Friday, October 8, 2010

Favorite Picture Books

A few years back when I first met Kristine, she sent me a copy of this booklist (see below), which also happens to be posted in the file section of the Ambleside_Year0 Yahoo Group - a wonderful place for those of you who may have little ones who want to learn more about CM.

It didn't take us long to make our way through the AO Yr 0 booklist so we were happy to have a fresh list. Our library system lets us search and compile lists of books to borrow online - a life-saver of a resource. I'd search for the books, add them to my list, sort the list by call number, then print it out and bring it with me to the library. For a short while, there was one librarian who gave me her email and pulled the books for me, but then she said she couldn't do it anymore - probably because we were borrowing 35-50 books per visit. One or two books per child per night adds up quickly.

It would take me about an hour to find all the books on the list. Some of the libraries we went to had a kids area where the kids would flip through the piles of books and things there, others didn't and they'd trail along with me so I taught them they could look at a book so long as they kept one hand in the slot where the book came from so that they could return it to that same exact spot. If they didn't know the spot, it was better they took it out and put it on the table so it could be returned - there's nothing worse than a lost book sitting in the wrong place.

Inevitably, they always ask if we can borrow some random book they pull off the shelf. Instead of saying no, I let them each pick one and they run it by me for the okay. They know now that the books on the list are the really good ones and my 8yo combs the shelves with me pulling out old favorites.

My 2yo ended up coming home with a Hanukkah Board Book last time - that was the one she really wanted - which I didn't mind. And my 8yo picked a book by one of our favorite authors, Patricia Pollacco, titled my Two Mothers, which I approved without looking beyond the author's name and the smiling faces on the cover. The kids picked it on a night when my husband was reading their bedtime books and later he asked me if I screen their library books. The book turned out to be about a lesbian couple - two mothers and their three children, their normalcy and their neighbor's irrational hatred towards them. My husband morphed the story into one about an orphanage somehow... I don't think I would have been so quick on my feet.

so you do need to screen those library books!

This ritual we've had of heading to the library every couple of weeks, spending the 45 minutes to an hour every night cuddling up and reading them the books they pick from the stack, talking about them together as a family, saying prayers and then tucking them into bed has done more for the closeness of our family than I ever would have imagined.

Now that my first two are getting older, we don't head to the library quite as often. Now I'm searching for transition books for my 8yo daughter to read - she's gone through the Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad, Amelia Bedelia type of readers, but she's not quite up for the free reads on her own yet, but she's asking for new books to read so I'm looking into Milly Molly Mandy, Raggedy Ann and Andy (the originals, always!), Boxcar Children, Betsy Tacy - we're going to try some new authors recommended by Jan Bloom - Beverly Cleary, Robert Bulla, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Marguerite De Angeli (whose Door in the Wall we've read) and Lois Lenski (whose picture books we've read).

As I'm searching for her books, my son asks what I'm getting for him - he's just turned 7 and at the primer level, Frog and Toad is still too challenging for him, so I go back to the YR 0 list and the picture book lists for him - because he loves them. Some other favorites are St. George and the Dragon, Billy and Blaze books, and The Book of Dragons by Nesbit. He loves and enjoys having the same ones read to him over and over. He also listens in and enjoys most of my daughter's free reads - the Little House series, Hans Christian Andersen, Wonder Book, Caddie Woodlawn, Heidi, Five Children and It, Dr. Doolittle.

My 2yo on the other hand, corrects everything I read to her lately. "A zebra!" "No, that's a horse." "It's green!" "No, that's red." And then she walks away half way through the book! I wonder if I'm not cultivating the habit of inattention with her because I haven't read to her nearly as much as I did my first two at that age and am always shushing her when I read to the others.

I've been having the older ones read to her so I can do other things, but I'm beginning to see that I need to spend that time with her too. And it is such a fun time reading those books with her and seeing her face light up - I've so neglected her, poor deprived 3rd child!

So here's the list we have many fond memories of along with Kristine's notes. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as we have! I also just learned of this Year 0.5 Yahoo Group which has a great 0.5 book list in their files. You can sign up for the group without an approval process to access the file there.

Alborough, Jez, Hug (almost wordless, but lots of heart. Reunited with mommy at end is hug-worthy)

Asch, Frank, Happy Birthday Moon (& others with Bear)

Aylesworth, Jim, Old Black Fly (They love to chime in: “Shoo fly, shoo fly, shoo!”)

Bishop, Jennie, The Princess & the Kiss (for little older. Fairy tale that deals beautifully with purity)

Brett, Jan, The Mitten (All hers are wonderful. See her website too. www.janbrett.com)

Brown, Ken, Scarecrow’s Hat (Find the hat as it blows on each page)

Brown, Margaret Wise, Runaway Bunny & Goodnight Moon

Brown, Margaret Wise, Scarecrow Boy (My kids love the scarecrow boy’s faces when he tries to be scary. A real hoot!)

Burton, Virginia, Katy & the Big Snow

Burton, Virginia, The Little House

Burton, Virginia, Mike Mulligan & the Steam Shovel

Carle, Eric, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (Of course, all his books are favorites. This one holds a special dearness. Dream Snow is another favorite. They love the sweet chime on the last page.)

Carlstrom, Nancy, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? (When I point out that how the mom & dad bear show their love to Jesse, my kids cuddle closer.)

Cooney, Barbara, Miss Rumphius (How can you make the world a lovelier place?)

Crooke, Trish, So Much (Everyone wants to see the baby, dance with the baby, eat the baby, hug the baby. Very lively! The babies love this!!)

Degen, Bruce, Jamberry (fun rhyme for infants and toddlers)

Eastman, P. D., Are You My Mother? (My 2 year old’s favorite: “Do you know who I am?“ “You are my mother!”)

Ehlert, Lois, Color Zoo

Feiffer, Jules, Meanwhile (Maybe an unusual choice. My boys love this! Now, every time I read the word “meanwhile,” they both shout out, “Meanwhile!”)

Flack, Marjorie, Angus and the Ducks

Flack, Marjorie, Ask Mr. Bear (What to get mom for a present? So sweet!)

Flack, Marjorie, Story about Ping (Good for talking about accepting consequences)

Fleming, Denise, In the Tall, Tall Grass (All hers are great for youngers! Few, but wonderful, words and bright pictures)

Fleming, Denise, Lunch

Fox, Mem, Koala Lou (Instead of “Koala Lou, I do love you”, insert your child’s name. A favorite phrase here!)

Fox, Mem, Tough Boris (Even pirates cry. Touching.)

Fox, Mem, Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge (What’s a memory? Great opener for discussing aging and memory loss or before visiting a nursing home.)

Freeman, Don, Corduroy (well-loved)

Ginsburg, Mirra, Clay Boy (Sort of a Gingerbread spinoff. Fun.)

Ginsburg, Mirra, Mushroom in the Rain (The mushroom grows as it rains so more animals fit under it. Kind of like The Mitten by Brett.)

Henkes, Kevin, Owen (Know anyone who loves their blanket?)

Hest, Amy, Kiss Good Night (Nice bedtime book. “Kiss you once, kiss you twice, kiss you twice again.”)

Hoban, Russell, Bedtime for Frances (Know someone who has lots of excuses before bed?)

Hoban, Russell, Bread and Jam for Frances (Got a picky eater? All he wants is bread and jam. So that’s all he gets!)

Hobbie, Holly, Toot and Puddles (I just love the sweet characters in all the series. Best friends like Frog and Toad, George and Martha.)

Hughes, Shirley, Alfie (series) (Wonderful books for toddlers! Great enduring lessons)

Hughes, Shirley, Dogger (Teaches selfless acts of love. He loses his favorite stuffed dig. Read this!)

Hutchins, Pat, The Doorbell Rang (Funny. Plus good math skills, hospitality, sharing)

Joosse, Barbara, I Love You the Purplest (Who do you love more, Mom?)

Kasza, Keiko, A Mother for Choco (I love this author!! Sweet mother love!)

Kasza, Keiko, Don’t Laugh, Joe (Possums aren’t supposed to laugh. Joe can’t help it. Kids can’t help but laugh, too.)

Kasza, Keiko, Wolf’s Chicken Stew (Wolf makes a hundred pancakes, a hundred pound cake, just to fatten a chicken. Her chicks are so thankful for all the treats, Wolf becomes their dear friend. So Sweet! A Favorite!!)

Kent, Jack, The Caterpillar and the Polliwog (“When I grow up, I’m going to turn into something else.” Well-liked!!)

Kent, Jack, Round Robin (Round Robin is too chubby to fly south, but the others know he’ll come in time. Could be used to tackle issue of being overweight in a humorous and tolerant way. Highly requested for rereads.)

Kraus, Robert, Whose Mouse Are You? (Read it again. Read it again! A simple favorite.)

Kraus, Robert, Leo the Late Bloomer (So wonderful. We’ll all bloom at the right time for us!)

Kraus, Ruth, Hole Is to Dig (A different kind of dictionary. Fresh way of looking at words.)

Lionni, Leo, Swimmy (The fish work together to protect themselves and be who they are. Wonderful books: Fredrick and Alexander the Wind up Mouse, too.)

Lobel, Arnold, Frog and Toad (series) (Another very much loved series. Frog and Toad are must reads.)

Lucado, Max, Just in Case You Ever Wonder (Makes mom cry because we want our kids to know how much we and God love them)

Ludy, Mark, The Farmer (Patient and faithful is this hardworking farmer. Good character to model after.)

Marshall, James, George and Martha (series) (Such funny lessons on being a good friend.)

Martin, Jr., Bill, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? (preschool favorite, as are all the others , Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom)

McClerren Alice, Roxaboxen (all the possibilities of play and a cardboard box. Have imagination time with a box afterwards.)

McCloskey, Robert, Blueberries for Sal (Ker-plink, ker-plank, ker-plunk, a mix up with a girl and a baby bear separated from mom. A classic!)

McCloskey, Robert, Make Way for Ducklings (another classic that my kids recognize as not just a junkie book but a good story.)

McKissack, Pat, Flossie & the Fox (they like how the girl outwits the fox, or maybe it’s the accent!)

Murphy, Mary, How Kind! (Great toddler book showing how kindness can be spread. Like Miss Rumphius for the littler crowd. Do something kind for someone.)

Murphy, Mary, I Kissed the Baby (A favorite with the new baby. I ask the questions, they give the answers. We don’t even need the book anymore! The baby loves it too. Good board book.)

Numeroff, Laura, If You Give a Pig a Pancake (Or If You Give a Mouse a Cookie or If You Give a Moose a Muffin. They all show how one thing can lead to another. Good cause/effect lesson, plus lots of fun.)

Oakley, Graham, The Church Mice (series) (Longer, but a lovely story about a mouse and cat who live amicably in a church. Their adventures are in these delightful stories.)

Oxenbury, Helen, Tickle, Tickle (A favorite toddler author)

Potter, Beatrix The Tale of Peter Rabbit (whole collection! Wonderful vocabulary builder while enjoying delightful stories.)

Priceman, Marjorie, How to Eat an Apple Pie and See the World (Good for introduction to different countries and where food comes from. Lots to do and talk about with this one. Make a pie with the recipe!)

Provensen, Alice, Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm (The farm animals each have interesting and sometimes quirky personalities. A lovely book.)

Rathmann, Peggy, Good Night, Gorilla (Good bedtime book. Toddlers love it too. Few words, but so funny!)

Rey, H. A., Curious George and Friends (We enjoy Pretzel and Katy No-Pocket. Something about these that are so appealing.)

Rosen, Michael, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Action-packed. A favorite to add hand motions.)

Rylant, Cynthia, When I Was Young in the Mountains (She is a wonderful storyteller. Try When the Relatives Came by Rylant too. Makes me wish I grew up there. No sarcasm, just nice, wholesome family times.)

Sendak, Maurice, The Nutshell Library

Shelby, Anne, Homeplace (The changing scenery of a home over more than a century. Lovely.)

Shulevitz, Uri, The Treasure (The greatest treasures are sometimes where we least expect them. Clever. Great storyteller.)

Simmons, Jane, Daisy (series) (Tender tales about a darling duckling. Come Along Daisy is like Blueberries for Sal.)

Spier, Peter, Noah’s Ark (You could study his illustrations for a long time. Insightful as to how it may have been. Almost wordless.)

Spier, Peter, People

Steig, William Pete’s a Pizza (Laugh out loud fun! Make your kid into a pizza!)

Stoeke, Janet, Minerva Louise (So funny! Really! She is like Amelia Bedelia, always mistaking things for something else, like a flowerpot for a comfortable chair. Kids think it’s hilarious.)

Waddell, Martin, Farmer Duck (How goes the work? What a hard working duck. Reminds me a little of Little Red Hen, but the farm animals help out that little overworked duck. My toddler thought he could read after reading “‘Quack’ goes the duck” over and over.)

Waddell, Martin, Owl Babies (ooh, another well-loved, cuddle close story. You’re bound to hear “I love my mommy!”)

Waddell, Martin, Who Do You Love? (Nice bedtime book. Play the game “Who do you love and why? Don’t forget Mommy!)

Wild, Margaret, Our Granny (All grandmas are unique.)

Williams, Margaret, The Velveteen Rabbit (A classic worth sharing)

Williams, Sue, I Went Walking (Good toddler book. Repetitive “I went walking. What did you see?” I ask it on our walks. Similar to Brown Bear, Brown Bear.)

Williams, Vera, “More, More, More,” Said the Baby (Babies love this. So do their siblings!)

Wood, Audrey, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Another favorite to read over and over. Illustrations make this book!)

Wood, Audrey, The Napping House (a cumulative story like There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (another top favorite!). Good naptime story!)

Yashima, Taro, Crow Boy (Children see the unfairness and love this shy boy. I need tissues sometimes. Such a dear story. Helps appreciate differences.)

Zolotow, Charlotte, I Know a Lady (An older neighbor lady who makes a child feel special. A sweet relationship. Good stories by this author.)

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