Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Favorite Things...

I’ve been writing mostly about teen books, because I read a lot of teen books. I read a lot of picture books, too, as well as some children’s books with chapters, but for some reason I don’t think to write as much about them.

Because of that, I present to you, in no particular order, a list of some of my favorite Children’s Picture Books!

  • But Excuse me, That is my Book by Lauren Child (a Charlie and Lola book) – Lola doesn’t understand that her most favorite book in the whole wide world is available to everyone, and not just for her. Charlie tries to explain to his little sister that there are many books that she may just like even more! There are several books in the Charlie and Lola series, and all are lots of fun.
  • Skippyjon Jonesby Judy Schachner (series) – The adventures of a Siamese kitten who thinks he is a Chihuahua. There are 4 in the series so far (plus a handful of board books). Sent to his room to think about being a kittenboy, Skippyjon Jones finds adventures in his closet. With his pack of Chihuahua friends (Los Chimichangos), Skippyjon defeats El Bandito, searches for ever lasting peas and more!
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – This is one of my all-time favorite books. The story of Max – a boy sent to bed without supper and ends up traveling to the land of the Wild Things, where he is made king.
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina – This classic tale is not only one of my favorites, but also my mom’s all time favorite children’s book. When a peddler falls asleep under a tree, mischievous monkeys steal the caps he is selling!
  • The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble – Another one of those classic books from my childhood. A young girl is telling her mom about a class trip to a farm that was boring…until classmate Jimmy’s pet boa constrictor sets of a hilarious chain of events.
  • Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming – I think this is my favorite book to read aloud (though The Perfect Nest is a close second). Set down in the Bayou, old Monsieur Gator is tired of eating greens and twigs, and decides to make his Maman’s excellent Gator Gumbo. A trio of critters (who love to sass the slow moving gator) taunt Monsieur Gator as they watch him make his delicious smelling gumbo. This story is a retelling of Little Red Hen.
  • The Alexander series by Judith Viorst ( Alexander, who use to be rich last Sunday, Alexander, who's not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) going to move, Alexander, and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and I'll Fix Anthony) – More classics from my childhood. Poor Alexander. He’s the youngest of three boys. In these stories, Alexander laments the troubles of being the youngest. I think my top choice of the four would be about his bad day.
  • The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend - this is a new addition to my favorite books, and one of my favorite books to read aloud. I have read this book to children from aged 2-12, and even to adults. All have enjoyed it! Jack the cat wants an omelet, so he builds a nest – complete with signs touting its perfection. In order, a hen (who speaks Spanish), a duck (French) and a goose (straight from the South/Texas) each decide that it is the perfect nest for them, and lays an egg. While the three stubborn birds all try to take over the next, Jack tries to get them to leave. Finally, he convinces them there is an even better nest the next farm over. As he drools over the idea of three meals of omelets, the eggs hatch! What is Jack going to do now?
  • Kevin Henkes Mouse books (Weekend with Wendell, Chrysanthemum, Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, etc.) – Henkes has written several books featuring these mouse characters. The first time I heard one of these books, I was taking a Children’s Lit class as an undergrad. The professor – the head of my school’s library, the wife of a children’s book author, and author of a children’s book as well – read aloud Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. What child (and adult) couldn’t empathize with Lilly’s love of her awesome purple plastic purse? Although I adore all of the Mouse books, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum are my favorite of the bunch. Chrysanthemum’s name is perfect…until she starts school and is teased by her classmates. With the help of her parents and her teacher, she realizes that her name is, as she always knew, absolutely perfect.
Now...I should compile a list of my favorite chapter books. Perhaps one day soon.

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