Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Miss Celie is heading to the big times this year, Kindergarten. I love this time in a child's life because it is the only time ever that they are over-the-top excited to attend school...if they only knew.

We received our "new student" paperwork this week with all our directions on uniform purchases, schedules and even summer homework. School has not even started and the kid already has homework and she couldn't be happier about it. Again, if only she knew.

So our homework for the summer is reading at least 10 books off of a pre-determined list and drawing pictures of her favorite part of each book. She is required to bring this homework with her on her first day. Now for anyone who doesn't know me well, I am a children's book fanatic. I own over 1000 children's books that I have collected over the years. This is an extremely expensive habit that I finally put a cap on a little under a year ago (and withdrawl has been wicked). So needless-to-say I own more than half of the books on this predetermined list given to us by the school.

But the point of this post is not about how many books I own but about the wonderful children's books that are out there that are not known by most parents. When I read this list I found that it was filled with the usual suspects; Eric Carle, Leo Lionni, Dr. Seuss, Jan Brett. While I am a humongous fan of these wonderful artists of the written word I also feel that so many wonderful new authors are not represented here. Many parents have these staples already in their collection. Almost every child has been exposed to our favorite Hungry Caterpillar or Sam-I-Am but what about the Leonardo that Terrible Monster, Stephanie and her ponytail, Grandma and her feather bed or even Marsupial Sue.

I don't think anyone should go through life without experiencing the brilliance of Robert Munsch. The man is a storytelling genius. His stories are written to be read out loud with feeling and humor. His characters are children that are always smarter than the adults and characters around them. The adults are hysterical and over dramatic and are always great for a laugh. If you have not ever experienced Robert Munsch please, please do. While your at it, experience his books in his own voice by listening to him read them himself I have everyone of these downloaded on CD's that Celie listens to all the time while flipping along in the books. Of course I own every Robert Munsch book ever written and couldn't even begin to decide which is my favorite story.

Another wonderful author that is meant to be read out loud is Mo Willems. Many people are familiar with that hysterical Pigeon and his love of buses but what about poor Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Edwina the Dinosaur that Didn't Know She was Extinct, Trixie and dear ol' Knufflebunny or poor wired Gerald the Elephant and his more down to earth friend Piggy. These characters are destined to become your child's best friends. They are loveable, funny and relate able. I highly recommend these becoming a staple in your library, you will love reading them as much as your child loves hearing them but if you can't make a fool of yourself don't bother. These books are only meant for adults who don't care about screaming while reading, making funny voices and taking on the high strung characters with feeling.

I could go on for hours about all my favorite friends. Like I said, I own two bookshelves full of great and wonderful books but always go back to my favorites. The ones that are the most fun to read out loud, to share with a group or just my daughter.

My Top 20 Favorite Kids Books (in no particular order)
(this was originally a list of 10 but I just couldn't get rid of any)

1. Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch
2. Leonardo the Terrible Monster - Mo Willems
3. Skippyjon Jones - Judy Schachner
4. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon - Patty Lovell
5. Take Me Out of the Bathtub - Alan Katz
6. Owl Babies - Martin Waddell
7. Little Pea/Little Hoot/Little Pig - Amy Krouse Rosenthal
8. Stella Queen of the Snow - Marie-Louise Gay
9. Good Boy Fergus - David Shannon
10. Gossie - Olivier Dunrea
11. The Kiss that Missed - David Melling
12. Grandma's Feather Bed - Christopher Canyon - John Denver
13. The Daddy Mountain - Jules Feiffer
14. Llama, Llama Red Pajama/ Mad at Mama/ Misses Mama - Anna Dewdney
15. Looking for a Moose - Phyllis Root
16. Moose Tracks - Karma Wilson - Jack E. Davis
17. My Friend is Sad - Mo Willems
18. Alice the Fairy - David Shannon
19. Millicient and the Wind - Robert Munsch
20. Marsupial Sue - John Lithgow

I invite you to comment with one or some of YOUR favorites.

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