I have a bit of a girl crush on Pamela Druckerman. If you haven’t read her book, Bringing Up Bebe and her follow-up title, Bebe Day by Day, you should. It really doesn’t matter if you have kids or not. I think her books are more important than parental how-tos; they are social commentary on the potential pitfalls current parenting techniques may have on the next generation of Americans.
There were so many books this year, I had to divide this post into three separate posts. After I publish them all, I’ll chuck them up into the Fab Kid Lit Pages you see above. We still read all the books from those lists as well, and will until he can read them to me himself.
Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever! has a special place in my heart. While I try to go for books with a real story, a message about life, Richard Scarry‘s books are more about learning by memorization. The illustrations are adorable and essentially taught our son the words for different foods from A to Z. He brought me the book every night to recite the words that matched the illustrations.
The Carrot Seed by Crockett Johnson was a gift from our nephew. He says the book taught him about self-confidence. I could see how it would since it’s a story about how everyone doubted the growth of his carrot, but he stuck with it and persevered.
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown has great illustrations of farm animals. Our son was a late talker, so to have these adorable pictures to look at over and over helped him to cement the words into his brain. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to find the butterfly on each page.
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell (the author of Wag) is essentially a Christmas book, but imparts a lovely message any time of the year. When the little kitty in the story has a hard time finding a gift for his best friend, he hunts down the gift of nothing-which turns out to be everything.
Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss is the best. It doesn’t get any better, but you have to be game. If you really let yourself get into this book you might find yourself exhausted and your little one revved up. It’s never a great idea to read it before bed. In fact, I hope no one else overheard us reading it out loud. We get a little crazy.
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper is a classic for a reason. A train and its passengers in need come across some snooty trains who won’t help them (aw), but they hang in there until a very affable and good mannered train uses all her strength to help out. She thinks she can and then she does, like the Carrot Seed, it’s a nice introduction to what can be accomplished if you believe in yourself.
We love Harold & the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson because it takes so much imagination. Everything is so easy for kids these days, so many electronic options with all the bells and whistles. It’s lovely to watch your little one’s mind light up at the idea a purple crayon can make so much happen.
I have to confess Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman always scared me. It STILL scares me, but I guess life can be scary sometimes, so why not get used to it at an early age? I enjoyed the book when the little bird asked the cow or cat or dog if he was his mama. Then he got to the scary rusted out car and noisy construction equipment and the whole thing became so dystopian. In the end, my son thinks it’s hilarious that a bird would think an airplane was his Mama-so there you go.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s a little scary, what with Mr. MacGregor making Peter’s father into a pie, but I guess that’s the lesson. Our son gets a little kick out of Peter when he’s naughty, but it’s not lost on him that Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail get the berries and cream for supper because they were good little bunnies.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf is a classic introduction to the idea, it’s ok to be different. You’re a bull, you’re supposed to want to fight, but what if you don’t? What if you want to quietly eat grass and read your book? Ferdinand will help your little one understand, it’s ok to play to our own strengths.
Our son’s Godmother passed down this Olivia book by Ian Falconer. I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. She’s a little girl pig after all, but just like Madeleine, Olivia has some very important, universal attributes. She’s a kid, sometimes stubborn, sometimes dramatic, but always an individual. There is nothing more important than to teach your child how to be an individual. Plus, she tried to make a Jackson Pollock painting in her bedroom.
More to come…