Several of these books were books that were read to me at one time or another when I was very little some of which I have read again in later years and a few books that I read on my own as I was growing up.
Amos and Boris by William Steig
I think Amos and Boris is one of the best stories for teaching children what being a good friend is about. It's about Amos the Mouse and Boris the Whale, two entirely diverse characters in size, looks, and the worlds they come from who become the most unlikely of friends when they help each other out of very dire circumstances.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
In the Night Kitchen follows the travels of Mickey as he dreams his way through a surreal and magical world helping to bake a cake. I guess it is somewhat controversial because Mickey is nude in certain pictures. As a little kid I honestly never even thought about that though. I just loved the story and the artwork and the adventure. Also as a kid lots of times I had to be naked to take a bath so the whole nakedness of a kid in the book didn't freak me out, but I can understand how some parents might object to it in a children's book.
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
I guess this is kind of the ANTI-Industrial Revolution book for kids. Haha. Not really, but it's about a little house that is in the country and has a big city grow up around it and it can no longer enjoy the beauty and peace and quiet of living in the country. The house eventually gets moved out of the city though and to a new country location.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
This is a book for older little kids that I read by myself. It's about a teen aged sister and her little brother who are essentially orphaned when they get left by their tribe alone on an Island. The story follows all the things the girl must do to help her and her brother survive.
The Saga of Erik the Viking by Terry Jones, Michael Foreman
I loved this story by Terry Jones when I was a kid. I particularly loved the artwork in the book and I think it's a great read-a-long book. It follows Erik the Viking and some of his viking hero friends Thorkild and Sven the Strong as they go on adventures and must defeat a variety of creatures and monsters. Thinking back on it I'm a bit reminded of a child's version of the Odyssey in a way, even though I'm not sure if that's what was intended.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowy Day is a book about a young boy named Peter and his adventures out in the snow. I particularly remember the part in the book when Peter brings a snow ball back into his house. It's weird how as a little kid I thought of the snowball almost as an animate object, even though I knew it wasn't and I didn't want it to melt. This book might have been the beginning of my love for snowfalls.
Jon and the Little Lost Lamb: The Parable of the Good Shepard by Jane Latourette
I always liked this book because it was about a boy named Jon, who spelled Jon, J-O-N just as I did and how he took care to find his little lost lamb. I also remember Mom helping me to construct a school book project diarahma for the story. I thought the Lamb that Mom helped me make looked really cute. We used some combination of popsicle sticks and cotton balls if I remember correctly. Mom may have to help me with my memory on that one though. =)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
My parents read us a lot of classics, but I think we were first introduced to The Very Hungry Caterpillar in pre-school. The colorful artwork and story of how the Caterpillar eats and grows eventually into a beautiful Butterfly is a classic read-a-long. The layout and format of the pictures makes it a very fun read too.
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
My sister Heather probably read Madeline to Clifford and I a few times when we were little. I believe that Heather can actually recite good portions of the story by heart, if not the entire story. It was one of her favourite books and one Mom had read to her on several occasions. I always though that Madeline was awesome. All the other girls in the school complained about things and seemed like little drama queens, while Madeline was the cool one who wasn't phased by anything.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Like a few of the childrens books of my childhood, this was later made into a movie. I think as a kid I just liked any story with food in it. So what better place to live than in a world who's weather revolves around food?
The Bunnicula series by James Howe
I read the Bunnicula series on my own when I was able to read on my own. I loved it! Bunnicula is a vampire bunny who sucks the color out of vegetables. The bunny is always suspected of foul play because of weird happenings and mysteries that the family pets, including a dog and a cat must help to uncover. I remember the books being funny and also loving the mystery aspect of them.
Be Nice to Spiders by Margarette Bloy Graham
Mom read Be Nice to Spiders to all of us when we were little. Along with Charlotte's Web it was probably the reason I leave the spiders in my house alone and just hope they take the bad bugs out. haha
The Mr. Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves
It was both Clifford's and my goal as little boys to try and collect all of the Mr. Men and Little Miss books. They all tell a great story about a character that defines a certain personality trait and the character's special trait can get them in trouble but can also help to teach them a valuable lesson. Clifford and I loved the artwork because it was simple enough to try and draw the characters ourselves. We never collected all the books, but perhaps that should be something to add to my bucket list.
My mini-synopsis of the books is purely off of memory of them. Many of which I have not read in decades so if I messed something up I apologize. These books just touch the surface of the reading I did as a child and the many books I came to enjoy or love over the years. I'm sure that over the next several weeks other ones will pop back into my memory that I wish I had remembered to mention here.
Hopefully if any of our blog readers have young children are teachers of young children or are just children at heart they will enjoy reading a few of the books from my childhood. =)