Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Five Favorites: Children's Books

Rosie loves her some books. I have more pictures than I can count of her pretending to read or being read to because that's one of her absolute favorite things. People have given her books that are...well, tedious, but I have no problem reading some of these over and over again. Generally, the following books are beautifully illustrated and the words are carefully chosen so that they flow wonderfully. I love all of them. Just pretend that I say that before every single one of them.

Disclaimer: all book links and pics are from Amazon, but I don't get diddly squat out of it other than the satisfaction of introducing someone to something awesome.

1. Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman

It took a while for Rosie to actually sit still long enough for me to read through the whole thing - it's kind of wordy - but it's awesome. It's got enough adventure and action that my nephew took it to bed with him when we gave it to his for his birthday last year - I mean, c'mon, it's got a knight fighting a dragon and getting the girl. What's not to love? Oh, and the wedding scene gave me completely unrealistic expectations for wedding dresses. Dropped waist is a mistake on me.

2. Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky

Fairy tales require a certain suspension of disbelief, and there are some serious issues that you can take with all of them (wait, the door opened and instead of running out, she stays and lets him extort her?), but this one is told and illustrated so well that you don't care. It's kind of fun, though, to go through the issues. In this case, you've got a lying dad, a jerk of a king, a kind of stupid damsel in distress, and some serious Stockholm syndrome. But if you DO decide to do that, it'll at least teach your girls what not to do, right?

3. Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett

Pretty much anything by Jan Brett is going to be a feast for the eyes. I was torn between this one and The Wild Christmas Reindeer, but went with this one for a year round favorite. It's your basic grass-is-greener tale, but the pictures (and the sheer detail and effort in each and every one of them) bump it up a notch. I actually took those books and the next one to show to my BIL, who graduated from The Kubert School, because of the illustrations.

4. The Great Redwall Feast by Brian Jacques and Christopher Denise

If you grew up reading the Redwall series like I did, this is just going to delight you. If you didn't, you might be less enchanted (who ARE all these characters, anyway?), especially since the cadence of the poems are a little wonky sometimes, but the pictures are adorable. Rosie isn't quite paying attention long enough for the whole book at a time, but she loves looking at the pictures and blabbering away about what's going on (I'm assuming. She could be saying how unrealistic is is that hedgehogs brew ales, but since she can't talk that much, I'm going with the former).

5. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

I was actually thinking that I didn't want to include any Seuss, as the entire English-speaking world knows of the good Doctor, but honestly, I have this book memorized and still enjoy reciting reading it to Rosie. Maybe I'm crazy, but if it were me, that awful bird Maisy would've stayed in her tree. I'm not nearly as much of a doormat as Horton.

Honorable Mentions:

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne and Ernest Shepard
I think most people have only seen the Disney version and not read the books, and that's a shame when you have gems like this:
"Pooh," said Rabbit kindly, "you haven't any brain."
"I know," said Pooh humbly.
Though I do wonder if British humor (humour) is still as under-appreciated as it used to be.

The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
Again with the British snark. "This is a man with a gun." In a children's book. Seriously contemplating tweeting that one if it weren't for copyright laws.

The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
And again with the Brit Lit. This isn't on the list for 2 reasons: 1) it's for older kids - it includes letters from various fairy tale characters to each other (Goldilocks writes an apology note to the Three Bears) and that just goes over young kids' heads, plus the letters themselves would either be destroyed or go missing, and 2) I don't actually have my copy here with me, so I haven't been able to enjoy it or introduce it to my own kids. It's on my ever-growing list of Things to Rescue From My Parents' House.

If you know and love all these books already, we should totally be friends. If you don't know them, check them out!

Seriously, what are you waiting for? You won't regret it!

Go see more favorites at MoxieWife!


  1. Fun! We have the Saint George book, I'm a sucker for beautiful illustrations. I hadn't heard of those two Jan Brett books yet, so I put them on my wish list. We do have her Beauty & the Beast and I love it. =) Even my boys like it.

  2. Another St. George fan here. I need to check out the Jan Brett as well. Have not seen that one. And of course we love Horton.