Sunday, June 29, 2014

Books for Small Children - My Recommendations

When I was little, my favorite book of all time was The Little Engine That Could.  My mom says she read it to me so often that she had the book memorized.  Apparently, so did I - if she turned to the wrong page and kept reading from memory, I would call her out on it.  (Which would probably explain why she was tired of my not reading on my own...all the more reason to teach your children early, yes?)

Now, we had many books at home, but there were always those few that stood out.  With my own son, I'm finding the same phenomenon - there are certain books he loves, and he will keep pull those out from his little cubby while others gather dust.  Some of these books are touching, others are beautiful, and still others just beg for small fingers to touch their pages.  Here's a short list of favorites.

For Tiny Babies - Under One Year Old

Ten Tiny Tadpoles was the first book my son fell in love with.  The tadpoles are small plastic and stand out from the page - and which each turn of the page, one more tadpole wanders off one its own.

A great counting book for the little guy, and the text is nicely melodic.  I read it with a sing-song voice, and then count the tadpoles so he can start matching numbers to text.
I still remember my dad reading us The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and we now have two copies for our son.  We keep one in the car, and we'll often give it to him to leaf through when he's in his car seat.  He loves poking his fingers through the holes in the foods our Very Hungry Caterpillar is eating, and there's something about the colors and textures that draws in a small child's attention.  This is also a good counting book, but it's especially a good foods book.  As we introduced different fruits to our son, he'd light up in recognition upon seeing oranges and apples on the page.
The Very Lonely Firefly isn't quite as engaging as the previous two books, but Eric Carle's knack for shape and color from The Very Hungry Caterpillar is very strong here.  What my son loves most, though, are the flashing LED fireflies on the last page - it's actually hard to slow him down as he's flipping to that page.  But the it's worth the time - the story itself introduces a family and pets, and I think those interactions will keep this books interesting in the years ahead.

For Less-Tiny Babies - One to Two Years

10 Minutes till Bedtime is visually one of the funniest books I've seen in a long time.  A little boy has ten minutes to get ready for bed...but then hamsters start arriving for the "10-Minute Bedtime Tour!"  You need to check the numbers on the little hamsters - there are ten baby hamsters with their two parents, and you'll see that each hamster continues its own little narrative as the story goes on.  (And be sure to read the newspaper the dad is holding...and then visit Peggy Rathmann's Hamster Tours Website.
 
Guess How Much I Love You is simply a touching book, especially for fathers to read to their sons.  Little Nutbrown Hare is getting ready for bed, and Big Nutbrown Hare is tucking him in with the kind of charming love that any parent can relate to.  We see the small child's desire to love and be loved, and it's nicely tempered with the elder rabbit's fun bits of irony.

For the Pre-School-Aged Child

I might be an oldest, but I'll Fix Anthony was one of my favorite books as a child.  Never mind that the book advocates exercise and the eating of vegetables - it's the revenge that counts!  Yes, this poor narrator is suffering horribly at the hands of his older brother, but he has plans!  And once he turns six...

I know, it plays a bit to base emotions...but this book really was fun.  So much fun, in fact, that I picked it up again in high school to read for a speech team competition.  Mostly for that classic line: "When I'm Six...I'll Fix Anthony!"



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news.blogger.com said...

"Magic Tree House"

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