Monday, August 8, 2011

A Top Ten: The Books Lizzie Loves to Read

So, a couple of weeks ago, I did a post on the top ten books I can't wait to read to Lizzie when she's a bit older. This week, I thought it might fun to talk a bit about the books we love to read now.

Here are our favorite titles (in no particular order):

1. Baby Bear's Books by Jane Yolen. This book is a fun book celebrating books and how they can make any part of the day an adventure. The whole story is told in rhyme and is loads of fun to read aloud (one of my big prerequisites for a book that I'll read repeatedly). Plus, the illustrations are adorable AND the illustrator is a Mainer (always a plus).

2. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Mo Willems is a freaking super star in my house. This particular book and it's companion, Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (I think there might be a third pigeon book, but I'm not sure) are hilarious. They are so much fun to read and the way the words and illustrations work together it's almost like a little T.V. show rather than a book (which makes sense, since the author wrote for Sesame Street and animated a couple T.V. shows I know my brother would be familiar with). Also, from a teacher's standpoint, I know if I ever teach a unit on the art of rhetoric (logos, pathos, and ethos) there are plenty of fun examples in this book.

3. The Arthur books by Marc Brown. I grew up with these books, watched the T.V. show as a kid (and I'll sit down and watch them now--they're good!), and just recently started picking up some of the books at the library for Lizzie. She really likes them! While they're definitely geared towards an older set of kids and the stories can seem like they might be a bit long for a three year old, Lizzie will sit through them and loves D.W., Arthur's precocious little sister.

4. The Knuffle Bunny Books by Mo Willems. The Knuffle Bunny Books (there are three) were essentially written for Lizzie. They focus on a little girl who's around three (though, in the first book she's an infant/young toddler) and her lovie, Knuffle Bunny. The language, pictures, and content speak to little kids and are such a joy to read aloud. They sort of are like a comic book, which I think is neat, and I love how the illustrations mix hand drawn pictures and photographs taken in real places (like New York City).

5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. This is such a classic little girls book and Lizzie really loves listening to it. I love the rhyming (reading anything with a rhyme is fun) and Lizzie loves a story about a little girl. We particularly enjoy the part when she has to be rushed to the hospital to have her appendix taken out. The drama!! It's also a fun time to practice my French accent.

6. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. This was one of my favorite books to have read to me when I was a little girl, and now I get to take my copy and read it to Lizzie. We like talking about the book after we're done reading, discussing just what was it that made Alexander's day so horrible. Lizzie like the repeat of the whole "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" (probably because I put a lot of emphasis on this). What's made me love this book even more, reading it aloud to Lizzie aside, is the fact that I got to write a really fun little blog post for a literature class last fall. Very esoteric and academic, yet so much fun.

7. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. Okay, first of all, Jon Scieszka made my childhood awesome. Between this book, The Stinky Cheeseman, Squids Will Be Squids, and his time travel series, I spent hours in stitches. These books are so funny! And The True Story of the Three Little Pigs is such an awesome retelling of the classic Three Little Pigs story. Lizzie thinks it's a fun read now, but I think she'll appreciate it even more once she's heard the original story a few times. I can see an older preschooler or kindergartener really getting a kick out of this story.

8. The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman. I was given this book as a little girl by a friend of my mother who is an artist and interior designer. She has an eye for beautiful illustrations and I think that was the major thing that drew her to this book. The illustrations are enchanting. Seriously. They're detailed and colorful and rich. And the story ain't half bad either. It's about a princess who grows a balloon tree as a way to summon her father home when her kingdom is in trouble. It's an adorable story premise with equally adorable illustrations.

9. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I think almost every new mother or mother-to-be gets this book. It was actually the first book I was given for Lizzie when I was in the early stages of my pregnancy from my second grade teacher aunt. I read it every night to Lizzie during my pregnancy and I still bring it out every once in a while to read to her. She'll say goodnight to the all the little things in the room right along with me and tell me different things about the kittens and old lady whsipering hush. She also likes this rendition, which is one of my absolute favorite parodies.

10. Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. Early on in our relationship, I dragged my husband down to a local book store, sat him down on a couch and read this book to him. I explained, "This is going to be one of the first books I read to our kids." And then I made him buy the book. Instead of running away (like he probably should have), a few months later he asked me to marry him. And we still have the book, and it was one of the first books I read to Lizzie. We love quacking away as Mother duck and her ducklings holler at passing cars and bikes to stop. We love Michael the policeman who calls Clancy and the station and saves the day. It's another one of those classic kids books that we eagerly enjoy over and over again. I also think I'd love to use it as a fun little travel guide on a family trip to Boston. Lizzie still doesn't believe me that there are giant swan boats!

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