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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 Classic Picture Books for Young Children

There is plenty of room for debate – even internal debate -- when choosing 10 classic books for young children. Some books are a pleasure to read no matter how many times the child on your lap says, “again…!” The words flow, the illustrations absorb and the stories engage. They entrance even the most restless crowd of preschoolers. Here are the 10 classics that top my list of favorites:

1)   Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. This is a bedtime story in the most literal sense. It also soothes the sleepy child with its reassuring tone, rhythmic text and detailed pictures. Watch the moon rise while the bunny and the room settle into sleep.

2)   The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The tiny but hungry caterpillar eats his way through a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables as the days of the week countdown to Saturday when he feasts on a smorgasbord of sweets. Now bigger, he wraps himself in a cocoon then emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

3)   Freight Train by Donald Crews. A spare text and bright colors add to the thrill of a train moving across the landscape until it disappears in a blur. Choo-chooooo.

4)   Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley. Monsters can be scary but not when you know how to make them go away. This book gives the young reader a measure of control over her fears.

5)   The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. A little boy, a fresh snowfall and a morning of discovery and play are brilliantly illustrated.

6)   Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin. Repetitive text, predictability and brightly colored animals allow the young reader to anticipate what comes next.

7)   Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This is the quintessential picture book. The beautifully paced text would be nothing without Sendak’s unique illustrations. And it captures the emotional turmoil of childhood -- “We’ll eat you up we love you so!”

8)   Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. Three owl babies wake up and find that their mother is not in the nest. Worried about where she might be, they seek comfort and reassurance from each other until she returns.

9)   The Napping House by Audrey Wood. This is a cumulative story. On a rainy day, everyone and everything in the house is lulled to sleep. A tiny, wakeful flea changes everything. By the end of the book, your child’s vocabulary for sleep will have grown!

10)  Mother Goose. Any Mother Goose. My personal favorites are Tomie DePaola’s Mother Goose and The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright. These traditional rhymes introduce children to poetry, rhythm and cultural references they will encounter as they grow.

- Jessie Lacy, Youth Services, George Mason Regional Library

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My kids loved many of these and also The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear! Thanks for the walk down memory lane.