Lucy's book list

Here is a list of some of Lucy's (and now Jonah's) favorite books. I try to make sure she is exposed to high quality literature and not "twaddle" (Ex: The real A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh not the Disney board books, etc) but we don't reject modern books just because they are modern. I happen to be a big fan of Mo Willems even though I know some purists reject him. And be sure to check out my super-long note on my divisions and ages below. 

Note: I'm still working on the links because I didn't think to add them at first but I'm getting there :-)

Baby/Board Books 

Almost anything by Sandra Boynton. Our favorites include Moo Baa La La La, The Going to Bed Book Barnyard Dance and But Not the Hippopotamos

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
A classic. I loved it from the start. Lucy took a while to warm up to it but soon loved it too. Craig doesn't like it at all but he isn't really the target audience, is he?

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Aimed at toddlers/preschoolers but it was a favorite of Lucy's from early on and is still requested frequently.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy
Weird illustrations but loved by Lucy.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
The design is not as sturdy as one would hope but I've just resigned myself to the fact that each kid will need a new copy although I've heard of people getting it rebound at Kinkos. Even with that flaw, it's a must in our house. Lucy still enjoys "reading" this one to herself.

More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams


Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
Great unless your kid doesn't have ten of each. Its one of the books I find myself suggesting to Lucy. 

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox
I didn't even realize this was written by the same author as above because it is so very different, but Lucy loved it too.

Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin
Obviously an alphabet book but it doesn't have to wait for that. The cadence is great for babies and tots too.

When Papa Comes Home Tonight by Eilleen Spinelli

Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier

Toddlers - Books Lucy liked from ~18 months +

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
A favorite for both of us. I think Sal seems oddly similar to another ragged haired, half dressed little girl in my life.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

A Day in Maine by Robert McCloskey
This is long and I didn't think Lucy would be able to handle it but she can and requests it often. I guess that is good but it really draws out the bedtime story time. (I tend to root for The Going to Bed Book :-)

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
I got this for Lucy when she was a baby and I thought it was cute but until she was 20 months old, she hated it and would throw it if I suggested it. Then one day, it became her favorite. Kids!

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
One of my favorites growing up, Lucy likes it but kinda misses the point. She gets upset when Ferdinand "has" to leave the festival :-)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Destined to be a classic, this is a newer book with an older feel.

Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Repetitive for mommy and daddy but well loved by the younger crowd.

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Whistle For Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
Another "Peter story"

A Letter for Amy by Ezra Jack Keats
More "Peter." Peter's Chair is another. We haven't read it yet but since it is about Peter getting a new sibling, I think we will soon

The big green pocketbook by Candice Ransom
A girl and her mom go shopping. The words are good but we have just as much fun "reading" this book by talking about the pictures. Great detail for a more cartoony style book.

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
A fun book for a color obsessed child when you are sick of "the red ball, the yellow sun" types. Perfect for spring.

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
Not a story but a list of fruits and veggies in alphabetical order. Not my favorite but Lucy loves to point to them while I say the name.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Who doesn't love Madeline? There are also several sequels but Lucy only likes the more concrete ones such as Madeline's Rescue, Madeline in London and Madeline and the Bad Hat. Madeline's Christmas is just weird and Madeline and the Gypsies is creepy - who is this old Gypsy women and why is she kidnapping children? Shouldn't Madeline's parents have been informed of this? Also, has anyone else noticed the illustration errors in Madeline (at the end when Madeline is still in the hospital, there are 12 girls brushing their teeth? And Madeline's bed moves from the door to the window and back) But I'm weird about things like that)

Three Cheers for Catherine the Great by Cari Best
Aimed at older kids but Lucy still enjoys it. Would be excellent for rowing.

Corduroy by Don Freeman

A Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman
Not as good as the original, but good for those hardcore Corduroy lovers

Little Bear
I normally avoid "early readers" but Lucy found this and asks for it all the time and has taken to acting out some of the stories herself.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends  by James Marshall
Three hundred plus pages of George and Martha stories and Lucy and I finished it in less than 2 days. That's some serious George and Martha love. Some of the stories are a bit odd but Lucy always picks this book up and says "Oh, George and Martha, so funny"

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
A favorite of mine from when I was a kid, Lucy likes it just as much.

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Big Red Barn by Margret Wise Brown

Night-shift Daddy by Eileen Spinelli
We had read and enjoyed this before Craig became a "night-shift daddy" himself but now that Lucy understands what the girl is doing when she tucks her daddy into bed, she loves it even more.

 Silly Tilly  by Eileen Spinelli

The Little House by Virgnia Lee Burton or any book by this author

McDuff Series - McDuff Moves In is the first I believe and so far my favorite but both kids like them all.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Preschool Picture books - 2.5/3yrs+ These are longer. Sometimes we read them all at once, sometimes we stop mid-way and treat them more like a chapter book. 

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka books by Maj Lindmon - We have almost every single one of these and have read them each countless times. They tell every day stories of three swedish triplets. I believe these were originally published in the 1930s and you can tell - not many little girls these days would be allowed to roam around picking strawberries, baking cakes and helping neighbors all by themselves but at least Lucy can live vicariously through them.

Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provenson - A great "living science" book for young kids that also makes me laugh.

The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alica Provenson - More Maple Hill Farm Fun! Not quite as funny and witty as Our Animal Friends but still enjoyable. Great for talking about seasons and months of th year along with farm yard basics, this is what a non-fiction children's book should be!

Brambley Hedge books by Jill Barklem

Anything by Beatrix Potter

Chapter Books


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
She is probably more attached to this book than any other. It is the only book she's ever fought me about taking back to the library and the only reason she stopped hugging it and saying "keep keep" at the drop box was because I promised her we would go right in and get the other copy they had. 

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne
These are knows as the pink poem book and the blue poem book and are almost a nightly read. So really, just save yourself the trouble and buy the A.A. Milne 4-pack, you won't regret it.

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Lucy's first real "chapter book" in that each chapter builds on the next. But it's still good for little ones because the chapters are very short and very funny. We always reviewed what had happened the last time we read but past the first three, if you doesn't completely remember what happened in the previous chapter, you won't be completely lost. We actually finished this is two days and as soon as we finished Lucy wanted to read it again. Luckily there are two more in the series. I consider myself to pretty well verses when it comes to children's literature but I hadn't heard of this until recently which is a shame so read it and help me spread the word.

Jeremy the Honest Bunny

The Trumpet of the Swan

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

James and the Giant Peach

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
I'm really going to have a full separate review of this book but the short story is - awesome!

Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose illustrated by Scott Gustafson
I think I looked at 10 different versions of Mother Goose books before buying this one. It has a good selection, there were only a few I didn't recognize and we ended up liking those. The illustrations are wonderful and nothing feels crowded like many other versions. The only negative is that not all of the verses are written but it still beats out any others I've seen by far.

Getting a sibling Books

Baby Brother by Tanneke Wigersma - This was a Lucy selection that turned out to be great. Lovely illustrations and cute story. Mia is writting a letter all about how her cat was acting funny and ended up having kittens while you see mom preparing for a new arrival herself and actually having a home birth (not at all graphic though, don't worry). We checked this out pre-Dewey but I think I'll make sure we check it out again several times before September.

A New Barker in the House by Tommie DePaulo - This isn't about the birth of a new "puppy" like I thought it was when I picked it up but instead is a cute book about how the Barker Family (there is a whole Barker series) adopts a 3 year old from another country. I don't have any first hand experience but I think this would be a great book for any "waiting siblings" or anyone hoping to expose their little ones to the idea of adoption in a positive way - which should be every family!

Seasonal Books

Winter:


Owl Moon by Jane Yolen - Wonderfully descriptive and great illustrations. 

The Mitten by Jan Brett - There are several versions of this. I've only read this one but want to check out the others. 


Bright Snow, White Snow by Alvin Tresselt - Poetic and sweet but still fun with it's description of the first snow from the viewpoint of adults, children and even rabbits. 

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathon London - A silly treat for anyone who thinks underwear is funny. It's a bit repetitive but it's not so bad to read as long as you are willing to make the fun sounds.

Winter Days in the Big Woods - Picture book based on the original Little House In the Big Woods book. It uses much of the same wording and similar style pictures. We read a couple of these before moving on the original. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed these and I think they work well for introducing the characters without interfering too much with a child's imagination when it comes time for the full story. 
The Bird's Gift: A Ukrainian Story by Eric Kimmel The story of a Ukrainian girl who inspires her family and town to rescue birds trapped in the snow one winter. Her "father" lets them use the church as a place to let God's creatures rest. Eventually the birds are ready to leave but come Easter morning, the villagers find a special surprise. We don't do Easter Bunny stories here so this is a nice fun story for easter time.

A Child's Easter by Patricia Pingry - I can't find this one on Amazon but judging from the comments it is not the Easter Story by Patricia Pingry that is listed there. It tells the story of a small boy who meets Jesus and then he and his family follow him through Palm Sunday, Last Supper, the Crucifixion, Resurrection and eventually meet him again on the road to Emmaus. I like how it hits all the points of the story and doesn't skirt around the issue but isn't too intense either - the family is scared when the sky turns black and is sad at Jesus' death but we don't see dripping blood. Each page ends with a bolded type statement from the boy's point of view. Most are good but several I skip because I am uncomfortable with the tone...his Father tells him how the disciples fell asleep so the boy's statement is about how he would stay awake for Jesus. Nothing major but slightly annoying to me. 

A note on age recommendations:

I wanted to segment the books somewhat to help the list be a little easier to use but I really struggled to classify them since we like to play fast and loose with age recommendations. In the end I decided to I've divided baby and toddler books by when I first read them to Lucy and she was interested but that doesn't really mean much since every kid is different. The toddler/preschool books tend to have more involved stories and more words per page but sometimes it was just that I didn't get around to checking it out till she was older but she probably would have enjoyed it months before that. And a lot of the books listed in the "baby" section are meant for preschoolers.

I would really encourage you to expect more from your kids then you would initial think when it comes to what you read to them. Several times I've picked up a book from hold only to realize it was a bit more complex than I thought and I wasn't sure if Lucy's attention would hold up. But it almost always has. Of course, if it doesn't hold her interests, we just return it and try again another time, but I'm continually surprised at what she can handle. At about 18 months, she started really enjoying longer stories such as Make Way for Ducklings and now at 22 months, her favorite book is Winnie-the-Pooh. I would never even have thought to try chapter books before the age of 3 or 4 until I read two different mothers's posts that encouraged parents to start "read alouds" for preschoolers and even toddlers. To my surprise I found that she loves "Win-Poo" and she will sit still and listen to one or two whole chapters.

At the same time, books are like friends and remember that old scout song "Make new friends, but keep the old" - it applies here. One day she make pick a chapter book for her bedtime story, the next night she is back to "Pat the Bunny " or "The Going to Bed Book." Don't pass up a good story just because your kid isn't quite in the recommended age bracket.






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