(Preliminary ramblings: if you've been around Guilty Chocoholic Mama for awhile: 1)thank you! and 2)you may be thinking this post looks familiar. It's kind of a long story (short version: don't try to blog at 4 a.m.), but I was working on updating and expanding this list for another site and inadvertently got rid of the original post, at least as far as Blogger is concerned. So this IS the original post, with five books added on. I remain grateful as always to my friend Lisa the Syncopated Mama for providing the inspiration for this round-up with her 5 After 5 party on favorite children's books.)
Maybe it's just me (it would hardly be the first time), but have you ever read a children's book and thought, "HOW did this get published? I write better stuff on my grocery list!"
I don't doubt for a second that writing a children's book is much, much harder than it looks. And the brilliant best-seller that I, personally, have authored is...? Oh, right, I don't have one. But I do find some literary options for the younger set to be a little challenging where my sanity and patience are concerned. (Admittedly, both of those are in short supply on a good day, but still...)
On the other hand, there are some truly inspired options out there...the kinds of books you, as the parent, hope your kids will choose when story time rolls around.
1. Falling for Rapunzel (Leah Wilcox). Thank goodness I worked that elementary-school book fair back in the day, because that's where I discovered this hilarious, charming book. Poor Rapunzel is a little too far away from her would-be rescuer/prince to hear him properly, which is how she comes to throw all manner of things--pancake batter, underwear, a pig--out the tower window instead of her actual famed long tresses. In the category, "Why Couldn't I Come Up With Something This Clever?"
2. Please Is a Good Word to Say (Barbara Joosse). Mover over, Emily Post: this is the most fabulous manners lesson ever. After we stumbled on it at our library I promptly bought a copy for our personal library, plus extras to give as gifts. I read it to my daughter's class during March is Reading Month one year, and the teacher immediately got it for her classroom. My teenager read it to her work-study preschool class last week, and the lead teacher said she had to have it, too. Get your hands on a copy any way you can, because this is the most fun you can possibly have with please and thank-you, among other niceties.
3. Today I Feel Silly (Jamie Lee Curtis). I love this book's message: that "happy" is not the only legitimate feeling. I try to teach my girls a lesson I'm constantly learning myself--that we cannot always act how we feel. And there is no doubt some moods are caused by things that cannot be ignored or left alone. But I also love the grace and freedom of this line from the book, in particular: "I'd rather feel silly, excited or glad, than cranky or grumpy, discouraged or sad. But moods are just something that happen each day. Whatever I'm feeling inside is okay."
4. Miss Fannie's Hat (Jan Karon). Miss Fannie loves her hats. Particularly one very special chapeau. What to do, then, when the the pastor of her church asks Miss Fannie to donate a hat to the fundraising auction? My love for this book is entirely linked to my love for my mom...our family's very own hat lady. When I discovered this book early one spring, I knew exactly what my mom's Mother's Day gift would be that year.
5. The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein). Genius. Brilliant. A classic for the ages, for all ages.
6. Pasture Bedtime (A Cautionary Tale) (Jenny H. Lyman). The minute I read this adorably punny story about a little horse who does not--DOES NOT, thank you very much--want to go to bed, it became my new favorite children's book. That you can get matching pajamas from parent company Lazy One just sweetens the deal.
7. Sheep in a Jeep (Nancy Shaw). When my niece and nephew get to my parents' house for a sleepover with Grammie and Grampy, this is the book they both want.
8. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Judith Viorst). Another classic, and for good reason: hasn't everyone had a day like this? The fact that there's a book about it encourages kids (and their moms) that they're not alone when they're having one.
9. Anything by Sandra Boynton. Her stories are whimsical, her illustrations are charming, and her board books are durable enough to withstand hours of chewing by your resident teether. And, really, how can you go wrong with an author whose greeting on her website is as follows: "Here at last responding to a nearly deafening universal plea...well not exactly a nearly deafening universal plea it was more like some polite whining from 3 or 4 people who probably should be spending a lot more time outdoors...is the Official Boynton Website. You are visitor number Bizzillion and then some."
10. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. Yes, it's technically a Christmas book. But it's a gift in any season.
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Bonus book that you can't buy very easily but might be able to find at your library or dig up in a garage sale: My Icky Picky Sister (Beth Hazel and Dr. Jerome C. Harste). "She rolled her eyes, she crossed her arms, she said she didn't like it." Not that we have any real-life association with this book in my double-daughtered house.
**This post may have been shared at some of these blog bashes.**