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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:17 PM

What books do / did you love reading to your kids?

Last edited Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:35 AM - Edit history (1)

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.

(cross-posted in the Men's Group)

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Reply What books do / did you love reading to your kids? (Original post)
klook Jan 2013 OP
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #1
klook Jan 2013 #2
gollygee Feb 2013 #11
Curmudgeoness Jan 2013 #3
klook Jan 2013 #4
cyberswede Jan 2013 #5
SheilaT Jan 2013 #6
Curmudgeoness Jan 2013 #7
SheilaT Jan 2013 #9
getting old in mke Jan 2013 #8
klook Jan 2013 #10
JitterbugPerfume Apr 2013 #12
Mz Pip Apr 2013 #13
LWolf Apr 2013 #14
klook Apr 2013 #15
Nay Apr 2013 #16

Response to klook (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:26 PM

1. My favorite: "Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:38 PM

2. Oh, yes! Another favorite.

Wonderful characters and delightful stories, vivid and beautifully written. Thanks for the reminder. And since it's in the public domain and easily available online, everybody can read it.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 09:20 AM

11. I was going to say that as well

That book is so beautiful when read aloud. I had read it to myself, but I enjoyed reading it aloud even more. The language is beautiful.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:49 PM

3. Well, you just had me on a trip down memory lane.

You got me thinking about my favorites as a child in the 50's, and all of them were from a series of books that we had. They were a book club (I have found out since you got me researching this) by Doubleday. The series was called "Best in Children's Books", and I am now sorry that I gave the set I had to my great-neices. I would love to read them again.

My favorite stories were "Little Two Eyes" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "The Magic Porridge Pot". And I still remember my sister's favorites were "Penny and the White Horse" and "The Man Who Never Washed His Dishes". (My sister still washes her dishes every single day, and I didn't learn much from the story since I have been to the point of eating out of ashtrays too!)

I had Volumes 1 to 22.

http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/html/research/re-bestindex.shtml

Thanks for sending me off on a two hour long memory trip.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:15 PM

4. Wow, that looks like a great series!

I read some of those titles in other versions, but I don't recall ever seeing these editions (although I'm old enough that we could have had them).

Very cool - thanks for the introduction to these.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:25 PM

5. My kids are 12 and 10, so I still read to them.

Some favorites from when they were younger include:

Uncle Wiggily (my mom read these to us, so I bought a bunch on eBay to read to my kiddos):



Andrew Henry's Meadow:



Diary of a Worm series:



Belinda the Ballerina series:



My 12 y.o. is a reading machine (he read all 7 Harry Potter books by himself in about 3 months when he was 8). He reads at a college level, though the subject matter he prefers is more suited to his age group (Rick Riordan's stuff, etc) - he just reads everything really fast. We started the Mysterious Benedict Society series a couple years ago, and he recently asked me if I'd read them all to him now at bedtime - sweet!



My 10 y.o. and I just finished The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (great book!), and we've started Moon Over Manifest now. She's reading The Boxcar Children series herself.




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Response to klook (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:18 PM

6. Oh, so many.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.

Katy and the Big Snow, The Little House, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel all by Virginia Lee Burton.

There was also a George and Martha series that I loved.

Roxaboxen by Barbara Cooney.http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=

The Rainbow Goblins by Ul de Rico.http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=&

Wonderful books. I got hours of pleasure myself just reading them to my children.

I also read Pinocchio out loud to my oldest. It's VERY dark. The talking cricket is nowhere near as nice and loveable as in the Disney movie. Black Beauty. It reads like an anti-slavery book, and is very, very good. Peter Pan was actually difficult to read out loud, as the language did not flow easily.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:18 PM

7. Oh "Black Beauty" was one of my favorites when I was older.

My mom didn't read that one to me, it was for when I was reading myself. I still have my copy. I re-read it recently and cried like a baby. What a great book.

I also loved "The Velveteen Rabbit", but that seems to be a more recent book, or maybe we just didn't have it when I was young.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:52 PM

9. "Velveteen Rabbit" actually came out in 1922.

I didn't discover it until some 60 years later, when my oldest was born, so no surprise you didn't have it as a child. It is somehow obscure, and doesn't seem to make it onto a lot of best books for kids lists, but it's wonderful.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:56 PM

8. The Cimorene

Dragon books by Patricia C Wrede stick in my mind in particular.

We always read lots to them, through middle school, anyway, regularly. One of them, when she moved up to Minneapolis a few years ago, had me read a section of one the night before.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 03:27 PM

10. Thanks, everyone, for the great suggestions!

I discovered several new children's authors and titles thanks to you. I look forward to checking these out.

- klook

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Response to klook (Original post)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 09:08 AM

12. I just recently gave my brand spankin, new grandson

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and the beginners set of Dr Seuss

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Response to klook (Original post)

Thu Apr 4, 2013, 07:41 PM

13. Nancy Drew

I couldn't get enough of Nancy Drew. My best friend and I played mystery games all the time. We would search the neighborhoods for abandoned houses and created elaborate stories about them. When we found a secret room under our porch we were in heaven for weeks.

This was in the 50s and the older ones that were written in the 30s & 40s were pretty good. I still pick one up occasionally from time to time. I collected all of the first edition ones from the 30s and up through the 50s. After that I outgrew them and went on to other young people's mysteries.

I did graduate on to good literature but still enjoy a good mystery/thrillers.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 09:08 AM

14. All of those on your list and more:

The Monster at the end of the Book, by Jon Stone.

Finding the Green Stone, by Alice Walker

Anything by Patricia Polacco

A Cake for Barney; I don't remember the author. It started "Barney the bear had a cake. It was a FINE cake, with 5 cherries on it."

Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

The Library by Sarah Stewart

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

These are a small number of picture books. I could make another long, long list of early novels for children.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 02:52 PM

15. Wow, good gift ideas for the wee ones in my family!

Thanks for posting these -- they're all unknown to me. I'm especially interesting in seeing a children's book by Alice Walker.

Looking forward to discovering these, with your help!

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Response to klook (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 09:27 AM

16. The Boxcar Children series. Dr Seuss' The Foot Book. The Spooky Old Tree.

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