Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Our Favorite Books
When I told a group of students a few years back that I read to my daughter every night, one student gaped at me incredulously and sputtered, "You make her read!? Pff, I feel sorry for your daughter."
It was a pretty sad comment. The concept of a parent reading to her child was so foreign to that student. The thought of reading as anything other than punishment was inconceivable.
Reading to Madeline before bed is a special bond between the two of us that I began long before she understood what I was saying. (I read the Hunger Games series, The Help, Edith Hamilton's Greek Mythology, and the final Harry Potter book aloud to her while I was home on maternity leave.)
Now, she cozies up in my lap, we dim the lights, play the sleep sheep, and read three books every night. It's our ritual. I feel so lucky that I live the kind of life where I am able to do that with her night after night. A lot of parents, through the pressures of work, or maybe even by choice, don't get to experience that.
As her tastes have developed, a few favorites have begun to emerge from the stacks piled around her room. Although she sometimes gets stuck on book that gets old after the second or third time through, I've got to say, Madeline has pretty good taste. Luckily, her favorites have also become some of my favorites.
In no particular order, our favorite books:
Bear Feels Scared
Eric bought this for Madeline last Valentine's Day after she went through a brief phase of being scared of school. When I first saw the dark colors, I was worried it would only frighten Madeline more, but she loved it right away. It's a cute story about a bear who gets lost in the woods while looking for strawberries, and his friends go out to rescue him. The rhythm and beat of the words make it fun to read aloud. It gets stuck in our heads. Even Madeline has chunks of it memorized.
All The World
Liz Garton Scanlon, Marla Frazee
This is such lovely book! Maddie asks to read, "All da Wooowld" almost every night. The illustrations are gorgeous, and it sends such a positive message of togetherness, hope, love, and peace. I feel better about the world when I read this book.
Where, Oh Where is Huggle Buggle Bear?
Katherine Sully, Janet Samuel
This is a silly book that came in a publisher's package that I bought off Zuilily or Totsy last year for Christmas. I think this was the first book with an actual story that would hold Madeline's interest all the way through. She was seriously obsessed for a while, but reading it with her didn't get old. I perform it quite dramatically....very Shakespearean.
Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin
The Duck and Goose series is really sweet. We have a few of them, but this is our favorite. The illustrations are colorful, simple and cute. The words are also simple, cute, and funny for grownups. Madeline has this one memorized.
Big Dog...Little Dog
An oldie, but a goodie....good ole Ted and Fred. Nana passed along Eric's childhood copy over the summer, and Madeline was instantly drawn to it. She especially likes to point out Eric's name written in the front cover. It's basically a story about friends who are complete opposites. Sorta Bert and Ernie-ish...but dogs.
Good Night Gorilla
This is a picture book with very few words, but it's so fun to let the pictures tell the story. Madeline loves that the animals are sneaking out of their cages. It's also kinda fun to make up your own words as you go along.
Pride and Prejudice
Jennifer Adams, Alison Oliver
This is part of the BabyLit series that turns classics of British literature into board books. We have the whole set, which includes Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre, and Alice and Wonderland. Don't worry, they are simple counting books....no wives locked in the attic, teen suicide, drug references, or "scandalously patched-up marriages." Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. I would wallpaper Madeline's room with the illustrations if possible. Side note: For some reason, Madeline thinks the illustration of Mr. Bingley is me. "Dat Mumma!" Either I'm really manly or Mr. Bingley is quite girly.
Mon Papa M'Adore!
My parents went to France last spring and brought Madeline back some books en francaise....including Madeline! Maddie is still a tad too young for the tales of Ms. Clavel to hold her interest unfortunately, but she adores this little book. I don't speak French beyond a high school level, but from what I can tell, it's about a little tomboyish girl who does not like dolls, but does like drawing on the walls, kicking things, and making a mess in the bathtub. And most importantly, her father loves her. Awww.
I feel like I'm probably forgetting books, and later I'll be all, "Darn you, Summer! How could you forget that book? You dummy!" It's pretty hard to narrow down the list...but if you are looking for something new for your repertoire, I hope you find these suggestions helpful.
What are your favorite baby books? Got any recommendations?