I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a bibliophile. I love books. I’d like to say I’ve never met a book I didn’t like, but I had to read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair when I was in middle school. To be fair, maybe I would enjoy it now… but my vague recollections of the book make me think probably not. I don’t have nearly as much time to read books these days, at least not books without pictures. Having spent a decent amount of time with children’s books, I thought I would give my 2 cents on my favorite children’s books of late. – several of which have come via Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. If you aren’t familiar with this program and have children between 0 and 5 years of age, please look it up and see if it is available in your area (availability is only in Australia, Canada, United Kingdoms and the United States of America). Each month they send your child a new age appropriate book, free of charge. My girls get excited when their monthly book comes in (ok, Mom gets excited too). I’m actually going to be a little sad when they end up aging out of the program. But back to the books…
Probably my most favorite book currently is Miss Maple’s Seeds* by Eliza Wheeler. It’s a beautiful story about Miss Maple, a small lady who lives in a tree and collects lost seeds. She takes them to her home to care for until the next spring when they will be ready to be planted. The quote that really does it for me though is this one,
“Take care, my little ones, for the world is big and you are small. But never forget… even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds.”
Honestly that quote always brings a tear to my eye – and I’ll admit I’ve repeated those words to my daughters a few times. And while my girls don’t understand the sentimentality of the book, they do enjoy the story and the pictures. It really is a wonderful book.
Another current favorite is As An Oak Tree Grows* by G. Brian Karas. This story follows an oak tree from when it was planted in 1775 until it’s eventual demise due to a lightning strike in 2000. One of the things I like about this book is that it shows in the scenery behind the growing oak tree how the world around it is changing. The bottom of the pages show the changing years, which is a clever idea. The girls’ favorite page is at the end where you see the stump of the old tree – they get very excited by the idea that you can count the rings to see how old the tree was!
The girls’ current favorite books are actually not a single book, but a series – the Sweet Pickles books. They were written by Ruth Lerner Perle, Jacquelyn Reinach and Richard Hefter. Originally released in the late 70’s, these particular books are actually my old books from when I was a little girl (oops did I just date myself there?!) I adored them, so it makes me so happy to see that my girls are enjoying them as well. The original series had 40 books – I probably own about 30 of those. There are 26 characters in the books, corresponding with the letters of the alphabet. Each character is a different animal and has a personality trait beginning with the same letter as the type of animal he/she is. For example, they have Accusing Alligator and Zany Zebra. One of my favorite parts as a child (and now) is that the inside of the front cover has pictures of all the characters, and the inside of the back cover has a map of the town. When the characters are going from place to place in the book, you can actually flip to the back and follow along with where they are going. My girls are a little too young to enjoy that portion of it yet. There’s a good chance that my love of this book series is simply nostalgia, but every night my girls pull out at least one Sweet Pickles book to read (or sometimes ask for the same one to be read multiple times in a row). These books are out of print, so you’ll have to buy them used or if you are an e-book fan it appears that Amazon sells a Kindle edition. I admit, I haven’t graduated to reading e-books yet. Something about having a book in your hands and turning the pages. I guess perhaps I’m a bit sentimental about some things!
I’m just going to end things by throwing in a few more children’s books that we have been enjoying of late.
- Ladybug Girl and Bingo* by David Soman and Jacky Davis (a little girl who loves to dress up as a ladybug and her dog Bingo)
- Not Your Typical Dragon* by Dan Bar-el (a little dragon who doesn’t quite fit in with his fire-breathing kind)
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon* by Patty Lovell (a little girl who is not ashamed of who she is, no matter what)
- Where’s Mommy by Beverly Donofrio (a little girl and a little mouse looking for their mommies)
- The I’m Not Scared Book by Todd Parr (a great book for helping children overcome minor fears)
Now go and read some books!!!
*Books received via Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library