written: “STOP THIEF!!” (this was mr. macgregor shouting at poor peter for eating up all of his “lettuces…”)
    it should be noted here that BP’s storylines can be a BIT, ahem, convoluted. but, none-the-less amusing to read at least once.

  28. Drake

    Vote #3 for Junie B. Some of the gags in there have had everyone in our family laughing out loud.
    Only caveat is that they are not a good “early reader” book (for her to read) since Junie’s grammar is (hilariously) horrible and can be confusing for those not adept at reading. More successful for you to read to her…
    We also like Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and it’s siblings. Ian was Alexander patterned after you?

  29. xuxE

    1 – the “george and martha” series by james marshall sounds right up your alley.
    2 – “no david!” by david shannon was a big hit.
    3 – the “huggly” monster series by tedd arnold (i haven’t met a tedd arnold book i didn’t like) are all time favorites with my kids, i particularly love the one where he gets stuck on the macy’s parade balloon. huggly’s pizza, also an all-time fave. oh, and the one where he gets swapped for the toy monster at the birthday party is hysterical.
    4 – “the monster at the end of this book” (original with just grover, and there is the part 2 which includes elmo. i’m still partial to the old one.)
    5 – “i saw you in the bathtub” and any book that takes well known songs and changes them into something else is totally captivating to my kids. it kind of has that “jingle bells, batman smells” and “on top of spaghetti” type appeal, but it does have some downside since it turns bedtime story time into sing-along time.
    6 – holiday theme books are a must, especially if you like to do up holidays big time like we do, so obviously “the polar express” by chris van allsburg ranks pretty high up there. also this one called “too many pumpkins” by linda white which holds a strange fascination.
    7 – straight up poems are always a huge success, and we do both the traditional ones as well modern ones. the top top top of my list has “life doesn’t frighten me” by maya angelou which is illustrated with paintings by basquiat. i have never seen a book of poetry that so spoke to my older son so personally – he read it himself one day and immediately came out and peformed it right in front of me and said the pictures were just like the way that he draws. that book is extremely special and powerful, in my opinion. i also like the dj q-bert book “turntable timmy” which comes with a cd, and “be boy buzz” by bell hooks. i’m eyeing this anthology of children’s poems edited by donald hall, and he also has a book coming out called “lucy’s christmas” which might be cool for you, you can’t go wrong with books that have your kid’s name in them.
    8 – “dogzilla” and “kat kong” by dav pilkey. and of course you could also go on to “dog breath” and “walter the farting dog”. these are great for kids but they have the kind of puns ala rocky and bullwinkle that work for adults too. dav pilkey is of course the mastermind behind captain underpants.
    9 – NOT TO BE MISSED are the books by neil gaiman with pictures by dave mckean: “the day i swapped my dad for two goldfish” and “the wolves in the walls” are two which are always in high rotation at my house, i can’t even describe how cool these are.
    10 – “a bargain for frances” by russell hoban is one of my own favorites – i loved the frances books and i hope my kids catch on, but who knows…
    11 – chinese stories are popular with my kids, like “the dragon painter” by rosie dickens, “sam and the lucky money” by karen chinn, “tikki tikki tembo” by arlene mosel, etc. actually lots of asian stories and also african stories like “why mosquitos buzz in people’s ears” by Verna Aardama are ones they pull out a lot, they usually have a strong attraction and they usually spark some discussion.
    12 – the “little bear” series by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak had a lot of appeal when my kids were a bit younger, around age 3 i think. they are very warm and cuddly stories, kind of like goodnight moon.
    13 – while we’re on bear families, how about the “bartholomew bear” series, by virginia miller? about the same speed as little bear, but a bit more lively.
    14 – “rotten ralph” by jack gantos is a fun one.
    15 – anything by beatrix potter, but i’m partial to squirrel nutkin.
    16 – for non-dora interactive stuff you can try ordering “ladybug” magazine, by the people who put out “click” magazine – it has no ads and my kids used to love it. another good one along the same lines but about nature is “animal babies”.
    17 – i almost forgot the series of “if you give a mouse a cookie”, “if you give a moose a muffin”, etc. by felicia bond. those are really great.
    18 – i think rebuses are so awesome when kids are just getting really interested in reading – there is this one we must have read a MILLION times, that we can probably still recite by heart – “inside a house that is haunted” by alyssa satin capucilli (illustrated by tedd arnold).
    19 – ok, i’m on 19, i might as well go to 20, what the hell. “harold and the purple crayon” by crockett johnson
    20 – “black and white” by david mccauley. a pre-schooler’s first introduction to non-linear storytelling!!!

  30. caveman

    Good night to the old lady whispering…hushhhhhh
    As a follow-up to prior recommendations given months ago by the esteemed xtcian parenting panel …”Everyone Poops” was very well received in our household, thank you for kicking down that dope science (or something to that effect).

  31. xuxE

    dang i forgot “swimmy” and “frederick” by leo lionni.
    and i have to share this one, then i’ll really stop
    “theodore, or the mouse who wanted to fly” by william papas. anyone know that one? what an awesome book, it’s out of print now.

  32. emma

    One of my favorite subjuects. I’m sorry I am only able to skim the comments. I will come back later for more details.
    I love the Madeline boods, Caps for Sale, Amelia Bedelia, Curious George, Little Polar Bear, Stellaluna, Jamberry. Because I like to occassionally read out loud like a pirate, How i Became a Pirate is a fun book and another good outloud book is Is Your Mama a Llama.
    Mary, Good Dog Carl is written by Alexandra Day. I loved this book, too. But I always wondered how come Social Services didn’t come after the mother who left that baby with her dog, Carl while she went out shopping.

  33. Ian

    Jesus, what a glorious cornucopia of literary riches! Can’t wait to get started on these! Please go on, if you guys have more…

  34. Rebecca

    Expanding on xuxE’s suggestion #16: Wild Animal Baby is a board book style magazine printed by the National Wildlife Federation. Perfect for 2 year olds.
    In addition to so many already mentioned, current favorite’s at our house:
    Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle
    The Happy Hedgehog by Marcus Pfister
    The Berenstain Bears series have a lot of important life lessons for kids and I think they’re okay
    Oldies but goodies:
    The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
    The Little Island by McDonald and Weisgard
    The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
    Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
    Happy reading!!

  35. Susan

    Thumbs up to the Wild Animal Baby books put out by the National Wildlife Federation…great for 2 year olds. My son still looks at these and he is almost 4. We also get the Ladybug kids magazine too and he really likes that. both great publications.

  36. LFMD

    I agree with xuxE — Leo Lionni rocks.
    “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is considered cornball by many, but that book leaves me crying buckets each time I read it. The whole Parent-Child-Circle-of-Life theme . . . it gets me every time. Especially if you’ve lost a grandparent, parent, loved one recently. Helen calls it the “book that makes Mama cry.” The book was actually very useful when my mother in law died, as far as explaining the process of living, growing, and loss.
    “I’ll love you forever / I’ll love you for always / As long as I’m living / My baby you’ll be.” Sniff. . . I gotta get a Kleenex.

  37. kjf

    here’s one from when my son was a kid back in the early 80s and i think is still around because i read that the religious right hates it. “jessie’s dream skirt” – about a little boy who wants a skirt and his mom makes him one. not published by a big publishing house so you may have to work to find it.

  38. Ian's Muslim Friend (tm)

    More More More Said the Baby by, I think, Vera B. Williams–BEST. BOOK. EVAR. The elder loved it, and now the younger brings it to me and requests it.
    The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats also fucking rules, but everything of his does. Amazing art, too.
    Runny Babbit–funny Shel Silverstein.
    We actually really love the Charlie & Lola books. They’re probably a little old, but they’re great fun to read.
    Joseph Had a Little Overcoat–AWESOME
    Tell me a Mitzi (a little older, but rocks)
    Click Clack Moo
    Close Your Eyes Little Tiger
    Make Way for Ducklings
    On the Day You were Born
    Harry, the Dirthy Dog
    Put Me in the Zoo
    Seconds to:
    Mike Mulligan
    Eric Carle (hungry caterpillar, Manuelo the playing mantis)
    The wife hates the Otto books, but that makes me love reading them loudly
    Night Kitchen
    I feel you on the potty books.
    We’re now firmly in Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Territory, which is a great place to be.
    We have more, but, seriously, you MUST buy “More More More said the baby” and the Snowy Day. Peace.

  39. Ian's Muslim Friend(tm)

    Oh, and I thought of you when designing these magnetic car ribbons:
    I’m sure you can come up with something better. I thought about something like “support imperialism” and even “Karl Rove’s Dad wore a cock ring” (true) but it seemed, er, unprofessional. the one I’m ultimately going with is, I think, “May God Forgive Us All”

  40. Lola

    Most definitely as others have suggested “Chick-chick-a-boom-boom.”
    My three year old also had a large book of 18 small books of nursery rhymes like Mary Had a Little Lamb, The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe, etc. Some of the content was a bit dated, but she loved having her “small” books and memorized every one of them.
    We’re doing the same thing with a bigger edition of Mother Goose now.

  41. Kelly

    LFMD, I sing the “Love you forever” bit from the Robert Munsch book to my babies when I put them down for the night, they request it by saying “Love Forever mama!” I learned that Mr. Munsch wrote that story as a memorial for his two still-born babies. Did you know that a school can’t book him to speak, you just invite him to come, and if he’s in the area he’ll just Show Up! No payment, little warning, just will see a school and think “I’ll go read to those kids”. Neat! here’s the link if anyone’s interested: http://www.robertmunsch.com/rmDev/classVisits/

  42. josie

    WOW! What a list. Will bookmark this page.
    “Runaway Bunny” has an element of seek and find in it.
    That’s all for now!

  43. Jackie

    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is rap for kids and as a parent wonderful when you have to approach it for the 500th time and you don’t mind.
    Where the Wild Things Are and Mickey in the Night Kitchen. They have become part of our social literacy so she’ll have to know them and they are wonderful. Plus, when she gets mad at you from now on you can say “are you wearing your wolf suit?” You can say that even when they are 19, as I do now.
    Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel. The other day my almost 11 year old told me the whole story from memory. He hasn’t been read that book in 5 years.
    Breakfast for Francis. The Francis books are wonderful. This one is my favorite.
    The Gray Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher. Wordless and a little scary but good.
    Anything by Donald and/or Audrey Wood. I love the Napping House with its rhythmic reading and its humor but Heckedy Peg is a really good modern fairy tale in which the kids and the mother outwit a witch and the pictures are glorious.
    Grandfather Twilight is a luminous, lovely book about how the moon comes up each night. My 25 year old just asked me to send her a copy of it.
    And, finally, just be glad you aren’t a lesbian. You’d have to read “Heather has Two Mommies” over and over and over. And, that is truly a hellish thing.

  44. xuxE

    oh, big up on the Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats! that is a beautiful book that lasted through the generations in our house. i think it’s one of the first mainstream children’s books that showed a child of color. great author/illustrator.
    just remembered two more GREAT picture books:
    “the ship’s cat” by richard adams – this is an old english-y narrative poem about a cat who sails with sir francis drake “for queen and country” and it has amazing illustrations. i remember one part where the cat is captured and is singing “greensleeves” in his little cell until he is rescued by the guard’s daughter. pure unabashed anglophilia in this one.
    “stupid emilien” by s.t. mendelsen. my kids love this book, it’s got some nice tricking-the-bad-guy twists and magic. another one with truly gorgeous illustrations. i’m not totally sure about the story’s history but it seems like a russian folk story.

  45. Claverack Weekender

    Great list, thanks all! Time to hit Amazon. Here’s a couple more:
    Year at Maple Hill Farm
    A Tree Is Nice
    M is for Maple Syrup
    (last one now that we’re Vermonters)

  46. egypt4

    A few current favorites of my boys, who are 2 and 4:
    Rain by Manja Stojic
    Richard Scarry’s books (A bit overwhelming, perhaps?)
    Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
    The illustrator Julia Cairns has some wonderful books set in Africa. One with great little poems is Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa.
    I also really like her book We All Went on Safari:

  47. Rebecca

    La Luce is probably old enough for Jim Weiss stories. He does CD’s for the car and they are fabulous. Pick some that are age appropriate, because some of the stories are a bit mature for her age. His voice is mesmerizing. Henry LOVES the Giant stories!
    If you really like Mr. Weiss, you can meet him at the LA Times festival of books next April. We took our kids, and they think they met a really big star. They were thrilled!

  48. Baseman

    You need to get Click Clack Moo – Cows that Type and others in that ilk. Mom turned my kids on to them and they have loved them all. Duck for President is another classic in this genre.

  49. T.J.

    Sandra Boynton’s books were fun for my wife and I to read to our kids, and my now-11-year-old particularly loved “Moo Baa La La La.” I read it so many times 9 years ago, let’s see if I can still recite it by memory (as I did many times):
    A cow says “Moo.”
    A sheep says “Baa.”
    Three singing pigs say “La la la”!
    “No, no,” you say. “That isn’t right.
    The pigs say ‘Oink’ all day and night.”
    Rhinoceroses snort and snuff,
    And little dogs go “Ruff, ruff, ruff.”
    Some other dogs go “Bow, wow, wow,”
    And cats and kittens say, “Meow.”
    “Quack” goes the duck.
    A horse says “Neigh.”
    It’s quiet now. What do you say?
    Junie B. Jones was great at first but got old real quick, by the third book or so.
    My personal favorite, but it has always made me cry since I was a kid, is Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree.”

  50. egypt4

    TJ, that’s exactly right!
    We also really like Barnyard Dance.
    Definitiely don’t dismiss the Boyton books as being too young. They are an absolute delight.

  51. ken

    Even though me and my wife are childless, I’d like to recommend a few I still remember from my youth.
    Goodnight Moon (I know someone else mentioned it but it bears repeating)
    Harold & The Purple Crayon (lots of fun)
    C D B by William Steig is tons of fun for adults and kids alike. The whole book is comprised of sentences made from single letters, ie: C D B is “See the bee” X = eggs and N Q = Thank you.
    Steig also wrote the original book Shrek upon which the movies were based.
    I still use N Q all the time and occasionally get knowing nods from people who also grew up with C D B

  52. wyatt

    My 4-year old is in the midst of a “Froggy…” phase, the Jonathan London series. “Froggy Goes to Bed”, “Froggy Goes to the Doctor”, “Froggy Learns to Swim”, “Froggy Goes to Juvie”. The county library is a real gem in Columbia SC, with a cavernous children’s collection. Our 6-year old is into “The Borrowers” series for fiction, and the DK Eye Wonder and Eye Witness collection for science/nature. Ditto to most of the above recommendations, though we liked “Big Red Barn” more than “Goodnight Moon”. Oh, and “Silly Sally” was/is huge in our house.

  53. Tamara

    I just heard another review from my 2 and 6 year old nieces, apparently the Alice in Wonderland pop-up book illustrated by J. Otto Seibold is a big hit.

  54. xuxE

    ok, i know interpretations of the messaging in children’s books can be subjective, and i’m not trying to stir up debate on colonialism in Babar, etc., etc….
    BUT there is one i would just really love to get an opinion on-
    what is UP with shel silverstein’s “giving tree” book?
    to me, it’s like he’s giving the message “and the tree was happy being a doormat, giving the boy whatever he wanted even though the boy was a totally shitty friend.”
    i like the sidwalk ends books and the missing piece books, but the giving tree totally freaks me out. what is the deal?
    it would be so great if the boy sat down on the stump in the end and got a huge splinter in his ass.

  55. cullen

    Late addition +++Marsupial Sue (John LIthgow)
    This list is ad infinitum, especially if ye add in the modicum of at least one (2, 3..) children’s books I’m sure the auteur and each of his informed followers has up his/her/their collective sleeve.
    Eyes Wide Sparkle (Lucy)
    + J.Boogey and the Whoppin’ Big Booger Burger (Tessa)
    + The Great Electric Bi-Coastal Coaster (Ian)
    Or better yet, let us start….
    Power Toots (Emily Howell)
    + Swing for the Fences/Sing for the Cheap Seats (Sam Howell)
    + Basketball for Breakfast (Kristin Howell)
    + Goo Bread and Honey (Cullen Howell)
    Kristin bakes. Sweet readin’.

  56. jje

    I’m with xuxE on “The Giving Tree.” I always come away from it pondering the message. Maybe I’m missing something.
    And maybe I’m a heartless freak, but “Love You Forever” creeps me out. My MIL gave us a copy and I tossed it in the “to be donated” bag immediately.
    I assume this is an accurate copy of the text:
    This one makes me weepy and it’s the same sort of “circle of life” concept (only it doesn’t involve any late night stalking):
    Someday by Alison McGhee

  57. Jill

    Here are a few favorites we read with our daughter who recently turned 3:
    GREAT book for daddies to read to their daughters, set in Brooklyn on the Esplanade: Didi and Daddy on the Promenade by Marilyn Singer
    Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont
    To the Beach by Linda Ashman
    Just Right by Miriam Monnier
    The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer

  58. Stephanie

    My girls were weird kiddies. Every night, they made me sing “The Philosopher’s Song,” from Monty Python. The books they made me read over and over were Tikki Tikki Tembo and Fox in Sox (tongue twisters, both of them).

  59. Emily B

    My kids love Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil and
    What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins
    Cool topic!


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