Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Children's books

Alice has alerted me to this meme being hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, which is perfect for giving me an opportunity to gush...

Guys, I love kids' books. Kids' books are the best. I love any excuse to look at kids' books and have gone to Lengths to create excuses to buy them. So without further ado and not in any order:

1. Each Peach Pear Plum - there's maybe some punctuation in there - this might be the first book I really remember from childhood. It's by Janet and Allen Ahlberg, so it has adorable illustrations. The text is a little rhyme involving various fairy tale characters, and then you can search for them in the pictures. It's so cute and simple and wonderful.

2. The Jolly Postman - another Ahlberg book with cute, detailed illustrations and fairy tale characters. This one has little letters you can pull out and read, hence the subtitle: Or, Other People's Letters. Little kids will enjoy it, although it's kind of a "learning opportunity" about being gentle with books, and then when they get older they'll marvel at the level of detail and humor.

3. Flat Stanley is now, apparently, a whole media empire or something, with at least two series of early-reader books and a new set of illustrations. I can't find a picture of my old one, but I remember the pictures being black and white and pea-green. Stanley was a favorite bedtime story for Young Julie despite or perhaps because it was very long. At some point mom put her foot down and divided it up into chapters.

4. Dear Zoo - whenever I mention this one to my peers they don't seem to know what I'm talking about. Their loss: it had flaps. Flaps.

5. Flecki Hat Geburtstag - or as you Anglos might know it, Spot's Birthday Party. I spent Pre-K and Kindergarten in an international school in the Netherlands and my dad brought me this from West Germany. I don't remember the German classes we apparently had but I do remember making dad read this to me in German and English.

6. Officer Buckle and Gloria was my brother's book but I loved the pictures even though I was too old for it. If I'm remembering correctly there were lots of little details snuck in (which you might notice as a theme on this list). I could describe the Arthur books the same way.

7. The Berenstain Bears - good lord, we had so many of these. My brother and I learned (or were expected to learn) a large portion of our good behavior from the Bear family. I looked up the spelling of this on Amazon just now and spent a good ten minutes scrolling through the list: "Trouble with Money! No Girls Allowed! The Messy Room! Get in a Fight!"

8. Arty the Smarty and The Blue-Nosed Witch were two of my mom's old Weekly Reader books. She loved those books and I remember giggling when she would tell me about them, and then eventually gramma found them in the attic for me. I giggled because I thought it was goofy that mom would be so excited telling me some dumb ol' story about a fish, but you can bet if I ever have kids, I'll wear my enthusiasm on my sleeve like that. My mother, god bless her, maybe isn't the sort of bookworm I am, but we were always more enthusiastic about books than movies in my house growing up.

9. Usborne Newspaper Histories - I'm giving you a link for these because I think they're a little less well known. It's stunning how these manage to be so good on both a humor and an educational level. Again, they're the kind of thing that kids and adults can enjoy because there are all kinds of details in the writing and imagery. If I recall correctly, the Medieval Messenger and the Egyptian Echo are the funniest ones, but they're all hilarious. There are many imitators and wannabes but these are unbeatable (the "tour guide" types books in particular always fall flat for me).

10. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - Just plain fun. There are a lot of other entries in this series now, but this is the original. I think if you were to look at all the books on this list together you could piece together my present-day sense of humor.

And, just to round out this list, one book that doesn't rank at all for me: Goodnight Moon. It was not a part of my childhood and has no magic for me. Flat Stanley all the way!

1 comment:

  1. I was reading about Each Peach Pear Plum (which is AWESOME, by the way) and thinking about The Jolly Postman and then your number 2 was that! Excellent! I loved The Jolly Postman so much because of the letters (eep the excitement!) and we also had the Christmas Jolly Postman which was great too! Ah, the memories!