Our Family Unit

June15th

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One of my favorite childhood memories was snuggling up with my dad and brother on the bed at night, while Dad read Tarzan books by Edgar Rice Burroughs to us.  We were older at the time, than Kade and Berlin are now, probably 10  & 8.  But I believe one of the things that made that such a fun memory is that Mom and Dad instilled in us a love of books from the time we were little.  (Another reason is that while Dad read, we would play with his relaxed calf muscle, making it swing back and forth on his leg.  He hated that!  But, boy! was it fun!)

When I had kids, I really wanted to give them that same love of books.  But I had no idea how much junk I would have to wade through to do it!  It seems like there are tons and tons of childrens’ books out there, but so few that I would actually want them to read.  Do you ever feel that way?  I don’t believe that every book has to be educational or have a moral to the story, but why should I waste money or bookshelf space or library trips on stories about bratty kids, or fluff, or just poor writing and illustrations.  Recently, I had a couple moms ask me about  my kids’ favorite books and that got me thinking about what books have stood the test of “our time”, the last 4 years.  What do we go back to night after night?

Here’s Our Top Ten!

1) First 100 Words by Roger Priddy.  We own lots of Priddy books, but this is my favorite.  It’s fantastic for Very Littles (6-12 months).  The pictures are beautiful and bright.  An excellent book for increasing vocabulary and building your baby’s confidence (ie. Point to the yellow car, Do you see the elephant, etc)
2) From Head to Toe by Eric Carle.  Carle obviously has a myriad of books, some of them I like a lot more than others.  Most of them I don’t feel like I can just read the words and leave it at that, they need more explanation, especially for little kids. (No, don’t be a grumpy ladybug and try to fight everyone)  But I love thisbook for Toddlers when they are just learning how to control their bodies.  It’s great for identifying body parts and getting the wiggles out before bedtime.
3) The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones.  This is hands down my absolute favorite children’s book that we own.  It’s only third in the list because the stories are a little long for babies less than a year old.  The illustrations in the book are just gorgeous, but the reason I truly love it is the way in which it ties the various Bible stories together using one main theme – God’s Love For Us!  It’s wonderfully done, if you don’t have this book – please, PLEASE get it.
4) Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish all by Dr. Seuss.  Like Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss has many many books.  At first, anytime I saw a Dr. Seuss book at a garage sale or book swap, I’d snatch it up.  But then I came to realize, not all Dr. Seuss books are equal (in my opinion).  These are my three favorites – super silly, lots of fun, easy to memorize.  Kade was “reading” them to us by 3, just because he enjoyed reciting them.
5) Pop Up Book of Nursery Rhymes by Matthew Reinhart.  We got this book as a baby gift when Berlin was born and Kyle has declared it is now the only baby gift we should give.  It’s filled with the classics (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The 5 Little Pigs, Humpty Dumpty) but that’s not the impressive part.  This is the most elaborate pop-up book I’ve ever seen.  The illustrations are great and the way they jump of the page in the intricate folds is truly exciting.  It’s like a lift-the-flap book on steroids!  This is one of two books that can only be read “with mom or dad” though.
6) ABC3D by Marion Bataille.  This is the other “with mom or dad” book, but another really fun 3D book, especially when your little one is beginning to recognize his letters.  Bataille creates a very clever work of art with 26 letters and 3 colors.
7) Adventures of Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik.  This precious series is lots of fun and is great for building imaginations.  Little Bear has great adventures with his mother, father and animal friends – some real and some pretend.  It’s simple style draws both Kade and Berlin in, time after time.  I picked up our book at a garage sale and it is actually a compilation of three stories: Little Bear, Father Comes Home, and A Kiss for Little Bear.
8) Jujo: The Youngest Tribesman
by Mark Ludy. This is a wonderful story about a boy who does what he knows is right, even when faced with temptations and fear. Lots of excitement with a snake, a panther and a gorilla king. Plus a little mouse hidden on every page for your child to find. I love it because it teaches lots of excellent character traits: patience, determination, obedience, courage and more.
9) What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry.  Scarry books are quickly becoming some of my all-time favorites, as well as Kade’s.  The illustrations are so detailed and fun, and so much is packed on a single page, your little guy or girl can study it for ages.  The thing I love about this particular book is the detail in explanation of everyday things.  For instance, how do we get light in our houses?  Scarry uses a fun and simple story about building a house for rabbits to talk about the wires hooked to the grid, that are threaded through the walls, then hidden behind drywall, then connected to lights and switches.  Whose going to explain a plumber’s job or mailman’s job to a 3 yr old?  Scarry.  Brilliant book that can be read over and over again.
10) Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter.  This is just a classic set of stories.  It’s excellent for introducing your child to longer stories, books with chapters and fewer pictures.  I’ve really appreciated how it’s helped Kade to listen to me reading aloud without having a page of pictures to hold his attention.  Potter’s illustrations are darling (afterall, they inspired my Easter table) but the stories are sweet, adventuresome and fun.  Not to mention that the older English is great for vocabulary.

2 Comments

  • Comment by Bree — June 16, 2012 @ 4:59 AM

    I totally agree Lucretia! I have several books which are so disappointing and some I have even resorted to hiding and then discarding when Noah has forgotten about them. We were given one such book when Beau was born – all about becoming a big brother, in which the new baby is referred to as “poo-poo-head” and is a disappointment to the big brother who really wanted a hamster.
    My boys love Eric Carle’s Head to Toe, and Dr Suess books. They really love books that rhyme. It is not always easy to choose a great new book for them (or for others) and I must say we spend a lot of time in the book store these days so I can pre-read the books we choose.
    Thanks for these suggestions, I will add them to our reading rotation.

  • Comment by Marmie — June 17, 2012 @ 8:21 PM

    I’m glad you remember the Tarzan times. Megan says that is why she always had to sit on the couch to read with dad, so she couldn’t play with his leg. :) Good reading will last a life time.

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