I started collecting children’s books about 8 or 9 years ago when I was enrolled in a children’s literature course during my undergraduate career. I forgot about the purchased titles until I was pregnant with my son. I pulled these books and shelved them with the dozens we got at our baby shower and that I found at thrift stores. Some are major misses. Some we haven’t been able to enjoy because he isn’t there, yet. But others, are major hits in our house. Keep reading for our household favorites.
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
This is one of the titles I bought for class. I didn’t think my son would enjoy this one because it isn’t about animals or trains – it’s about a girl who mysteriously wakes up covered in stripes on the first day of school. The recommended grade level for this title is K-3 but R has requested it multiple times and sits for the entire story (it’s 32 pages with a paragraph of text on each page). I have been using it to assist in reading comprehension for him (What do you think will happen to her? type questions).
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
This is read every. single. time we read in our house. I recommend the pictured copy, as it allows your children to slide and find the answer to the question; this is R’s favorite thing about the book. The book is wonderfully repetitive and great for teaching colors. You can typically always find this title (and edition) at Target. We got ours at Goodwill, though!
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
R picked this out for one of his summer reading contests at the library and loves it! It centers around a zookeeper who says goodnight to all of the animals. Without knowing it, his gorilla frees all of the animals behind him who follow the zookeeper home. I love the repetition and R likes repeating the story and pointing out the animals.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
Okay, I’ll admit, this is my favorite children’s book! I first discovered it when I was a preschool teacher working with two-year olds. I have not met a child yet who dislikes The Little Mouse. They quickly learn the story and can recite it with you. R was no different. We would still read it at home had it not fallen apart (I swear I am going to replace it… as soon as I buy all that other stuff in my “Save for Later” section of my Amazon cart).
The Monster at the end of this Book by Jon Stone
How many of you remember this title? It was originally published in 1971 and both my sister, who was born in ’79, and myself, born in ’87, remember loving this book as children. One day I saw it on Amazon Prime Now for $2.99 and scooped it up! Two hours later I was reading it to my son. It didn’t go over so well the first time (he was bored) but soon he began asking for the monster book. If you aren’t familiar with the title, fair warning, don’t read it at bedtime. Not because your child will get scared but because it may cause hyperactivity.
No, David by David Shannon
After reading a title so many times, your child will learn the words. No, David is that book for us. David is mischievous little boy who is constantly being told no, like when he runs out of the house without pants (R’s favorite part: “He got a naked booty!” he says). At first I was afraid that R might repeat some of the bad behavior illustrated but he is able to tell me that what David is doing is wrong. Lessons aside, the book is cute. Sometimes I replace David with my son’s name, making him laugh. Like The Little Mouse, this book is on my replacement list as it has been well loved.
The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
A colleague mentioned once that his son loved the Pout-Pout Fish. I kept confusing it with Rainbow Fish, which I dislike, and never bothered to check it out. After 2 solid months of reading No, David to my kid every night, I finally checked it out from work. We renewed it so many times that the Easter Bunny finally brought a copy last year. This is the most recent book R learned to recite, and it’s a tough one! R’s favorite part is at the end where I cover him in smooches as we read “Smoooch Smoooch Smooooch Smoooooch!”
The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort
If your child likes the song “The Wheels on the Bus,” s/he will love this title. I first checked it out on a whim from work not realizing it was an update to the classic song. R loves it when I make the animal sounds: The seals on the bus go arf arf arf arf arf arf… I renewed this book up to the limit, too. The summer after, he got it for completing Summer Reading at the library.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I don’t think you are allowed to have a child and not have an Eric Carle book in the house. 😛 This is our favorite. It’s short, sweet, and easy to learn; plus it is great for science AND days of the week!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
If you don’t know this book you may have been living under a rock. I was never into it until I bought it for R a few months ago (I was on a “get the classics” kick) at Half Price Books. One night, while on the potty, I decided to read it to him. Upon finishing of the story, he had me read it again and again and AGAIN. He calls the wild things monkeys and tells me he will eat me up regularly. ❤
So that’s it! I am sure this list will grow in the coming years but as of now, these are the tried and true titles in our home.