Lucas is now at the age where he can sit and listen to a longer story. Since I was a classroom teacher in my former life and a book lover for as long as I can remember, I have books, and lots of them. (LOTS of them). Recently, I brought down some of my nice hardcover picture books and Lucas and I have been making our way through them. We snuggle up on the couch and read together. I love that he adores books so much. He looks forward to trips to the library and especially to the bookstore.
I wanted to share some of his favorites in case you love children’s literature too. These are the books he requests (and recites) most often:
1. The Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney. These are charming short rhymes that are right at Lucas’s developmental level. He can definitely relate to Little Llama’s struggles. Our three favorites are: Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Llama Mad at Mama, and Llama Llama Time to Share.
2. The Olivia books by Ian Falconer. This is my favorite children’s book series. The heroine of the books is a young pig named Olivia (“Falivia” according to Lucas) who is creative and precocious and tries the patience of her family at every turn. I still laugh every time I read them and having a tenacious toddler of my own only makes them more funny. Let’s hope Lucas doesn’t get too many ideas from Olivia. We have five of these books: Olivia, Olivia Saves the Circus, Olivia Forms a Band, Olivia and the Missing Toy, and Olivia Helps With Christmas. It’s hard for me to choose my favorite because I love all of them. If pressed I’d say it’s a tie between Olivia and the Missing Toy and Olivia Helps With Christmas.
3. The Curious George books by Margaret and H.A. Rey. We have this entire series and Lucas likes them all. I do paraphrase because they are a bit wordy for his age, but they are great, classic stories. Lucas loves to watch George get into trouble and exclaim, “Oh no, George!!”
4. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. Lucas loves all the animals in this book and he loves the rhythm of the words and the bright illustrations. Thanks to this book he considers all giraffes to be named Gerald.
5. Roger Duvoisin books. Lucas’s favorites are Veronica, Donkey-donkey, and Petunia’s Christmas. These are books that I had as a child. They were published in the 1950s and 60s. Because of that, the language is a bit more, shall we say, blunt, than most children’s books today. For example, from Veronica, “I must hide quickly or I am lost,” she said breathlessly. “These people surely want to beat me up.” Or this gem from Donkey-donkey: “This is the stable door with a scythe hanging on a big nail and Donkey-donkey just about to enter. He enters as usual. But unfortunate donkey! The wicked nail met his ear and pierced it painfully.” Petunia’s Christmas has a section where a farmer comes after Pentunia (who is a goose) and plans to shoot her with his “two-barrel gun” because she scared his wife in order to free the goose that they were going to eat for Christmas. It makes me a little uncomfortable so I have changed the wording on occasion (“Veronica ran away from the grumpy people…Donkey-donkey got an owie….The farmer was mad that his goose was missing”). Lucas is fascinated with these books so we read them often even though, in my opinion, they benefit from a little editing.
Reading with Lucas is one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s fun to see his imagination come alive, to see his understanding of the world expand, to see him relate to characters in the stories and feel empathy. It’s fun to hear his comments and get a glimpse into the way he views and interprets the stories. It’s fun to see him anticipate a favorite part or page or picture. And who doesn’t love snuggling on the couch with a cute little three year old? I’m so glad for these special, quieter moments.
So I’m wondering, what are your favorite children’s books?
“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit down and relax, all you need is a book.” ~Dr. Seuss