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Birdy’s Book Favorites.

At least a third of my books were bloated when I was a kid, because I read them in the shower.  (Hold the book against the wall and turn the pages with one hand, and shower/soap up/rinse off with the other hand.  Then, at the end of the shower, toss the book out and quickly wash the Other Arm.)

I read while having my hair washed at the hair dresser’s.  I read in bed underneath the covers with a flashlight, and I kept an extra flashlight on my bedside table in case the batteries on the first one ran out.  (I should have just kept extra batteries.  Or maybe put a lamp on the table, for crying out loud.)  Heaps of books, dog-eared and loved, dot the timeline of my childhood.

In raising my daughter, I want for her life to include books.  Plenty of them.  And because I can’t even stand to think about diabetes even one, little bit today, I wanted to redirect and share some of the books in my daughter’s bookshelf that we currently love best:

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler:  This is the best book to read out loud, about a witch who goes for a joyride on her broom, only her hat, and her bow, and her wand go flying off and she has to find them on the ground, gaining her some random pals.  The rhyme pattern is fun and almost renders you breathless because you want to move through the words and keep your cadence from catching your giggles.  Birdy is a little bit afraid of the dragon that pops up in this book – “That dragon really wants fries, and not the witch, right?  Say right.” – but she likes to shout out “The witch tapped the broomstick and whoosh they were gone!” line every time.

Knuffle Bunny, written and illustrated by Mo Willems:  The story of a much-loved stuffed rabbit who is left behind in a Brooklyn laundromat, I love the combination of illustration and photography in this book.  I also love how the child’s tantrum is described as becoming “boneless,” as this perfectly describes the fit Birdzone threw when I told her it was time for her bath.  (“A bath! I had a bath YESTERDAY. This is unfair!” and she collapsed in a sulky heap.)  Spoiler alertwhen the bunny is found, the relief is tangible.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by (the absolute genius) Oliver Jeffers:  Best.  Book.  Ever.  A box of crayons that belongs to this kid Duncan go full-on letters-to-the-editor and start airing their grievances.  Our family favorites are the curmudgeonly Beige crayon, the wistful White crayon, and the naked Peach crayon.  This book has made us rethink our coloring options, and has also increased our child-to-crayon politeness.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by (aforementioned genius) Oliver Jeffers:  This was the first book by Jeffers that I ever discovered, about a boy who wanted to be the smartest boy in the world and discovered that, by eating the books instead of reading them, he retained their knowledge.  Only trouble was, the more he ate, the more jumbled his thoughts became.  I have been reading this one to Birdy since she was two, and for a while, I was concerned she’d be inspired to taste a book.  Thankfully, she’s smarter than me.  (I briefly licked one, and haven’t felt any smarter as a result.)

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri:  Who wouldn’t want a bunch of dragons burping up fire as a result of eating spicy tacos?  Not me, which is why this book is a useful how-to on keeping dragons up to their talons in tacos without them burning your house down.  (Chris claims to think this book is ridiculous, yet he’s read it to Birdy more than I have.)  Fun Fact:  Dragons get most of their tacos from The Taco Cave.

I hope her love for reading is just beginning, and I’m always on the hunt for more books to share with my favorite Bird.  If you have any recommendations, please share them.  And if you know Oliver Jeffers personally, please tell him we recycle more, thanks to the inspiring green crocodiles he drew.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Laura #

    Have you guys read The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch yet? Fun story and illustrations plus a great “princes saving princesses” message turned on its head. I taught 4 yr olds for six years and there are thousands of great suggestions but if I start I won’t stop!
    Ok, 3 more: Anything by Don & Audrey Wood (amazing pictures and they are semi-unknown gems); Press Here; the Llama Llama books.
    Happy reading!

    01/29/14; 9:05 am
  2. Sari #

    My friend Jill Stover writes children’s books, I give them as presents frequently and they are always a big hit, “Popsicle Pony”, “The Trail Ride”, and “Alamo Over Texas”. And she’s a T1 too!

    01/29/14; 10:13 am
  3. Ah, we’re massive Julia Donaldson fans here. Thomas’s favourite changes every couple of weeks but we’re stuck on The Snail and The Whale at the moment, which is the one I stumble most over reading aloud – too many -ail and -ale sounds! We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury is another massive favourite, and one I’m made to physically act out frequently!

    01/29/14; 11:05 am
  4. I used to read in the shower too! I thought I was the only one…

    I LOVE the crayon book. Good pick.

    I always send books to my god-daughter for Christmas. Last year I sent “Pete the Cat: I love my white shoes” by Eric Litwin and James Dean and it’s now her absolute favorite; she even went as Pete for Halloween. The book comes with a CD (or maybe a song download) which I’m told is the best part. I believe there are other books/songs also about Pete.

    This year was “Rosie Revere, Engineer” written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. I fell instantly in love with this book at the book store but I haven’t yet heard if it was a hit with the kid…

    Lastly, “The Snatchabook” by Helen and Thomas Docherty is a favorite too. It’s about a book thief.

    01/29/14; 11:50 am
  5. BettyAnn #

    In honor of Pete Seeger’s life, my kindergarteners and I getting into “Abiyoyo.” It’s the first book this year that they are Passionate about! Well, other than “David!” The version I have, has a CD of Pete singing and telling the story. It’s Fabulous!

    01/29/14; 1:29 pm
  6. John #

    My 3yo DD loves Pete the Cat (especially with the CD), and all the Oliver Dunrea “Gossie & Friends” books. And any Sandra Boynton books are picked for bedtime at least a couple times a week.

    01/29/14; 6:47 pm
  7. Yeah, we loved the rhythm of Room on the Broom, too, but we had to put it away because of the dragon. Our all time favorite is Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. Ryan knows the first few pages by heart, and so do his Mom and Dad!

    01/29/14; 8:05 pm
  8. In my house, we love anything by the Donaldson/ Sheffler team (except the Gruffalo’s child) and the Day the Crayons quit is laugh out loud funny. We are definitely going to check out the Book Eating Boy. So… I have to recommend the Halloweiner by Dav Pilkey. Also had me hysterically laughing and my 4 year old loves it.

    01/29/14; 9:00 pm
  9. Kim #

    All three of my kids have loved the Llama Llama books – our favorites are Mad at Mama and Red Pajama. We also love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Harry the Dirty Dog. I haven’t heard of any of yours and will for sure have to check them out.

    Our third has turned out to be a book DESTROYER and has almost made me cry with the books she’s ruined. We need some new ones to add to our library!

    01/29/14; 9:25 pm
  10. Current faves over here:
    1) Anything and everything by Todd Parr – they are pretty simple books with great messages of acceptance and nice-ness – she LOVES them, and has memorized half of them.
    2) The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
    3) All of the “Good Knight” books by Shelley Moore Thomas. Girl loves her dragons.

    01/29/14; 11:12 pm
  11. We loved all the Knuffle Bunny books (there are 3). Make sure you have tissues for the last one (of course, I cry at everything). Mo Willems is a genius, he also writes the Gerald & Piggie books. Also recommend Harold and the Purple Crayon and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good and Very Bad Day.

    01/30/14; 8:13 am
  12. Wait!! Almost forgot! Benny’s favorite at the age was Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus which he made me read in different accents. Mostly French. Sometimes Brooklyn. We’re weird. :)

    01/30/14; 8:15 am
  13. ALL THE THINGS by Mo Willems. He has an Elephant and Piggy series which I think is my personal favorite as well as Pigeon… Also The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Odd Tales is a good one as well.

    01/30/14; 3:52 pm
  14. Susan #

    Sally and the Something, Aliens Love Underpants, Art and Max and Leon the Chameleon. We love yours too.

    01/31/14; 1:38 pm
  15. Vicki #

    Being a reading teacher/former 2nd grade teacher, I can tell you that reading with your child is the best thing you can do! Any book, poem, card, sign, comic strip is fine. There are so many good picture books out there it’s hard to list them. Here’s an oldie but goodie: Mother Goose. Rhyming is an important step in learning to read. (I could go on for pages here.)
    Do you have a used book store near you? That would be a place to have fun, and CHEAP too.

    02/2/14; 9:40 am

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