November 21, 2008

Illustrated Children's Books I Love Part II

A reader named Molly asked for "non-obvious" picture book buying suggestions for her nephew who will be turning 3 soon. I posted a list of great children's books about a year ago. Non obvious? Dunno. All are still in heavy rotation here. Here are a few more:

The Charles Addams Mother Goose - The classic Mother Goose rhymes told Addams style. My son loves this book and is terrified by it (in the best way possible).
Wonder Bear- Tao Nyeu - This book is a wordless visual delight.
Life Story - Virginia Lee Burton - Teach your 3 year olds about deep time, evolution, and the history of the world. You'll be amazed at how much they pick up from this one.
The Rooster Crows -Petersham - This is a book of classic American rhymes and songs. The rhymes seem archaic, but kids respond as if they've heard them forever.
The Whispering Rabbit - Margaret Wise Brown (Weekly Reader editions) - The editions of this book illustrated by Garth Williams are particularly super, beware of later editions which have been both edited and illustrated by some less talented artist.
When You Were Small - Sara O'Leary - You know you've stumbled on a good new book, when after the first read, your kid goes silent for a second and then shouts, "Again!"
Tim All Alone - Edward Ardizzone (series) - This series along with Tin Tin made me want to be an explorer.
Into the Forest - Anthony Browne - Kind of creepy/great. Not for everyone but my kids love it.
D'aulaires Book of Trolls - Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire - Do you love trolls? We love trolls.
The Two Cars - Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire - I could link to all the d'Aulaire books, but I hilight this one because it's often overlooked. It's a tortoise and hare story told with cars.
The Three Robbers - Tomi Ungerer - Maybe my son's favorite book right now. It was a favorite of mine too.
Sylvester and The Magic Pebble - William Steig - Another favorite. We heart Steig.
Go Away Big Green Monster -Ed Emberly - This is a book Raul Andres reads at school. It's cleverly put together and you'll have fun shouting back at the book.
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge - Swift and Ward - This is one of those classic Mike Mulligan/Little Toot type books from the 40's with knockout illustrations.
Katy and the Big Snow - Virginia Lee Burton - Having grown up in a place where snow was rare, this book always seemed exotic to me. As an adult I appreciate it as a tour deforce in the use of negative space for illustration.

I'll add these to my advice list from the previous post:

6. Don't buy junk books - novelizations of children's films, books about Disney or Pixar characters ect...

7. Don't underestimate your kid. If you read books to them regularly, even books that might seem a little advanced for them, they will absorb them like little sponges. In a few months you'll be shocked when they start reading the books back to you from memory.

posted at 02:43 AM by raul

Filed under: on kids

TAGS: advice (4) children's books (12) suggestions (2)


11/21/08 07:26 AM

sylvester and the magic pebble! wow, i had completely forgotten about that book. it was a favorite of mine. i think i'll buy it on amazon- thanks!

11/21/08 10:52 AM

Hi Raul,

This is a great list. I should work on mine one of these days. We don't have a lot of overlap, but any Virginia Lee Burton would definitely be on my list, too...You've got good taste and obviously have a lot of great experience reading aloud to kids.

11/21/08 11:01 AM

I would like to see a list of the books that you consider to be essential (the obvious ones!). I grew up in Japan and know a few of the great American books like Where the Wild Things Are and of course have looked at many 'great books lists', but we had a different children's book canon in Kyoto. Many books from your last list have become favorites. I trust your taste.

11/21/08 01:48 PM

Do you recommend movies for kids or are you one of those no flix for my kids people?

11/23/08 08:48 PM

Hey, thanks for the mention of the book.
Julie Morstad and I now have a second one called Where You Came From - just out. And "again!" is just what we like to hear.
Take care.

12/01/08 10:44 PM

Thanks for commenting Sara. I've been collecting children's books since I was old enough to differentiate collecting books from simply owning them and am a pretty hard man to please re new books, but yours struck me as an instant classic. My son's reaction showed me he felt the same way. Looking forward to receiving the new one...

12/01/08 10:48 PM

Great list - thanks for sharing. Tintin was pretty influential for me as well - I have good memories of my father reading his Swedish copies to me in English, and my boys get the same treatment these days. We're also been working through some of the Astrid Lindgren books but are currently in the middle of the Black Stallion. For my little girls, they're pretty attached to anything Richard Scarry...

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