Friday, January 18, 2013

7 Friday Quick Takes -Favorite Picture Books

We have been on a picture book reading marathon meeting on the couch this week. Pictures books are really my first love in the literary arena. It is the whole experience of snuggling with a young one next to me as I read from the pages of a book that I love the most. I have warm memories from my own childhood. My all time favorite from childhood was Fourteen Bears. Simple story but I can still imagine the illustrations. Seeing kids' imagination inspired and their thoughts race as they look at the pictures and listen to the words is such a peaceful bonding experience. I remember asking my oldest when he was four how he knew that I love him. He said, "Because you read to me."

So, my 7 favorite authors on the couch today (who authored more than one book - 'cause how fun is that to find an author you love and there aren't more books waiting to be discovered?).
ambitious picks by 2 + 7 year old

#1. Bill Peet will improve your child's vocabulary and listening ability. The books are delightful, engagingly illustrated with warm colored pencils and usually have a story with a train, circus or zoo animals and courage, or all combined. We love them all. 

#2. Beatirx Potter, no childhood picture book experience is complete without Peter Rabbit. The sweet stories, the beautiful artwork, the life lessons....Ahh to visit Potter's world, although I did not like the movie version (it made her seem crazy). Her world is better imagined from her artwork.

#3. Milly Molly Mandy stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley. Boys and girls alike enjoy these stories. Who couldn't love Milly Molly Mandy in her pink and white stripped dress, living with Father and Mother and Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle and Aunty?
The stories are separated into small independent chapters with much packed in including its own sweet illustration. They always ask me to read one more.

#4. Russell Hoban's Francis books. Now I have loved these books since my childhood. As an adult, I realize my mother must have read Bread and Jam for Francis to me stressing the hidden meaning (I was the pickiest eater around), but it is such a delightful book. I was never insulted about my poor eating habits lesson. Francis,  a badger, who sometimes has troubles with friendships, picky eating habits and being a big sister usually learns something in the course of the story. But there are not finger pointing lessons, just enjoyable stories where you are always cheering for Francis and little Gloria and their friends. She makes up songs to deal with her day, and I have a few around here that do that too. I am also inspired by the lunches she packs.

#5. Dr Seuss, (especially the basics: The Sleep Book, Go Dog Go, One Fish Two Fish, Cat in the Hat: comforting rhythm, fun language practice, first readers, .... enough said.
I joined a book of the month club right when my eldest was born and had quite a collection to read as he grew. Not sure if they still do that, but what better item to get in the mail- a new picture book!?

#6. Kevin Henkes's stories: Lilly Purple Plastic Purse introduced us, but we also love Chester's Way, Owen, Sheila Rae the Brave and Chrysanthemum. Fun, delightful, sometimes there is a lesson. My kids enjoy these books.

#7. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. It is funny how one series will grab at one child's imagination and not another. Madeline has always been in our house, read often. But my current seven year would have me read it daily, several times a day! Her favorite doll is a Madeline, she wants a Madeline hat and rain coat in her size. Let me know if you know where to find one. 

...and this is an extra added in from my 7 year old. It is a family favorite, especially tempting to pull out at bedtime. Unfortunately, I have a "no puzzle book as bedtime read aloud" policy in effect for over 15 years. I'm such a tough mom.  
#8. Usborne Puzzle series with Puzzle Castle as the all time, multi kid favorite.

We love these books to help us imagine these worlds, these people, these time periods still exist. They will exist when we read them and imagine them, keeping them alive.  I still dream of visiting Mr. MacGreggor's garden or the little house with the thatched rood to peek in on Milly Molly Mandy...
What favorites do you have that inspired you?

Now go see more Quick Takes:

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