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Cherished children’s books and stories

I love reading time with Piper.  On dreary days especially, we like to climb into bed with a few baskets filled with our favorite stories.  I thought I would share a few titles with you here, as I know some of you have children, while others still are childlike at heart.

Favorite Winter stories (and a few dreaming of Summer stories, too)

One Snowy Night by M. Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton

  • A deep winter story about a little lost hedgehog and his friends Rabbit, Badger, and Fox.  I love the cozy illustrations of Rabbit’s warm home in the base of a tree.  Our copy is a touch-and-feel book as well; youngsters will enjoy the velvety softness of a certain red hat.

Caillou Makes a Snowman an adaptation of the animated series by Roger Harvey, with illustrations by Eric Sevigny.

  • Piper loves Caillou, so we surprised her with this book for Christmas.  In this story, Caillou’s friend Sarah teaches him how to build a snowman.  I love being on this journey of discovery with Piper; at just over two years old, the world is still new for her, still fresh.  This story in particular is a reminder of the simple pleasures of childhood.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Robert Frost’s poem, beautifully illustrated by Susan Jeffers

  • My sister gave Piper this wonderful book for Christmas.  The illustrations bring that enchanting, mystical quality of the woods to life and are sure to captivate both young and young-at-heart readers.  I’m grateful for Jeffers for making Frost’s poetry accessible to children.  This will be one we read even in later years, with Piper’s understanding of it growing as she herself does.

A Day at the Seashore by Kathryn and Byron Jackson, illustrated by Corinne Malvern

  • Some of you may remember me buying this book before our fantastic beach adventure down in Sarasota a while back.  It has since become one of Piper’s cherished favorites, so much so that she has a lot of it memorized.  I love the classic illustrations (the book was first published in 1951).  This is the perfect book for a cold and dark winter’s day, when you’re most craving a trip to some warm, sunny beach.

Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

  • Another classic beach story that will have you dreaming of Summer, Harry by the Seawas first published in 1965 and used to be one of my own favorites while growing up.  There’s no room for poor dog Harry under his family’s beach umbrella, so he sets out along the shore to find someplace cool to sit.  Instead, he ends up tangled in seaweed and confused for a sea monster.  This quirky adventure will keep you and your little one giggling as you read aloud such zany exclamations as, “Holy Smoke! — It’s a Bushy-backed Sea Slug!”

Favorite Classics

The Gingerbread Man told by Nancy Nolte, illustrated by Richard Scarry

  • This one is another childhood favorite of mine that I picked up for Piper during Christmas.  This book is very easily read aloud, and provides many opportunities for little ones to chime in.  Piper and I both love Richard Scarry’s whimsical illustrations; Piper seems to find something new to look at each time we crack open the book.

Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever, a collection of nursery rhymes illustrated by Richard Scarry

  • Richard Scarry’s humorous depictions of classic rhymes will keep you and your little one smiling.  The collection includes all of your well-known favorites, as well as some that may be less familiar, such as the following:

As I was going to St. Ives,

I met a man with seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kits;

Kits, cats, sacks and wives,

How many were going to St. Ives?

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm, retold by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Fred Marvin

  • This particular telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses story is great for reading aloud.  It begins, “Come a little closer, and I will tell you about a king who had twelve lively and beautiful daughters.”  Muldrow’s engaging tone holds children’s attention throughout an otherwise rather long tale.  The story itself is a fantastic adventure, filled with a secret entrance that leads to a mysterious palace surrounded by trees glittered with silver, gold, and diamonds.

Eloise Wilkin Stories – Nine Beloved Classics (various authors)

  • I fell in love with this collection while shopping for books for Piper during Christmastime.  Eloise Wilkin’s illustrations are so sweet, even a bit idealistic.  However, I so enjoy reading to Piper from this collection, and she so enjoys listening to the stories and looking through the pictures with me, that some days we almost make it through all nine stories in one sitting.  What I love about classic Little Golden Books are the various authors’ and illustrators’ abilities to portray the simplicity, innocence, and beauty of childhood.  This collection is no different–some of our favorite stories included are Busy Timmyby Kathryn and Byron Jackson, Guess Who Lives Here by Louise Woodcock, Wonders of Natureby Jane Werner Watson, and the Baby Listens and Baby Looks stories by Esther Wilkin.

Corduroy by Don Freeman

  • Another sweetly illustrated book, this one about that beloved department store bear looking for his lost button.  Rather than finding his button, in the end he finds a friend (he has always wanted one of those).  Another childhood favorite of mine, perhaps because of the retro feel that I love so much.  The story is surprisingly adventurous, particularly the pages involving the night watchman.

Donald Duck and the One Bear A Turn-About Tale with no author or illustrator listed, unfortunately

  • Donald and his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie are on their way to Daisy’s house while their pizzas cool on the counter.  While they are away, a very hungry bear climbs in through an open window and makes himself at home.  Upon their return, the ducks find themselves in a situation not at all unlike the beloved Goldie Locks and the Three Bears tale.  Piper loves this quirky story.  Perhaps Huey, Dewey and Louie remind her of her triplet cousins?

Madeline story and pictures by Ludwig Bemelmans

  • If you have been following my blog very long, you know how much Piper and I love the Madeline story.  Now the both of us have it memorized, and when Piper sees crying babies she sometimes says “Cried and cried her eyes were red!”  I love to hear Piper tell me the story in her own way.

Favorite Garden/Nature Stories

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

  • I have been reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit to Piper since she was just an infant, and she is finally beginning to enjoy the story.  Unlike his siblings Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, Peter is a naughty bunny with an appetite for grumpy Mr. McGregor’s garden produce.  When spotted snacking on radishes and the like by the old farmer, Peter must outrun him, or at least find a good hiding place.  No sooner does poor Peter escape the man than he realizes he’s lost in the large garden.  All ends well, though, with Peter safe at home at last, and in bed with a cup of chamomile tea.

Who is hiding in the Garden? a lift-the-flap board book, illustrated by David Crossley

  • Piper enjoys peeking behind shells, plant pots, flowers, and grass to see what kind of critters are hiding in the garden in this sweet book that we bought for a few bucks at the bookstore.  Lift-the-flap books are a fun and interactive way to get children interested in reading.

Lily’s New Flower Hat this little board book unfortunately has no author or illustrator listed.

  • Another cheap find from the bookstore, and merely a few pages, but we like it nonetheless.  Lily the littlest fairy has lost her flower hat and tries a few others on for size before the queen of the fairies gives her a crown of thistledown.

I hope this short list is of help to those of you who are looking for different books to read to your little ones.  They are the few stories that we are reading through lately, though I’m excited to explore the others in Piper’s collection as she begins to show an interest in different tales.  Reading time with Piper is truly one of my favorite parts of the day.  It’s a quiet activity, and super bonding.  Do you have any favorite children’s books?  What do your children like to read, or what did you like to read when you were a child?

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