Children’s picture books

27 Mar
Since I’m pregnicating right now, my mind is starting to turn to what sort of lovely picture books I’ll read to my kid. I have really fond memories of my various picture books, though I can’t recall any memories of those classic, revered picture books. No, mine are all totally weird. For instance, I had a book on the Nativity that I was fascinated with and read over and over. I think it’s because my parents aren’t religious and that wasn’t part of my upbringing, so, like many kids, don’t you become fascinated by what is unknown? I also loved my Aesop’s fables book, an edition I have been hunting for eons. All I remember was that it had a gray cover and awesome color illustrations within. (Update – I found it! It’s this one! It wasn’t Aesop at all, but Arnold Lobel. Done and done.) And I’m sure this says something odd about my personality, but I also vividly remember the “let’s learn about sex” picture book my mom gave me. That thing really broke it down! If I can find it again, I will pass on the wisdom of that book to my own child.

I’ve been perusing the bookstores and library, seeking inspiration for the kinds of stories I want to imprint on my child. Beautiful illustrations are a must. Also, simple but engaging prose that will be fun for me to read and exciting for my kid to listen to.

Ooh, here’s one. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. I loved this book as a child, and this is the exact edition I had too. Christmas is my very favorite of all the holidays, and this tale of a little boy’s magical journey via train to the North Pole completely captures a child’s awe toward Christmas and Santa Claus.

Oh god, YES. Hayao Miyazaki, he of the most glorious anime movies ever, issued a picture book for Howl’s Moving Castle (his movie based on Dianna Wynne Jones’ novel). If there is a more beautiful visual artist than Miyazaki, I don’t know who they are, at least to me. I could look at his work every day. Which I shall, once I have this lovely in my grip!

Here’s a famous one I do remember! The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Who wasn’t fascinated by these illustrations? So otherworldly and just plain odd, I was mesmerized by them. Definitely one to introduce to my own child.

Any recommendations are greatly appreciated – I love hearing about what books touched people when they were children, and you can NEVER have too many recommendations. 🙂

Note: I’m trying to wrap this up so I can go to bed, but more and more books are popping into my head. Strega Nona! All of Beatrix Potter’s books! Madeline! The choices are infinite…

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8 Responses to “Children’s picture books”

  1. Aunt Linda March 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    When I was a child, there were not “children’s books” per se. There were books, of course, but not picture books, unless you count comic books. I remember one that I believe was your Grandmother’s, and I might still have in a box somewhere. “The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew”, about a family named Pepper. Of course, I read every “Nancy Drew” book ever published.

    Children back then learned in Kindergarten, though your father was an early starter, as were Judy and I. We had exceptional parents. When I say Kindergarten, that is two years. We would start at age 4 by going to “Morning Kindergarten”, then the next year, go to “Afternoon Kindergarten”. So usually, by the time we were 6 and entering 1st grade, we knew our letters, numbers, etc., and in a family of readers, we had plenty of books to choose from.

    By the way, tell your father that it would be nice if he would inform his Sisters that they will become Great Aunts. And Congratulations! I love you!

    • Amanda March 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      Oh no, Dad didn’t tell you?! I swear he assured me he did. Sheesh. Well, surprise! 🙂

      I have a couple of Dad’s books from when he was a kid, thoroughly bedraggled by now. I keep them mostly as a memento rather than something to read. I hope to encourage my child to be as fervent a reader as I am!

  2. Rebecca March 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I loved all the Serendipity books. (http://stephencosgrove.com/) I know that’s not exactly an early-reader recommendation, but they just had the best stories with the cutest characters. The adorable animals were going through a lot of the emotional issues I was, and though I don’t think I consciously made the connection, I liked hearing about it from that third-person perspective.

    Oh, and the whole Prydain Chronicles series (http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Cauldron-Prydain-Chronicles/dp/0440406498) the first book I ever read that was adapted to film. And The Celery Stalks at Midnight and Count Bunnicula.

    I think as a little kid, I was fond of Dr. Seuss, because my mom tells me she used to have them memorized from reading them so much. 🙂

    • Amanda March 28, 2012 at 7:10 am #

      Oh my goodness, Rebecca! I was fascinated by Count
      Bunnicula! Thanks you for bringing that up – that absolutely made me laugh to myself. I may have to wait until the kid can handle a carnivorous bunny (did that kind of freak you out as a kid, like it did me?) though. I’ll peruse your suggestions – at the very least, it gives me something new to read. 🙂

      • Rebecca March 28, 2012 at 7:27 am #

        I think I remember the story of Count Bunnicula being scary. I was probably at the age when most kids are watching horror movies, and I was reading these books and getting all worked up over a carnivorous bunny. I think another reason why I love these books is part of the memory: My mom and I took turns reading chapters out lout to each other before bed every night.

        If you’ve never read the Serendipity books, you’re in for a treat. They’re so beautifully illustrated. I don’t fully remember the stories, but I remember staring at the pictures with fascination.

  3. Mary Jo March 28, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    Never forget Pat the Bunny. You loved it. Harold and the Purple Crayon and Goodnight Moon were read EVERY night!

  4. lelarc April 3, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    sara gillingham’s board books are the best. the best i say! aiden has been obsessed since birth. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/sara-gillingham?store=ALLPRODUCTS&keyword=sara+gillingham

    i will also be getting your little one the “mog” series by judith kerr. a baby-saving cat is always a good thing.

    • Amanda April 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      I think I remember those board books – are those the ones with the crinkly pages and such?

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