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From my bookshelf … What Children’s Books are on your “must have” list?


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#1 Kylie Orr

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:00 AM

If there wasn’t the threat of suffocation combined with the pressure on our old house stumps, I’d line every wall with books.

A love of books is something I’ve harboured since childhood. Losing myself in a story of magical imagination, or just stunning illustration was a fantastic escape and most likely where my adoration of literature and language was born.

For every birthday my children have celebrated, when asked for a gift suggestion, my standard response is a book. I don’t believe you can ever have too many books. That being said, I have read my fair share of children’s books and amongst the electrifying beauty of many, there exists some dismal crud. Don’t ask me how some of the pages justify publication, nor a purchase price.

With this in mind, I thought I would compile a list of a few of the books I’d love my children to love starting with the trusty classics:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle

An oldie but a goodie. It has everything you could ever want in a book – colour, counting, days of the week, fruit, vivid illustrations, fun through treats, little holes that little fingers can poke and of course, the word "POP" which for some reason makes my children laugh. Not to mention life cycle and a gorgeous double-page-spread butterfly. I still enjoy this book and never tire of reading it to my children.

2. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

This has actually grown to be my favourite as I’ve matured. It is a story that has so much more than the basic plot; things I’ve identified as an adult that passed me by as a child. It is rhythmic, making it easy for parents to read, and there are endless discoveries through the illustrations that expand with the adventure.

3. Green Eggs & Ham, Dr Seuss

Although long for a children’s book, you can whip through this in no time with the trademark craziness and rhyming genius of Dr Seuss. Not to mention, it helps encourage my children to try new and interesting foods placed in front of them at the dinner table…

4. There’s a Hippo on our Roof Eating Cake, Hazel Edwards

For no other reason than it is funny and ridiculous! Who doesn’t love a hippo? And cake?

In more recent years, I’ve discovered or been introduced to:
  • "The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson – a gorgeous and intelligent story which most of us would know by now, about the clever little mouse who outwits his predators and the Gruffalo.
  • "Stanley Paste" by Aaron Blabey – a recent gift for my daughter that has engaging illustrations and a fantastic story for any child, short or tall.
  • "We’re Going on a Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen  – another book with great pace and repetition that the little ones love.
  • "Where is the Green Sheep?" by Mem Fox - This is a book we probably all think we could have written because it seems so simple. Apparently it took Mem Fox two years to write. It is the first book my eldest child knew by heart and could “read” at three.
  • "Blueberry Girl" by Neil Gaiman - a book all women should read, and one we should all read to our daughters. It is a book I wish I had written. Just gorgeous.
  • "We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania" by Laurie Krebs, a really interesting counting book with animals, that introduces children to the plains of Africa as well as some Swahili words!
  • "The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business" by Wolf Erlbruch– how can you go past a story about poo? Great illustrations and some informative details about the makeup of various animal poo!
  • Lynley Dodd’s "Hairy Maclary" series, particularly the one with Zachary Quack! Mainly because my son loved hearing his name in a book.
  • Anything Quentin Blake is quirky and bright, a particular favourite in our house is "Mr Magnolia".

And as we move into the digital age of books, although I resisted being usurped by a screen over a crisp white page, I have come to adore a book my husband downloaded on the iPad called "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore". Interactive and beautiful.

OK, now I’m getting carried away so I will force myself to truncate the list so I can give you all the chance to add your own favourites.

What are your “must have” children’s books?

Kylie

Edited by Kylie Orr, 29 March 2012 - 11:05 AM.


#2 Madnesscraves

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:14 AM

Possum magic

Enid Blyton - Faraway Series



#3 spersephone

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:22 AM

I'm reading the Faraway Tree series to my daughters right now, one chapter per night.  After that, we'll move on to the Wishing Chair series.  

But oh my God, it's funny to read it now.  Mother doesn't mind if her young children disappear off with a strange man who wears saucepans on his head and body, and when they come home bruised, clothes ripped etc, she's just a bit peeved with them.

I loved them when I was growing up, it's so sad that my innocence has gone!

#4 Cranky Kitten

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:24 AM

My daughter loved Wombat Stew, I wouldn't say Boo to a Goose (though yelling that last BOO! at the top of her lungs did not aid sleep) and we're loving the Stripey books by Wendy Binks - she reads them to DS original.gif



#5 gabbigirl

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:31 AM

Alot of your faves, are also ours.  

We are also enjoying some of the Beatrix Potter work.


#6 Guest_Buy Me A Pony !_*

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:36 AM

The rainbow fish
Anything by Seuss (the originals)
Enid Blyton

If the house needs restumping then so be it!

#7 Dodger

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:39 AM

Silly Suzy Goose

The Very Cranky Bear

When Henry Caught Imaginitus

#8 niggles

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:40 AM

Who Sank the Boat by Pamela Allen for the toddlers. I never get tired of this one.

Kisses for Daddy by David Legge is another favourite around here.  


We love Mr Magnolia too. It was my husband's favourite book as a child so our daughter has his copy of this now.

(Most overrated: Where is the Green Sheep. *ducks for cover*)

For older children I love the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I was very happy to find some of these in an op shop recently and spent the afternoon reading and reliving my childhood memories of them.

Edited by niggles, 29 March 2012 - 11:41 AM.


#9 MUMxTHREE

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:40 AM

Not so much a children's book, but my DS1 (almost 8) has just started reading my  Deltora Quest books. He's up to the 2nd book now. original.gif I love Emily Rodda

#10 Guest_tigerdog_*

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:47 AM

I had your first three, another few favourites from my childhood are Rosie's Walk and Rose and the Midnight Cat.  Roald Dahl for older kids (loved The Twits and The Witches).

Edited by tigerdog, 29 March 2012 - 11:51 AM.


#11 marley*and*me

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:48 AM

Hunting bears (were going on a bear hunt)

The giraffe who can't dance

Lazy day, busy Lizzie

Wombat divine

10 little fingers and 10 little toes

And plenty others already mentioned.

#12 bjk76

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

DS has only just turned one, so his favourite books aren't necessarily that sophisticated, although I am surprised that he loves some longer ones. We've been reading regularly since about 3 months and read 3 stories before each nap/sleep as part of our routine.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle - he loves sliding to find the picture underneath

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell - another lift the flap book

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet by Dr Seuss - quite a long book, but he has loved this from around 6 months and is the only Dr Seuss book he likes so far. It's actually my favourite book from when I was about 4, so I love reading it to DS and doing voices!

Spot series by Eric Hill - I actually find them a bit average in terms of storyline, but DS loves the lift the flap and he's started pointing out things that he's interested in eg. ball, star, flower.

Mr McGee series by Pamela Allen - great rhymes and slightly ridiculous storylines. I find myself inadvertently memorising them and reciting them at odd occasions throughout the day!

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, illustrated by Anne Mortimer - beautiful illustrations which DS loves looking at.

Anything with singing, eg. Teddy Bears' Picnic, Old McDonald Had A Farm, nursery rhymes (Play School has put out a couple of great books).

I've also discovered some of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo) other books. I really like Stickman and there's a great reading of it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swKDQR9fFs4  - I plan to learn the different accents! DS is a little young for their books, but I'm starting to read small sections of them until he gets used to them, then read more and more.

I'm always after more ideas for books, so will be following this thread with interest!

#13 pumpkinpie04

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:54 AM

Anything by Richard Scarry - we love the pictures.
Percy the Park-keeper books are also a big hit here.
Topsy and Tim

I'd second Marleyandme's suggestion of The giraffe who can't dance. It's a great book. I enjoy reading it. They enjoy listening!

Edited by pumpkinpie04, 29 March 2012 - 11:57 AM.


#14 Kylie Orr

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:56 AM

Thanks for your additions so far.

spersephone - It is strange when you read a book you loved as a child, as an adult and wonder why the heck you loved it. I had that experience recently with The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek. It's actually just a really odd book but I recall loving it. And yes, some of the older books are a little *ahem* politically incorrect these days...!

niggles - I can see your point about Where is the Green Sheep. Had my son not adored that book and wanted it read over and over, eventually memorising it and reading it to himself at 3, then I would have thought it was a complete bore. I will go out on a limb and say I am not at all excited by Possum Magic. It's a bit of a shoulder shrug for me. The beauty of a highly diverse children's book range offers us all something we can love! Oh and Ramona - thanks for reminding me!! wub.gif

MUMxTHREE - Deltora Quest @ 8? Very impressive.

Rose and the Midnight Cat - one of DH's favourite. I'm not so convinced of the appeal but the kids seem to enjoy it.

#15 Duck.

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:04 PM

Guess How much I love you (cant remember who by)

My dad by anthony browne

#16 niggles

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:07 PM

QUOTE (Kylie Orr @ 29/03/2012, 09:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for your additions so far.

niggles - I can see your point about Where is the Green Sheep. Had my son not adored that book and wanted it read over and over, eventually memorising it and reading it to himself at 3, then I would have thought it was a complete bore. I will go out on a limb and say I am not at all excited by Possum Magic. It's a bit of a shoulder shrug for me. The beauty of a highly diverse children's book range offers us all something we can love! Oh and Ramona - thanks for reminding me!! wub.gif


Oh, I hear you there. Some books my DH and I almost want to hide from time to time because we can't bear to read them again that week. That's what I admire so much about good children's book authors. They seem to be able to capture a certain magic that appeals to children, even when it's not always obvious to adults.

#17 Julie3Girls

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:17 PM

A lot of our favourites have already been mentioned.
We have the large illustrated versions of The Faraway tree books, and my girls have loved them.

One that hasn't been mentioned ..
The Magic Hat by Mem Fox.  My girls have all loved this one.

Where the fairies fly by Jane Simmons, which is a lovely bedtime story about looking for the dreamtime fairies to help them go to sleep.

Edited by Julie3Girls, 29 March 2012 - 12:18 PM.


#18 Majeix

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:18 PM

Picture Books that I can think of.

John Brown Rose and the Midnight Cat.

The Green Sheep.


Womabat Stew.

The Paperbag Princess.

Rosie's Walk

Anothony Browne. -look what I've got. Voices in the Park.

Grandad's teeth (absolutely brilliant) Counting on Frank and Just Another Oridinary Day (studied this one in Child's lit at university) all by Rod Clement I think.

Hungry Caterpillar, Where the Wild Things are -as previoulsy mentioned...

Are You My Mother?

I Love you Stinky Face.

Dear Zoo.

Are We There Yet?

Spot.

Alfie Books and Dogger. Anthing by Shirely Hughes but particuarly these.

Frances Books -Russel Hoban


Gordon's biscuit.

The Pocket Dogs

Annie's Chair.

The Lorax

Edward the Emu.

Feathers for Phoebe?

The Kinder Hat

Aunt Nina Goodnight

Margaret Wild names alude me at present.

Harry the Dirty Dog (and the others)

Little Bear -books

Never been a huge fan of Pamela Allen but my chidren do like Who Sank the Boat? and I understand why it's a good book I just don't particuarly like it.

Don't Forget Matilda

Sunshine.


#19 Majeix

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:19 PM

QUOTE (Julie3Girls @ 29/03/2012, 01:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One that hasn't been mentioned ..
The Magic Hat by Mem Fox.  My girls have all loved this one.



Ohh thats a good one too.

#20 Majeix

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

Ohhh Millie by John Marsden. I love the illustrations and the way it plays out. It was nominated for a children's book award one year but it didn't win. My daughter knew that book by heart.

#21 Majeix

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE (niggles @ 29/03/2012, 12:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For older children I love the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I was very happy to find some of these in an op shop recently and spent the afternoon reading and reliving my childhood memories of them.



We about to start reading Ramona.

I also love My naughty little sister, Dilly the Dionsaur, Enid Blyton (although their not as great as I remember them) for a simlar age range to Ramona (maybe ever a little younger).

Edited by Majeix, 29 March 2012 - 12:29 PM.


#22 ~Jot~

Posted 29 March 2012 - 12:45 PM

A lot of our favourites have been mentioned. We have hundreds of books and can't bear to get rid of any on them.We love Pamela Allen, Colin West and Spot, and DD2 loves the 'That's not my...' books.

A few particular favourites:
Koala Lou by Mem Fox
A Very Ordinary Caterpillar by Gary Fleming - absolutely beautiful illustrations
The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch - I loved this as a child, great message for girls
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson - I can nearly recite it by heart!
Keep Love in Your Heart, Little One by Giles Andrae - makes me tear up every time.

There are so many more!!! I love books, always have, and I'd love for my girls to have the same passion for them as they grow.

#23 moral fibre

Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:12 PM

The Three Robbers and Moon Man by Tomi Ungerer are classics.
Possum Magic - Mem Fox & Julie Vivas is gold!
The Curious Garden - Peter Brown is a beauty
The Way Back Home - Oliver Jeffers is terrific too

I am pretty old school when it comes to kids books. The story has to be strong and there needs to be something special about the illustrations.

I found a few Eastern European books online - Andy's Cherry Tree is one - that are true art.

Personally, I almost vomit at stuff like Fancy Nancy. I have hidden that amongst larger books in the hope it is forgotten.

#24 ~shannon~

Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:40 PM

QUOTE (spersephone @ 29/03/2012, 11:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm reading the Faraway Tree series to my daughters right now, one chapter per night.  After that, we'll move on to the Wishing Chair series.  

But oh my God, it's funny to read it now.  Mother doesn't mind if her young children disappear off with a strange man who wears saucepans on his head and body, and when they come home bruised, clothes ripped etc, she's just a bit peeved with them.

I loved them when I was growing up, it's so sad that my innocence has gone!


Same here! We just finished the Wishing Chair books and also finished the Faraway Tree Stories (trilogy). My six-year-old loves them.

Popular titles in my house....

* A collection of John Butler books (the most beautiful illustrations I've ever seen... perfect stories for little ones, including Ten in the Den, Can you Cuddle Like a Koala, Hush Little Ones - and most of them end with the animals sleeping, so it's a good way to encourage them to go to sleep too).
* A collection of Pamela Allen books (my favourite is The Pear in the Pear Tree - brilliant rhyme and very funny story)
* A collection of Lynley Dodd's Hairy McClary books (as well as Slinky Malinki and Scarface Claw)
* Little Golden Books (these classics still entertain my children)
* LOTS of Mem Fox books (too many to name them all!)
* Lettice Rabbit books
* Angelina Ballerina books
* The Very Hungry Caterpillar
* Are You My Mother? by P.D.Eastman
* LOTS of Graeme Base books (Animalia, The Legend of the Golden Snail, etc)
* Isabella's Garden (also beautiful illustrations in this one)
* Peepo and Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
* 10 Little Australians by Wendy de Paauw
* Wibbly Wobbly Street by Trudie Trewin
* LOTS of Clifford the big red dog books (too many to name them all!)
* A few books by Trace Moroney
* Boris books by Andrew Joyner
* Spot books
* Wanted: The Perfect Pet
* I Meant to Clean My Room Today
* Not Like This, Like That

We also own John Brown Rose and the Midnight Cat and the kids love it too.


#25 autumn sun

Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

All of the above plus

* I wish that I had duck feet (and all the classic Dr. Suess)
* Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
* The Quangle Wangle's Hat by Edward Lear illustrated by Louise Voce
*A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
*Augustus and his Smile by Catherine Rayner
*Ramadan Moon by Na'ima B Robert and Shirin Adl
* Moo Baa La La La, But Not The Hippopotamus, Doggies and Blue Hat Green Hat all by Sandra Boyton

and my all time favourite Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
(It has card catalogues in it - remember card catalogues! And it makes you want your own lion)




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