Earlier this week our fearless leader, Ophelia Payne, wrote an awesome article on the benefits of reading for every age group with a range of suggestions for each group. I liked the idea so much that, in a fit of enthusiasm, I volunteered to keep it going with a weekly post about the kids’ books that I like. I won’t be nearly as organized as Ms. Payne (Those words have never before been spoken in the same sentence – ed.), but hopefully I can give you some ideas for what to read with your kids, or gifts for the kids you know.
For this first installment, I had a little help. I asked my five-year-old daughter to pick out three totally awesome books to put in my article so other kids could read them with their parents. She ended up picking one that was already on my list, so there will only be five books here instead of the six I had planned. The first two are her picks, the next two are mine and the last one is from both of us.
This is a cute little book by Margaret Wise-Brown, author of the oh-so-wonderful Goodnight Moon. It is the saga of a bunny who is looking for a place to live. What I like about it is that it is charmingly illustrated, gives good opportunities for funny voices and is quick to read. It is a good choice for nights when bedtime might be running a little late and you kind of need a short story time. My daughter likes it because bunny is super-cute.
Written by Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas, this is the ultimate Daddy/daughter book. Katie and her dad have the best day ever just hanging out. I remember spending the day with my dad, doing nothing special, and it is pretty great. For the dads who don’t get as much quality time as they would like with their little girls, this book is a good way to bond.
I freakin’ love the pigeon. I want him to come live with me forever. Mo Willems is an illustrator-turned-author who has created one of the most fun picture books I have ever read. Pigeon dreams of driving a bus and tries to convince the reader to let him. “Please? I’ll give you five bucks. My cousin Herb drives a bus all the time.” The premise is as charmingly simple as the illustrations, and the kids like yelling “No!” every time pigeon tries a new tack. The best part is that there are more – Pigeon Wants a Puppy, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog. Any one of them is a great way to liven up story time.
Another interactive book, this was my son’s favorite when he was little, and now he has fun reading it to his little sister. Lovable furry old Grover hasn’t lost his touch. He is scared of meeting the monster at the end of the book, so he does everything he can to stop you from turning pages. Every kid I have ever met loves turning the page and thwarting his plans.
One of my new favorites, this is part of Victoria and Elizabeth Kahn’s Pinkalicious collection. I had seen the Pinkalicious books on the shelves for a while and dismissed them as silly girly stuff with no substance. I broke the cardinal rule, I judged the book by its cover. Then my daughter asked for Purplicious from her school book fair and I gave it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. Our hero get teased because all the cool kids like black now – “pink is for babies” – and she has to decide if she wants to give up her favorite color so that the other kids will like her. The story manages to get across the “be yourself” point without being preachy or patronizing. Not only that, the Kahns also send the message that it’s OK to be a plain-old little girl. That’s a pretty rare thing these days.