While I don’t think that toys are important, I do […]
While I don’t think that toys are important, I do think that books are a great thing to have a lot of. I will warn you … even if you have 4,000 children’s books to pick from, your children will inevitably have their favorites that you wind up reading over and over (and over) again. This is not a bad thing … unless the book your kid likes is one of the dumb ones. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but there are some children’s books that SUCK. It’s painful to read them because they’re so mind-numbingly stupid.
There are some that have no words—they’re just entire books of pictures. What in God’s name am I supposed to do with a book with no words? Make the story up myself? If I wanted to do that, I would write my own children’s book and make some money. This is what I’m looking for in a book: WORDS THAT ARE WRITTEN DOWN THAT I CAN READ.
And then there are the ones that make you cry. My kids love to watch me read Sammy in the Sky … but I don’t think they’re interested in the story so much as they get a kick out of it because I can’t get through it without crying. Little sickos. (They don’t know it, but I hid Sammy in the Sky when they weren’t looking. HA!)
There are gobs and gobs of children’s books available and (because I like you) I will share a few of our favorites. Of course we enjoy the old standbys (Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc.), but these are a few that we came across and now really love:
1. Peepo! by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. This one is fun to read when they’re just learning to talk because they learn to say “Peepo!” and can repeat it at the appropriate time. Plus, I think the authors are British, so they use words like cot and pushchair instead of crib and stroller … and I think we can all agree that British words are more fun.
2. Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton. Baby No. 3 is just learning to talk, and we have read this book more than a million times to her. Ask her what a pig says, and she’ll tell you: “La, la, la.” Accurate? No. Cute? Heck yes.
3. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry. This one has an important message about working together and all that happy jazz. I like it because it rhymes in a fun way.
4. Otis by Loren Long. Although it doesn’t make me cry, I do always feel sad for Otis (even though I know the farmer will see his worth in the end). I like the little calf and the message: Just because something is newer doesn’t always mean it’s better.
5. Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen. If I had to choose, this would be the one I recommend most highly on this list. The book was given to us as a gift when Baby No. 3 was born, and it is one of my absolute favorites. It talks disparagingly about geese and doesn’t gloss over how dopey sheep are. It’s informative and funny.
6. But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton. Sandra strikes again. My husband and I can both recite this book (all 25 words of it) by heart—that higher education is paying off! Anyway, the last page is the best. You’ll have to read it for yourself to find out why.
7. Olivia by Ian Falconer. There are a lot of Olivia books … but the original Olivia and Olivia Saves the Circus are the two I am recommending. I love the way these books are written. I can totally relate to the sense of humor and that’s exactly what I want when I’m reading a book to my kid.
8. Roadwork by Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock. This book is about heavy machinery, and it really appeals to my truck-loving son. It outlines the process for making a road (including eating lunch!) and it uses words like “squelch,” “spluck” and “splat.” And those are just fun to say.
So there you have it—eight children’s books that won’t make you cry or want to pull your hair out when you read them for the umpteenth time.