28 July 2006

Talk amongst yourselves: Introducing your kid to the books you loved as a child...which books?

From Margaret:

There are a lot of great books written for kids now, especially fiction series, but what are the books you loved as a child that you are looking forward to introducing your child to? Since my daughter is now in the wanting-to-read-big-kids'-books phase, my reliving-my-childhood-series includes Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace, The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the many Enid Blyton series, and the Shoes (ballet, etc.) books by Noel Streatfield.

Mine: The Narnia books and The Secret Garden.


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I love the Harry Potter books, the "Ramona" books, as well as the Narnia ones. The Secret Garden and the Little Princess are ones I'll look forward to reading my toddler when she gets older too.

My favorites:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374386137

Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060572345

I bought my eight-year-old a boxed set of Judy Blume's "Fudge" books a few months' back. He is loving them. (My very favorite Judy Blume book was "Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaret?" but it didn't seem like the right pick, so I went with some other JB books instead. I'm sure he'll get to it eventually. He's reading his way through her entire collection. (I guess I'll have to hide "Wifey," at the bookstore!) :-)

I Loved The Borrowers as a child, so I will be reading that series to my kids this summer. I think my oldest has already read and enjoyed it. We also found Edward Eager's Half Magic and Magic by the Lake to be "must reads" & "must have in our personal library.

So many favorites I get to enjoy again: Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Madeleine, The Happy Lion, Babar, Dr Seuss, KiKi Dances, anything by Brian Wildsmith or Eloise Wilkins, Harry the Dirty Dog, etc...

I loved Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I loved The Giving Tree so much that I bought it in spanish and take it on mission trips to read to the children.

I adored Susan B. Cooper's The Dark Is Rising cycle.

This summer we've been reading Kay Thompson's Eloise books, but my six-year-old has two favorite series of her own:

Junie B. Jones

Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my favourite book as a kid, and it was the first book I bought for my son. Other than that I used to love the old "Goosebumps" books, and absolutely anything by Enid Blyton.

All the Freddy the Pig books

all the Encyclopedia Brown books

As noted, The Great Brain

100 Pounds of Popcorn (a great capitalist primer)

My daughter's only two, but she's already enjoying "The Fourteen Bears" (so unfortunately out of print) and Eleanor Horwitz's "When the Sky Is Like Lace", both of which I liked at a little older age--I swear the language in Sky is Like Lace is one of reasons I became a poet.. (Also, A Very Special House by Sendak and somebody else is really great for 1+.) In another year or so I plan to get out Russell Hoban's "Frances" series (Bread and Jam, Bedtime, Best Friends, A Baby Sister, etc.)...and I can't can't wait until she's old enough for Louise Fitzhugh's "Harriet the Spy", which I think I had read 11 times by the time I turned 8.

Later on, there are a whole bunch of YA books in the "smart girls get what they want" category--"Seven Daughters and Seven Sons", "The Perilous Gard", those awesome ones "Charlotte Sometimes" and "The Summer Birds"; and a lot of Jon Christopher's YA stuff and Madeleine L'Engle's.

I tend to think you're almost never too young for The Hobbit (although I had to have mommy read me the scary dragon bits the first time). We'll be getting to all that in a couple years, I hope.

Anything by Enid Blyton, the Nancy Drew series, and as an avid animal lover (and veterinarian) James Herriot and Gerald Durrel. Also Pippi Longstocking and Paddington the bear.

My favorite book was The Neverending Story. I started reading with comic books like, the X-men, Batman, and Superman... I couldn't get my son to read anything, so one day I tossed him an old comic, and yes, I still have most of them. Now I end up buying him his own, or live in fear of losing mine. He has moved on to books of Dragons and Wizards with grand adventures, but still loves the comics as much as I.

If you like magical realism type of stuff: Mary Poppins by P.L Travers. So much better than the Disney version.

Freddy the Pig, seconded!

Half Magic, enthusiastically seconded!

Bertrand Brinley's "Mad Scientist Club" stories are also exceptionally fine -- nerdy, realistic (grounded in real science), and lots of fun.

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster is an all time favorite. It's great to read aloud (for both parents and the kids) and that much sweeter when you're old enough to read it to yourself and catch/see the wordplay. Oh, see, now you've done it -running to the bookcase to dust this one off and crack it open...again...and feeling like a little kid already. Children and books both have that power to whisk us back to the best memories of our own youth, yes? Combining these is as great as it gets. I think I'll stay up all night and read this one under the covers by flashlight...just for old time's sake. Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be reading this to my boy, almost forgot :)

I'm nodding vigorously to many of the above posts, and would add my two favorites, which I still have all tattered from my childhood, are Suzuki (Beane, the Baby Beatnik), which is unfortunately out of print, and The Little Prince.

P.S. The Fourteen Bears has been reissued and is available on Amazon.

Ah, a post reminded me that Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals" was a great read and would be appropriate to read out loud to my six year old.

I loved having Madeleine L'Engle read to me when I was six but my own wouldn't sit for it.

I remember "Where the Wild Things Are" giving me nightmares and I never bought it for my kid.

I didn't have them as a kid but the Robert Munsch books are very popular here ("Paperbag Princess") as are the Little Miss and Mr. books. Everyone seems to remember those Little Miss/Mr. books but I never saw them as a kid.

I loved "The Trolleycar Family" but alas, it looks a little hokey now.

Try "The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" for older kids. A pre-teen brother and sister slip off to live at the Met in NYC and solve a mystery while they are there. I loved the idea of living in a museum!

"You Read to Me & I'll Read to You: Stories to Share from the 20th Century" is a big collection of classic stories (Ferdinand, Mike Mulligan, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Frances etc) that we travel with. There is another one for older kids.

My son's too young for it now, but I'm looking forward to reading the Little House books to him.

I loved a book called The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Really appealed to my sensibilities for some reason. diverse characters, urban setting, lots of imagination and history and plenty of scary.

I've never found anyone else who has heard of my favorite book: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julie Andrews Edwards. My fourth grade teacher read it aloud to us and when I bought my own copy I was surprised to find it didn't have pictures- just vivid descriptions. And, yes, that Julie Andrews.

jill, you just reminded me how much i loved another julie andrews edwards book, Mandy!

i recently read one of my favorite books to my 4-year-old: the velveteen rabbit. it was so moving to watch her, totally spellbound, listening to this story that had meant so much to me as a child. fortunately my daughter seemed unperturbed by my weeping the entire time. she's also enjoyed bread and jam for frances, all of a kind family and pippi longstocking, all of which i loved as a kid.

the ones i still can't wait to share are the narnia books, the phantom tollbooth, the saturdays, and a series i read as an adult: harry potter! testament to how good those books are that i feel as if they were books i'd loved as a kid, and i so look forward to discussing them with her (and her little sister, one day).

I also wanted to mention the All-of-a-Kind-Family series--another favorite!

Oh, there are so many books that I've bought in anticipation!

Where The Wild Things Are
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Richard Scary books
Dr. Seuss books
Curious George books
Leo the Lop
Scuffy the Tugboat
Shel Silverstein books
Alligator Pie (that one was Hubby's favourite)

More to come...

Winnie The Pooh books
The Pokey Little Puppy
Berenstein Bears books

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