Friday, April 20, 2007

Children's Books I Like to Read

It's been a week since my last post, and I've made no progress on The Devil in the White City. So just to have a blog entry, and because it's one of my favorite subjects, here are some of the children's books I like best, and am willing to re-read either to myself or to anyone else. (When my kids were little, sometimes it was hard to find a balance between those books they wanted me to read over and over, and those books I wanted to read to them over and over.) (And sorry, I'm having trouble placing these pictures where I want them.)

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson. This is one of those rare perfect books--perfect chunk of text on each page, perfect placement of juicy drawings, perfect balance of humor and pathos, of familiarity and strangeness. And a bonus--after you're done reading, look for all the vultures in the drawings.

The Three Bears, illustrated by Fyodor Rojankovsky. This is specifically the Little Golden Books version, with illustrations that I used to love when I was little, and still do. I never noticed back then that on each page, the bears and Goldilocks were wearing different clothes, and that the chairs and the bowls and the beds also changed from page to page, as if Rojankovsky hadn't taken his drugs that day. I just got lost in the intense colors and the over-the-top patterns.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Betty MacDonald, illustrated by Maurice Sendak and Hilary Knight. I didn't discover these until I read them to my kids, and I think I like them better for that reason. I just crack myself up as I read the names of the kids that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cures, or the snidely diplomatic things she says to the worst offenders. These are funnier than her adult book The Egg and I, though that's worth a read, too.

I'll probably think of more later, but maybe you have some of your own? Feel free to comment below.

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