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13 July 2008 @ 03:19 pm
Favorite Children's Books  
A few of my favorite children's books are behind the cut. 
in no particular order (and probably leaving out some important ones):
  • The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Uncle Henry's Dinner Guests by Benedicte Froissart & Pierre Pratt
  • The Indoor Noisy Book, and The Winter Noisy Book both by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
  • Tico and the Golden WIngs by Leo Lionni
  • Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
  • The Forbidden Door, and The Weaving of a Dream both by Marilee Heyer
  • Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper
  • The Colored Fairy Tale books by Lang/Ford
  • The Carl books by Alexandra Day
  • The Little Princess, and The Secret Garden both by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Many Dr. Seuss stories - don't have any of them, though.

I like the Noisy books for their illustrations: the solid-block colors vibrated against each other and leap out of the page at me when I was three; also, I can still hear my father's voice reading them to me (he died when I was four).  I don't suppose they'd really stand the test of time, were it not for my personal history with them.  Tico has a similar visual history for me, but probably showed up later in my childhood.

Anything by Maurice Sendak has got to be good.

Uncle Henry's Dinner Guests is hilarious.  You should read it if you haven't.

Marilee Heyer's illustrations are magnificent.

Ok, so Zel is a pretty weird book.  But I loved it for the 'punch line' - which I didn't get until I'd read the whole thing.

But, you know, I think my kid's book collection is a little bit thin, and I know that there are many, many more out there that should really be included, whether they're classics, really excellent new stories, marvelously illustrated works of art, or whatever. 

So.  What are your favorites, and why do you like them?
Elissa: Ashokanelissaann on July 13th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
Lloyd Alexander's "Prydain Chronicles" - great heroine, who keeps rescuing the hero

"Half Magic" (and others in the series) by Edgar Eager - normal kids keep running into magic of various sorts
betonicabetonica on July 16th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
I think I started reading Lloyd Alexander's series when I was in my 20s, and didn't get very far. Should I try again? Your brief comment makes them sound better than I remember.

Now that I think about it, back then I was looking for a more classic (tedious, perhaps) hero; I'd probably like them better now.

"Half Magic" sounds great. I'm on a magic-theme kick at the moment.

A Sterr: Divine Brosedasbrose on July 13th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I'm re-reading the Dark is Rising sequence now (to get the bad taste of the movie out of my mouth). It's still good.

When I was very young, I was quite fond of a collection of books called "Frog and Toad" which was about, well, a frog and a toad. It really exemplifies that simple wholesome essence of children's books - fun and exciting, while modeling basic virtues (like how to be a good friend) without necessarily being pedantic. I thought they were great. Apparently, I wasn't the only one: of the 4 books, one has a Caldecott Medal and another has a Newbery Honor.

When I was slightly older, there were three other books (series, actually) that come to mind: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Newbery Medal, and the first of a quintet), and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (also a Newbery Medal, and paired with a prequel, The Blue Sword, which has a Newbery Honor). Last, there was The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, an amazing series based on pre-Christian Welsh mythology. I've often heard all of these described as coming of age stories, and I remember being entranced with them in mid to late grade school. Much like The Dark is Rising, they all play strongly to that sense or desire of becoming more than you are, and of being something special that's so important in pre-teens. At any rate, they are all amazing books for slightly older children.

One last note: I used to demand chicken soup with rice from my mother because of that book. In fact, I'm going to go get some right now. I miss that book.
Selkiselki on July 16th, 2008 07:38 am (UTC)
Yay, Frog and Toad.

The Enormous Egg, by Butterworth. A boy and his dinosaur.

Encyclopedia Brown. Short detective fiction, smart kid.

Roger and the Devil. Boy in French artist's colony v. the Devil, who's come to town to collect some souls. But this is *Roger*'s town!

Toys Go Out. I loved the laundry monster in the basement, and the song it sings to the buffalo. Published only a couple/few years ago.

All of theabove hve charming illustrations.

Gray Magic a.k.a. Steel Magic, which I had not realized until just now was written by Andre Norton. Fantasy, children facing their fears.

Yay, The Secret Garden.

I read a lot of The Happy Hollisters growing up (more detective kids).

betonicabetonica on July 16th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
Forgot about Encyclopedia Brown. I'll have to look for most of those. Toys Go Out sounds great. Gray Magic sounds promising, too. Thanks!
betonicabetonica on July 16th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder of Madeleine L'Engle; I'd forgotten that I had some of her books at the top of my list when I was a teen. I'll look in to the other ones you mention, which I haven't seen (except for Alexander, briefly); Frog and Toad would be a good addition for the younger crowd, I expect.

Thanks for the tip on the movie - one more I don't have to go see, saving room for the good stuff.

I hope the chicken soup with rice was good. I need to memorize that book. (There are some things in life that just must be done.)

virgino_orsino: thor's hammervirgino_orsino on July 14th, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales is my favorite book ever. Really. I love the illustrations, just how ridiculous and dorky the retellings of the tales are, and how easily it lends itself to dramatic readings of it. :)

Other books: A Story for Bear (delightful book about a bear who discovers he loves being read to by a human)
Diary of a Wombat (it is what is says it is. It is just funny and the wombat is terribly cute.)

The Three Questions and Zen Shorts, both by Jon Muth
Both are beautiful illustrations of Zen thought that are not preachy or trite. I cry every time I read The Three Questions.

Susan Cooper and Madeleine L'Engle are also prominent in my favorites, though not till I was an adult.
betonicabetonica on July 16th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the pointers. The Stinky Cheese Man sounds terrific! I must check them all out.
(Anonymous) on July 20th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Fav Children's Books
Enid Blyton for me :) I see work by acclaimed children's books illustrator Helen Oxenbury is appearing in Bayard's Storybox series for September StoryBoxBooks (http://www.Storyboxbooks.com) They also have some great ideas for a rainy day! http://www.storyboxbooks.com/potatoprinting.php (http://www.storyboxbooks.com/potatoprinting.php)
http://www.adventureboxbooks.com/macaroni-picture-frames.php (http://www.adventureboxbooks.com/macaroni-picture-frames.php)
http://www.discoveryboxbooks.com/skittles.php (http://www.discoveryboxbooks.com/skittles.php)
Suegorillapotter on July 25th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Hi! nice to find you on here too.

I love picture books and geeking out about them. I've got a "picture books" tag on my LibraryThing:


By no means an exhaustive list, but it's got a lot of my favorites.