When I was a child there were a lot of books with pretty pictures, but it has been in the past 50 years that the children’s book industry has blossomed into something truly magical and inspiring for both children and adults.
I’ll put links to Amazon and other sites on here, but I found out about most of these books by word of mouth or GOING TO MY LOCAL LIBRARY. Libraries ROCK – I urge you to GO to your local library and take advantage of all of the useful services they provide. You can also find many of the out of print books on eBay or used book stories (real life and online.)
Sammy the Seal by Sid Hoff
We found an old copy of this at our local library sale. What a find! Sammy the seal decides to go to school but finds it isn’t really the best place for him to be. Sounds simple but it will surprise you. This is an old fashioned read but so much fun. You can’t help but adore Sammy!
Halloween Pie by Michael O. Tunnell and Kevin O’Malley
You HAVE to read this one out loud and do ALL of the voices.
The scent of Old Witch’s scrumptious Halloween pie lures Vampire and Ghoul, Ghost and Banshee, Zombie and Skeleton, from their lairs for a midnight feast. This wonderful read-aloud romp, full of spooky sounds and midnight magic is sure to be a Halloween favorite.
One Witch by Laura Leuck
Absolutely charming. I will never tire of this wonderful book. One witch, on a hill, had an empty pot to fill. So what does that one witch do? She goes around to visit all her fiendish friends, naturally; two cats, three scarecrows, four goblins, five vampires, six mummies, seven owls, eight ghosts, nine skeletons, and ten werewolves.
At every stop they contribute ghoulishly tasty ingredients until the witch has enough to make a properly gruesome stew for her party. Then, of course, she must send out her invitations; to the ten werewolves, nine skeletons, eight ghosts, seven owls, six mummies…
Each Peach Pear Plum by Allen Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
A dear friend of mine gave me this book when my daughter was born. I can’t even count how many times we read this. I’ll never give my copy away!
“Each Peach Pear Plum. I spy Tom Thumb!” In this engaging, interactive book for the very young, familiar nursery-rhyme characters such as Mother Hubbard and Baby Bunting sneak their way into the gentle drawings. Even young children who might not know all the fairy-tale stars can find them lurking in the cupboard, on the stairs, or deep in the woods. In the happy finale, the whole cast meets up for plum pie in the sun, where the little one on your lap will gleefully find everyone. http://www.amazon.com/Each-Peach-Pear-Picture-Puffins/dp/014050639X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336491325&sr=1-1
Go, Dog. Go! By p.d. Eastman
All I can say is that this book is one of the most perfect and brilliant books ever written. It has it all: fast cars, parties, adventure, gambling, romance, sports and more. If you haven’t read Go, Dog. Go! you’ve been sleeping way too long in your coffin. Time to wake up and read the book.
Most people don’t know that after the first book “The Wizard of Oz” there were more. 14 OZ books written by L. Frank Baum and many more written by other writers.
While I like the first book – I love the rest, especially Dorothy and the Wizard In Oz and The Patchwork Girl of Oz.
Oz is a land where girls rule. Dorothy, Glanda, Ozma and other strong girls take charge!
When the series continues after the first book and (John R. Neill takes over the illustation) the entire tone of the books changes. Dorothy is transformed from a chubby frumpy farm girl who longs for home, to a dynamic, sharp, stylish girl who is almost like a hip young Hillary Clinton. Oz becomes a place where you’ll meet talking cats with an attitude, where anything can come to life and there is a surprise around every corner.
Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak
My favorite book by Maurice Sendak is Outside Over There. It is not only one of the most beautiful books ever written, but one of the most touching and magical books I’ve ever read. It is a story of Ida who is watching her baby sister, but not so well, because her baby sister is kidnapped by goblins. Of course Ida must go on a quest to rescue her sister. It is a story as only Maurice Sendak can tell though his wonderful words and illustrations.
Some people believe the movie Labyrinth was based on this book.
The next two books are by Daniel Pinkwater – a brilliant storyteller. If you haven’t heard of him look him up on the NPR web site archives (NPR.org)
Irving and Mukuk: Two bad Bears by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater
This is one of those spit milk out of your nose pee your pants funny books. Jill Pinkwater’s illustrations are too much FUN and perfect for this story!
Wolf Christmas by Daniel Pinkwater and Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater
A touching Christmas story about a group of wolves who become curious about the human celebration of Christmas. My favorite Christmas Story.
Daniel Pinkwater reading “Wolf Christmas”: http://www.npr.org/2010/12/25/132324290/Daniel-Pinkwater-Reads-Wolf-Christmas
A fun book that will make you wish you have Lyle the crocodile living with you. A charming book about the Pimm family and the unexpected bonus they find when they move into the house on East 88th Street!
The best gift (aside from common sense) you can give your child is the gift of reading and story telling.
Please feel free to let me know if you have any favorites you’d like to post or an author you’d like to feature (especially indie authors). If you are an author of YA or kids’ books, and if I feel you’d make a good fit for this blog, I’d love to help you get the word out about your work! That goes for illustrators too!
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman