A friend suggested that I do a series of posts about our Family Favorites. I’m not sure that anybody will care much about our faves, but on the other hand, it could be fun. Plus, you can add your family favorites in the comments and then we’ll have a nice resource going for everyone.
We are a book-loving family, so I decided to start off with something that my kids could participate in, Favorite Picture Books. We’ve got a hefty collection of them and have spent hours reading these old favorites. A few have been loved so much that we are on second or third copies.
Rusty decided to get technical and set up an online poll which made my survey feel much more official. We brainstormed a list of picture books we have enjoyed over the years and I emailed the poll to all of my big kids. The younger six don’t have email accounts, but I helped them add their votes.
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Here they are, in order:
1. Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes
This is a funny book for all ages, even adults. We bought our first copy in 1991 and have not grown tired of it.
2. Officer Buckle & Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
This is another funny book, and is extra humorous to us because my brother-in-law is a police officer. We gave this book to our nephew, Jack, for his second birthday.
3. The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
I love the message about extended families featured in this book. I’m not a huge fan of the illustrations, but the story is good enough to make up for them. Some of my kids love the silly illustrations, which may explain why they voted it #3.
Lovely illustrations and touching stories are featured in these two books. Island Boy is Russ’ all time favorite picture book. Last year I found a hard copy being sold by a man in Maine who included a personal note and a photo of the actual location of the story. I was so excited to give it to Russ for Christmas. Miss Rumphius is a long time favorite; we always think of the Lupine Lady when we see lupines.
5. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Another favorite by Kevin Henkes; I guess we appreciate his sense of humor! This is a perfect book for children who have unusual names.
6. The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward
Originally published in 1953, this book probably wouldn’t be a Caldecott winner today due to its non-PC storyline…but we like it! The illustrations are especially wonderful.
Both of these stories feature kind relationships between people and animals that will make you smile. When we lived in Ithaca, NY, we traveled to Boston where we saw the sweet little duckling statues in the Boston Public Garden. I have photos of Sweet Pea and Mimi sitting on the backs of the ducklings.
8. Jamberry by Bruce Degen
This was Eby’s favorite book for the first year he was home and I read it many, many times.
9. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Dimples likes this book!
10. The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook by Shirley Hughes
I love all of the books in this list, but I can still remember the day many years ago when I discovered the books of Shirley Hughes tucked on a bottom shelf in the Ithaca library. Her sweet illustrations and simple stories appealed to me and before long we had read all of the books available. We own at least four of her books and I always look for them at books sales and in used bookstores.
It was downright painful to limit myself to ten favorites (and I managed to squeeze in two extras), so I am compelled to include the other books from our original list: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Angelina Ballerina, Angelina’s Birthday, Corduroy, Curious George Goes to the Hospital, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Honeybee wanted to vote too, but didn’t know all of these books. She voted for a few and then added two of her favorites, Green Eggs and Ham, and Laura’s Christmas. Both are for much younger children, but she loves reading Dr. Seuss to the little boys and has been drawn to Laura’s Christmas and other books in that series since she arrived home.
I have a few personal favorites that didn’t make the cut, mostly due to the fact that we found them after our older kids were beyond picture books. Boo and I love Flora’s Blanket and checked it out from the library many times when she was three and four. We also have enjoyed THE GUINEA PIG ABC, a slightly quirky ABC book, but it is out of print and not always easy to find.
I recognize that I haven’t listed the books that are new to us since our Ethiopian children joined our family, especially books featuring black children, African culture, and adoption. I think those deserve a post all their own. If you have suggestions for that list, send them my way.
We also haven’t touched on Bible storybooks, chapter books, non-fiction, my bookgroup reads, the list goes on and on. I love books, I only wish I had more time to read…
I hope you’ll find a new friend on this list that you can pick up next time you go to the library.
Leave a comment with your favorite picture books!
Coming up next week: Favorite Bedtime Songs
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