Children's Books

John Cline

From newborns to toddlers...

What were your favorites as a child... as an adult? For the parents.. what are you reading to your child(eren) and what are their favorites. Some of my personal favorites, Dr. Seuss, Where the wild things Are, Good Night Moon, Where the Sidewalk Ends...

Nov 19, 07 1:36 pm

Blueberries for Sal,
Anything by Bill Peet ie; Cyrus the Sea Serpent....etc
Tommie dePaola books.
Obviously Dr. Seuss..

For starters

Nov 19, 07 1:51 pm

Runaway Marie Louise
Flat Stanley
Madeleine (all the books)
Curious George
...oh there were so many!

Ones that I like that werent' part of my own childhood:
If you give a Mouse a Cookie

...ok that's off the top of my head for now

Nov 19, 07 2:00 pm
Roberto the Insect Architect

by Nina Laden

Nov 19, 07 2:11 pm

growing up iin the middle of nowhere, I became a voracious reader as a kid and spent many winter days at our local library. My favorites were
Anything by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I read all the spinoff series too of "Little House on the Prairie"
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - all books by Beverly Cleary
The Witches - which introduced me to the world of Roald Dahl
Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery

Nov 19, 07 2:11 pm

i personally LOVE the mr lunch books and any others by j otto seibold and vivian walsh. goofy stories beautifully illustrated. best part is that, like richard scarry books, there is the main visual story and then the other stuff going on in the background that is just as fun and makes subsequent readings less onerous. but my 2 1/2 yr old isn't ready for them yet. close.

we've loved the board books 'it's spring', the carl series, 'duck in a truck'. board books get tiring after the 50,000th read, but not much you can do about it.

these days it's curious george and arthur/d.w. for the 2 1/2 yr old.

Nov 19, 07 2:11 pm

ah, yes, both olivia and 'if you give a pig a pancake' were big with ours.

beware (unless you don't care) of stealth christian books. we got some and we can't make them go away because the oldest asks for them as part of the regular rotation. it doesn't help that the main character of one of them has her name. jerks.

Nov 19, 07 2:13 pm

ok so my post was a bit beyond the books for newborns/toddlers!
I have received a few Seuss books for smaller-potatoe's library. Can't beat "One Fish Two Fish" or "Go Dog Go"

another great one for toddlers: "Everybody Poops" by Taro Gomi

Nov 19, 07 2:14 pm
John Cline

This is wonderful guys, thanks! Richard Scarry! Thank you for that Steven.. I have a few brief memory flashes from one of his books i think.. it's a car crash? that takes up two full pages.. it's one of the most rediculous and provoking images from my childhood memory... i was hoping someone would help me remember the author.

I realize there is no end to the number of great books out there but I'm hoping this list can help me when it's time for a one.. which may be today on my way home from work!

Nov 19, 07 2:33 pm
FOG Lite

My wife is an illustrator so I'm going to sound like a snob when I say we tend to select by illustrator. Here's a quick list off the top of my head,

New Classics:
Thank You Bear
Knuffle Bunny

Preferred old school iller's:
Ezra Jack Keats
Leo Lionni
John Burningham

List of friends to pimp:
Alissa Imre Geis
Grace Lin
Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Anna Alter
Meghan McCarthy
Linda S. Wingerter

Preferred by the kid:
Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World
Mrs. Tittlemouse by Beatrix Potter
Where's Wallace by Hillary Knight

Since he's now 2.5 he's much more interested in the visually complex books than he used to be. He's also become patient enough to listen to the Winnie the Pooh books and Milne poetry. It's important to find books that you as an adult can stand to read several dozen times a day.

Nov 19, 07 2:41 pm
FOG Lite

Also, since I have a captive audience with this thread:

Robert's Snow

This is an annual fund raiser auction of Children's book illustrators original artwork to benefit the Jimmy Fund at Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute. Robert Mercer was the architect half of another Architect/ Illustrator pair who recently lost his battle with cancer.

If you have some time (and cash to burn! or perhaps just bid a couple times to drive up the prices!) check out the snowflakes on offer this year.

Nov 19, 07 3:05 pm
liberty bell

Number one: The Lorax. I read it to Angus every night when he was 8-18 months old. But he won't read it with me now because it makes him too sad to see all the fish having to walk away because their pond is polluted.

Definite yes to Richard Scarry. He has a beautiful early book, available on amazon, called "I Am A Bunny" that is just gorgeous. Not as active and frenetic as his typical books, which I read with Angus even now and love, but a great bedtime book for a baby.

When the baby is older (4 or so) the Magic School Bus books, especially the early Classic Series, with Ms. Frizzle, are amazingly wonderful. They have taught us so much about science.

All Dr. Suess are great. Also second all Ezra Jack Keats.

We started Angus at about 6 months with a picture book that had objects in various colors, a lot of which were food. I would read him the book at the table every night, and show him a drawing of a strawbeary then the actual strawbeary (oh, funny, look how I'm unthinkingly spelling "strawberry"?!!) on his plate. I honestly think his drawing skills are fantastic now because he had an early haptic exposure to the link between drawn image and object.

I love the Olivia books though these days I think they are a little too much written for adults, if you know what I mean. The illustrations are beautiful, and they are funny. But sort of a grown-up humor.

I do NOT recommend the Daniel J. Pinkwater books, which are totally adult (snide) commentary masquerading as children's books. And they're horribly drawn. However, his book "The Big Orange Splot" is absolutely wonderful and a GREAT book for an architect's child!

Enough. I could go on and on!

Nov 19, 07 3:06 pm

For purest enjoyment, though perhaps a little past toddler-hood

Maurice Sendak:

Where the wild things are

In the night kitchen:

Roald Dahl.

On a technical note, with very young babies, books tend to use primary colours and simplified shapes. This is (proven to be) meaningless to small children who have not yet got the capability to abstract (those generic shapes and arbitrary colours) from real-life. Thus the big yellow blob is exactly that, not the sun. This research is recent, and suggests photo-realistic books for babies/infants/toddlers. They will make much more sense to the child.

Nov 19, 07 3:10 pm
liberty bell

Oh dear, at risk of derailing this thread: PsyArch, your comment and mine may be at odds with each other!

Nov 19, 07 3:14 pm
FOG Lite

Also for the newborn to toddler phase I would strongly recommend board books!

Nov 19, 07 4:18 pm

Black and White

or anything by David Macaulay

Nov 19, 07 4:32 pm

nice call emaze, I still have a bunch of the Macaulay building series on my shelf

Nov 19, 07 4:36 pm

Simcock, G. & DeLoache, J. (2006). Get the picture? The effects of iconicity on toddlers' reenactment from picture books. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1352-1357.
[rel=]summary here[/url]

Apparently the change (to being able to deal with the abstract) comes between 18 and 24 months.

Still, explicating (I love that word) the link between the abstract and the object, haptic or otherways, has to be a good thing.

Nov 19, 07 5:44 pm

Sorry, summary here

Nov 19, 07 5:44 pm

According to my mom, I loved Pat The Bunny, which she gave to me last weekend for my daughter. It was my copy from 35 years ago. Very Cool of her to keep it. Where the Wild things Are used to scare the shit out of me.....

Nov 19, 07 5:48 pm

(The Afghan Hound) What A Mess:

"The younger the child, the more difficult it is to appreciate the representational relation between a symbol—including a picture—and what it stands for. Further, the lower the level of physical similarity
between symbol and referent, the more difficult it is for very young
children to exploit the relation between them"

Nov 19, 07 6:12 pm
liberty bell

Seems like a pretty valid experiment for doing the research, PsyArch, thanks for sharing the link.

There are a TON of picture - meaning photograph - books out there now: animals, baby animals, farm equipment, etc.

I also have a series of architecture photo board books that Angus loved: Architecture Counts, Architecture Colors, Architecture Animals, and Architecture Shapes. They were good teaching books, he definitely learned his shapes from those.

Nov 19, 07 6:25 pm

to add to the illustrator list check out amy walrod, she does amazing illustrations with paper. books include:

this little pirate
the little red hen makes a pizza

other current faves:

365 penguins (amazing illustrations)
where the wild things are
richard scarry's busytown book (i cant remember the name)
Dr. Seuss's sleep book

and anything Miffy by Dick Bruna.... totally underrated illustrator (at least in the US). Perfect illustrations and simple stories for the little ones....

Nov 19, 07 6:39 pm

Don't let the chicken drive the bus
by Mo Willems and all of his

-- absolutely fantastic stuff!

Nov 19, 07 8:42 pm

There's also the classic Eric Carlson books--the hungry hungry caterpillar and the like. Beautiful and seemingly captivating to children (or at least they are to me and my loved ones.)

I learned to read via a book called "The Pup Went Up" but that was mainly due to my love of a) puppies and b) flying and not necessarily due to any inherent qualities of the book itself.

I also tending to select favorites as a child based more on the resonance of their illustrations than on the story. Hence my love for Runaway Marie Louise and also for the Butterfield Wars and many of the other Seuss and Scarry books. Funny how those wacky illustrations resonate with so many of us!

Nov 20, 07 1:08 am

Any of the "This is..." series by Miroslav Sasek. His illustrations are fabulous.

Nov 20, 07 2:25 am
Nov 20, 07 2:54 am

Camus, Kafka and Sartre...

Nov 20, 07 5:09 am

judging from our reading last night, my daughter is not at all concerned about what i think a good children's book might be. we read the stupid little paper book 'based on the Tigger Movie' twice. she loves it.

another board book that went over well: Cowboy Small, a reprint from the 40s. pretty fun.

Nov 20, 07 6:42 am
Sarah Hamilton

I am having my dad bring up all my old golden back books. The new ones don't feel as nice as the old ones. And apparently, my favourite book was "Colours are nice," though I don't remember much of it other than a man in a white hat and over-alls on a ladder with a large rainbowed paintbrush.

Is it wrong to choose books based on how they will look on the shelves in the kids room? At first I mean. Eventually, I guess we will switch to ones with great materials inside, but I am one of those ANAL architect types, and hate how books can look so scattered and un uniform on a shelf. Wow, I really need help.

And Steven, the 'stealth christian books,' are they peraching gospel, or just morals? I guess I'm confused by what could be so bad about them at such a young age. Are they propaganda-ish? Just curious.

Nov 20, 07 8:52 am

the book 'adeline' about adeline addison ('it's me, daddy!') is about valentine's day. adeline gets valentines from god saying how much he loves her and watches over her and blah-blah-blah. we've resorted to changing it to 'mommy' or 'daddy' instead of god. a shame because the illustrations are very nice.

Nov 20, 07 9:10 am

oh, and 'stealth' because it isn't revealed that the valentines are from god until about 3/4 through the book.

Nov 20, 07 9:10 am
Sarah Hamilton

Ok, I could see how that would be annoying if you weren't religious. I still find her name to be so unique and remarkable. Good job on that one.

Nov 20, 07 9:14 am

Anyone read "Dirty Berty" ?

Nov 20, 07 9:19 am

from the eye candy thread,

i really loved Dinotopia...anyone read those? they are fantastic because they can certainly transcend age groups. They were some of my favorites for many years because as i grew, i found new things to be fascinated by... from the stories to the illustrations they are incredibly imaginatie and inspiring.

im really surprised no one has mentioned the book my mom read me when i was very young

Goodnight Moon

Nov 20, 07 10:46 am

mighty - as a kid "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" was a favorite - thanks for reminding me!

Nov 20, 07 11:31 am

one of my profs gave my daughter good night moon when my oldest was born. we read it now and again to the youngest now. great book.

but really architects/artists shouldn't be asked these kinds of questions. our points of view are totally skewed off center.

i have to my wife's horror/disgust bought the stinky cheeseman and where's my cow (by terry pratchett, featuring child-favorite characters such as foul ol run, coughin henry and cut-me-own-throat-dibbler, as well as some good advice about not milking chickens) for my oldest. and also all the disney fairie books. you would think my 3 year old wouldn't be interested in an of these, but basically she has skipped directly frm toddler age books to books with really long words in them, cuz she wants to be just like big sister and we thought keeping all her sisters first books would be worth it...;-)

best investment ever though is the "franklin the turtle" series. canadian books, but quite lovely, and they hae put out a "kids can read" version that i have been using to teach the oldest with. it was natural for her to go from the kids book that parents read to the kids books that she can read herself. an amazing boone here in japan where english is not seriously taught until junior high...and the illustrations of the original books are beautiful. not as fun as the stinky cheese man, but very good just the same.

Nov 20, 07 12:22 pm
FOG Lite

I'm sorry but since I spent Sunday at his museum I'll have to correct myriam here, it's Eric Carle.

The OG Golden books are great. There's been a renewed interest in them as there has been with all things "mid-century." Mary Blair (as well as Richard Scarry) was one of the original illers for the Golden books and she's been getting some interesting re-issues.

Nov 20, 07 12:36 pm

The Book B by Stan and Jan Berenstain.

No one I know has ever heard of this book but I loved it as a kid and loved reading it to my niece and nephew. Soon I will read it to my youngest nephew too.

Nov 20, 07 12:38 pm

Err, I meant The B Book. Sorry.

Nov 20, 07 12:38 pm

i remember that one, tuna. the berenstain bears, right?

Nov 20, 07 12:40 pm
liberty bell

The Little Golden books illustrated by Tibor Gergely are great; he packs SO much imagery into every page and the perspectives are all skewed and cool. The Little Red Caboose is a great one for little kids because on every page you can point to 20 objects they should know: bunny, fish, boat, school, bus, flower, house, airplane...

Nov 20, 07 12:41 pm

Wow Steven! Yup! You literally are the only one outside of my family that has ever heard of it. I guess in recent years they've also made the A Book and the C Book, but they aren't as good as the B Book.

Nov 20, 07 12:50 pm
FOG Lite

Dick Bruna and Miffy are good, just beware the book form of the TV shows.

My son is hooked on Charlie and Lola right now, the books and the TV show. Lauren Child is the illustrator and she's just done a nice re-issue of Pippi Longstocking.

Nov 20, 07 1:01 pm

thanks FOGlite, i knew there was something wrong about my memory but didn't have time to check the name. :) Eric Carle it is. I didn't know he had a museum--where is it?

Nov 20, 07 1:22 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I loved the Berenstain Bears as a kid. Actually I loved any book that included a tree house, although I never had a tree house. Sigh. But I loved them so much (the bears) that I was incredibly disapointed when at the age of 5 or so, after traveling through their entire 'town' at Cedar Point to arrive at their house, they weren't home. I'm scarred to this day.

Glad they brought the cartoon version back to PBS, though.

Nov 20, 07 1:24 pm

Yes I loved the B Bears as well, cheesy as they are. I imagine they're the type that kids love and parents can't stand, but I'm only guessing on that one.

Nov 20, 07 1:36 pm

lletdownl - re: goodnight moon. i am so glad you mentioned that book. i loved that one as a kid. i think we read it so much when i was young that my parents had it memorized.

i liked looking for the mouse too on each page.

"in the great green room..."

Nov 20, 07 3:29 pm

such a great book... thats an absolute must own for any parent with young children... everyone who was read it remembers it their whole life. it had such an impact on my mom and i that when, about a year ago, i found a beautiful print of an illustration from that book; i bought it, sent it to my mom and when she called to thank me, she could do little but cry. Im not normally the sentimental type but it really meant a lot to her...

as for bearenstein bears...

funny story...
we had those books because they had been given to us as birthday presents by our friends. My mom refused to read them too us, and at one point, took them away because she felt they painted a demeaning picture of women. She was afraid we would get the impression that mothers were supposed to be subservient and passive.

Nov 20, 07 3:38 pm
Sarah Hamilton

lletdown, thats crazy. I mean, no offense to your mother, but wow. I never got that from the books. As a matter of fact, I always found it to be quite the opposite. I mean, Mama-bear was always solving and fixing the problems, and telling the cubs to clean their rooms and do their homework. Crazy.

And, although it may completely nulify what I just said, I always hated 'Goodnight Moon.' I found it to be incredibly boring, and dark. It always kinda creeped me out. The space just looked scary. I will have to look at it again now that I am older; I havent seen it since about age 5.

Nov 20, 07 4:54 pm

Oh, actually I agree with lletdownl's mom. In fact when I was picking out some books for a child recently I flipped through the B Bears again, for old time's sake, and was like, UGH! I never realized how insipid these are, I wouldn't want to read them to my kid!

But then again, I get really pissed at all the TV commercials that portray every white guy as a dumb husband trying to get away with "guy" stuff that his wife won't let him do, for reasons that are never stated but just assumed, and all the wives are NAGGING BITCHES. argh.

Nov 20, 07 5:15 pm

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