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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:10 PM

Hey, Dads! What books do / did you love reading to your kids?

When I heard a story on NPR this morning about today's Caldecott Medal announcement, I fondly recalled many happy hours reading books aloud to my kids. Some of our favorites, in no particular order:
  • Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson

  • McWhinney's Jaunt by Robert Lawson

  • Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag

  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

  • Swimmy, Pezzetino, Inch by Inch, Little Blue and Little Yellow, A Color of His Own, The Biggest House in the World, Frederick, Fish is Fish, and others by Leo Lionni

  • The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Ben's Dream, Jumanji, The Polar Express, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

  • The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop, illustrated by Kurt Wiese

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett

  • New World for Nellie by Rowland Emmett, illustrated by Ronald Searle

  • Little Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McKay

  • Madeleine and sequels by Ludwig Bemelmans

  • Babar and sequels by Jean de Brunhoff

  • Anything illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

  • Popeye by E.C. Segar

  • Krazy Kat by George Herriman (yes, that's my avatar!)

  • Mary Poppins and sequels by P.L. Travers

  • Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

  • The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater

  • Curious George and sequels by Margaret and H.A. Rey

  • The Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, and others by L. Frank Baum (also some of the Ruth Plumly Thompson sequels

  • If I Ran the Circus, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, and anything else by Dr. Suess

  • The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams

When I look at these titles as a group, I see some recurring threads: surrealism, bizarre humor, outlandish wordplay, mystery, whimsy, and adventure. Also, particularly in the Lionni books and in Ferdinand, there are themes of independence and respect that are important life lessons for children...not to mention they're wonderfully entertaining stories with beautiful illustrations!

One of the greatest joys of having young kids for me was reading aloud to them (yes, with different wacky voices for each character) and traipsing to the local library in search of new treasures. Now that my kids are grown, I envy the fathers and grandfathers (and mothers and grandmothers and sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles) who will read to their little ones tonight.

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Reply Hey, Dads! What books do / did you love reading to your kids? (Original post)
klook Jan 2013 OP
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #1
klook Jan 2013 #2
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #3
lumberjack_jeff Jan 2013 #5
lumberjack_jeff Jan 2013 #4

Response to klook (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:33 PM

1. Great choices, all.

The art for Little Nemo is simply spectacular. I've always loved that style.

All of those are/were favorites, although our kids were early readers (can't complain there) so the "reading to" stage is long gone.

Right now they're very partial to Calvin and Hobbes.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:41 PM

2. Oh hell, yes! We read a lot of C&H also.

Love Calvin's rebellious spirit and wild imagination -- definitely a good role model, up to a point!

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Response to klook (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:14 PM

3. Up to a point, indeed.

"Dad" doesn't come off so well, in those strips.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:13 PM

5. My kids made me read to them long after they could read themselves.

Hanging onto those books now in anticipation of grandkids.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:12 PM

4. "Where the wild things are", "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Green Wilma" n/t

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