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Thread: Children's literature

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Children's literature

    Since the day he was born Junior has been read to every day. Our hope is that he will consider books so much a part of the normal fabric of existence that he will make the same efforts to learn to read that he did to walk, talk, dress himself, or socialize.

    We have a lot of books around the house. I mean alot. All joking aside, we probably have as many books as one might find in a smallish community library. Because I'm one of the people that reads and buys all of those kids books, I'm developing some definite preferences and opinions about children's authors.

    One developing trend that I don't like is with some of those celebrity children's authors (e.g. John Lithgow or Madonna). Madonna may be able to write a pop tune like no one's business, but really what qualifies her to write children's books? A profound knowlege of education? What does this woman have to say to children particularly that other could not or have not already conveyed?

    I guess the unspoken message is that anyone can write children's literature. Heck, kids made pretty poor proofreaders and critics, right? Since anyone can do it why not get entertainment celebrities to write 'em and then maybe publishers will sell more books

    Who do you think are the best children's authors out there? Any books from your childhood that stand out as remarkable? Parents: any top picks you'd like to pass along?

    Here is a link to some of my all time favorites:

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...%3Den%26sa%3DN

    (warning: may not be work safe)
    Last edited by Maister; 22 Sep 2008 at 4:20 PM. Reason: added warning
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    One of my favorite children's books is planning-related. I know...I'm such a dork.

    It's called "The Little House" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_House). For those who have never read this Caldecott Medal-winning book from the WWII era, it's about this little house in the country that becomes surrounded by farms, then suburban sprawl, then urban sprawl, and pretty soon it's surrounded by skyscrapers and elevated trains. At the end of the book, the house is then moved back into the country.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  3. #3
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Okay, my "favorites" link was a joke, but seriously, the children's books that really stand out IMO include:
    Dr. Seuss - practically EVERYONE has tried to emulate him. Brilliant art; whimsical, original, creative, and distinctive. Concerning the whole rhyming couplet thing, I don't know if he was the first children's author to do that but he certainly made it his trademark. There's a reason he's considered classic.

    Curious George books - (Hans & Margaret Ray). I think children relate in a very direct way to the little monkey. Illustrations are critically important for any successful children's book and Hans (his wife wrote the stories) really brings home the goods in the art department.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Here is one on the internet - A Little Golden Book - Make Way for the Highway
    http://www.edthefed.com/papers/the_highway.pdf

    More Little Golden Book titles are available at http://www.antiquebooks.net/readpage.html#golden

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    Dr. Seuss is a given. Hand Hand Finger Thumb is my personal favorite.
    I also highly recommend Shel Siverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends and A light in the Attic (or something similar). It's poetry, but the themes included range from sharing to being polite to lying to love and everything in between. Who can forget Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out? I love his stuff.
    When Junior is a little older, I would recommend the original Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson stories. They are not safe for toddlers, but the stories are much better than their Disney/sanitized versions. I have hardback versions of both, and those books go with me every time I move. I will not get rid of them.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    One of my favorite children's books is planning-related. I know...I'm such a dork.

    It's called "The Little House" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_House). For those who have never read this Caldecott Medal-winning book from the WWII era, it's about this little house in the country that becomes surrounded by farms, then suburban sprawl, then urban sprawl, and pretty soon it's surrounded by skyscrapers and elevated trains. At the end of the book, the house is then moved back into the country.
    My mom gave me that book from my box of old children's books when I got my undergraduate. It was one of my favorites growing up and was heavily worn. I'll admit it, I cried like a baby when my mom gave it to me.

    Another couple of favorites:
    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
    Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel
    Where the Wild Things Are
    The Giving Tree
    curious george

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I also had a huge inventory of books for my son, although I've since given most of them away, and started showing him books when he was about 6 weeks old. When he was very young, pretty much any board book was a hit, and those plastic bath books, too. His favorites were "What Can Baby Do?" and "Goodmight Baby". Other favorites focused on baby animals and household items and trucks.

    When he was a toddler, it was Richard Scarry all the way, both the books and the videos. He never was interested in Dr Seuss. His favorite bedtime book was "Goodnight, Moon", a great classic. I have a video of him at 3, holding one of his stuffed animals and "reading" "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel". I had read it to him so many times, he'd memorized it. And he still loved anything with a transportation theme and the Golden Books series.

    I just mostly went with topics he seemed to like, rather than by what I thought would be "good" for him. He was hooked on Barney but no interest in Seuss or anything Sesame Street. I guess it worked, he was reading at college level in grade school.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I am sure you have seen all these t-shirts pop at gap and target, the Little Miss sunshine, or Mr. Happy. Well, it is actually a series of books from the 1970's and early 1980's (to which my brother and I owned and were read too as children back then) and have made a revival within the last couple of years. I love reading these books to my daughter as it teaches a little life lesson (especially little miss bossy and little miss curious). The are small little books that can easily tuck away for easy use, and the illustrations are bright with shapes the wee ones can appreciate. My daughter instantly recognized little miss chatterbox on a shirt at gap and bubble bath at target and hence they are now a part of our household.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Hargreaves
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Oh yes, the Mr. Men books. I loved them when I was little, and now I've started buying them for my daughter, because they have been reissued. Mr. Forgetful was always my favorite, and Mr. Noisy is my daughter's favorite.

    We also really love reading Sandra Boynton books together. And, we've got a vast collection of Little Golden Books going.

    My absolute favorite book when I was little was a vintage hand-me-down that my mother adored when she was little. It was called A Big Ball of String, by Marion Holland. http://www.amazon.com/Big-Ball-Strin.../dp/0394900057 I'm sure that book has fallen apart, by now. I also loved a Golden Book called Four Little Kittens, and I have given the original book that I had, to my daughter.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    The ones my boys liked best were:

    Mr. Pine's Purple House - Leonard Kessler
    Pie Rats Ahoy - Richard Scarry
    Everything else by Richard Scarry
    Everything by Dr. Seuss
    Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
    Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein

    Later on, they turned to Mad Magazine and Playboy. Just for the articles, of course.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    I am sure you have seen all these t-shirts pop at gap and target, the Little Miss sunshine, or Mr. Happy. Well, it is actually a series of books from the 1970's and early 1980's (to which my brother and I owned and were read too as children back then) and have made a revival within the last couple of years. I love reading these books to my daughter as it teaches a little life lesson (especially little miss bossy and little miss curious). The are small little books that can easily tuck away for easy use, and the illustrations are bright with shapes the wee ones can appreciate. My daughter instantly recognized little miss chatterbox on a shirt at gap and bubble bath at target and hence they are now a part of our household.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Hargreaves
    I have fond memories of this series. In kindergarten our teacher would read these to us daily and our class newspaper would always feature a drawing of a character she did. I owned (my parents still have) most of the series, at least what we could find. When I went to England I made sure to pick up a few copies since as far as I know they are longer published in the states. New titles still seem to be released over there, though I believe they are now written by his son.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    These three are wonderful books:

    An Egg Is Quiet, by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

    A Mama for Owen, by Marion Dane Bauer and John Butler

    Come Along, Daisy! by Jane Simmons

    (I like animals.)

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner View post
    One of my favorite children's books is planning-related. I know...I'm such a dork.

    It's called "The Little House" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_House). For those who have never read this Caldecott Medal-winning book from the WWII era, it's about this little house in the country that becomes surrounded by farms, then suburban sprawl, then urban sprawl, and pretty soon it's surrounded by skyscrapers and elevated trains. At the end of the book, the house is then moved back into the country.
    I like that book but I don't really like its anti-urban bent. The little house is unhappy and neglected in the city, and only happy in the country. There are lots of happy smiling houses in my urban neighborhood!

    Some of my favorites:

    Trumpet of the Swan
    Cricket in Times Square
    Charlotte's Web
    Ramona the Pest
    James and the Giant Peach
    Stuart Little
    Any of the Richard Scarry books, especially the original, longer versions of them (the current editions of the "big" books cut out some stories, not sure why.)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Here's my list, as I approach empty-nest-hood.

    All of Beatrix Potter's books.

    The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

    Where the Paw Paws Grow, Palmer Brown

    All of Dr. Seuss

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I love books and have a special affinity for children's literature! We recently moved and now live near a huge used bookstore, which has been fantastic for feeding that need (or want).

    My favorites when I was a kid, at different ages:
    *Cars and Trucks and things that go
    *Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse (LOVED this book...it had house designs for animals, with a mouse architect...I've always loved floor plans and unique houses and stuff)
    *What do people do all day?
    *Goodnight moon
    *Opt (A book of optical illusions)
    *Green eggs and ham (not other Dr. Seuss, though, not sure why)

    I'll stop now!

  16. #16
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I have an avid reader in the family. Would have to yell for him at night to put the book down and get to sleep. He can read a book in about the time it takes me to get through a chapter. And now he is in his second year of Library Science School.

    I remember some early favorites:
    Goodnight Moon
    Mike Mulligan
    Dr. Seuss (any)
    Richard Scarry (any)
    War and Peace (just kidding)

  17. #17
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I have two - one is 8, the other 3. So, our books cover a wide range of reading levels. We are also swimming in them.

    Here is the top list for our current reads:

    For the 3 year old:
    Most anything Seus (I am fond of the Sleep Book as it was my childhood favorite. Also, If I Ran the Circus and On Beyond Zebra are on the top list these days)
    Goodnight Moon
    The Big Red Barn
    Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
    The Little House
    Manhattan
    The Carl books (it sets a good example, too - leave you child at home with the Rottweiler!)
    Ferdinand

    For the 8 year old (he reads now, so much of this he reads on his own. We still read together at bedtime, though):
    All the Harry Potter books
    The Phantom Tollbooth (probably my favorite kids book!)
    The Hobbit
    The Little House series
    The House at Pooh Corner
    The Beverly Cleary "Ramona" books (he relates to having a hellion of a little sister)
    My Side of the Mountain (he read this over the summer and keeps revisiting it)
    Isabelle Allende's "City of Beasts" (current)
    The Calder Game (current)

    Oh, and he LOVES Calvin and Hobbes!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  18. #18
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel was my favorite as a kid and my son likes it too.

    Horton Hatches an Egg was a favorite. I read it so much that I could practically recite it. It teaches a child about responsibility and it teaches a parent what it takes to be a good parent. I used this book as an example in two speeches about good,responsible parenting.

    Now the indepensible book at bedtime is How Come?. It helps you deal with the child (like mine) who is full of questions. It explains why the sky is blue, why do stars twinkle, what makes a rainbow, etc. If you have a young child and don't have a copy, GET ONE!
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Ferdinand

    For the 8 year old (he reads now, so much of this he reads on his own. We still read together at bedtime, though):
    All the Harry Potter books
    The Phantom Tollbooth (probably my favorite kids book!)
    The Hobbit
    The Little House series
    The House at Pooh Corner
    The Beverly Cleary "Ramona" books (he relates to having a hellion of a little sister)
    My Side of the Mountain (he read this over the summer and keeps revisiting it)
    Isabelle Allende's "City of Beasts" (current)
    The Calder Game (current)

    Oh, and he LOVES Calvin and Hobbes!
    For the 8-yr old. If a good reader, anything off the Newbery list. Phantom Tollbooth, My Side of the Mountain, as mentioned.... Across Five Aprils (Civil War story), The Bronze Bow, Carry On Mr Bowditch, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Juan de Pareja, anything by Robb White but esp Silent Ship, Silent Sea or The Survivor. And of course The Outsiders (somewhere I have a first edition). One that's hard to find but my favorite book in grade school was Komantcia, about spanish kids kidnapped in Mexico by Native Americans.

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