Oh The Places You’ll Go…

I’m having a niece!!!!!!

Let me explain.

My sister is expecting.  She’s due in October and her baby shower is next weekend.  Now, sadly, I’m not going to be able to go to the shower because of its extensive relative location to my home (it’s pretty far).  HOWEVER, and I think this is genius, instead of cards, they are doing books.  Basically, you inscribe the inside of a book and baby girl has a built in personalized library from the get go.  How brilliant is that?!?!!?!  Plus I can send a bunch of books and my niece will have little pieces of me as she grows up.  Love it!

Before I forget, I want to show you something:

Tell me where you’ve seen anything so precious.  That’s right, never!  I don’t care how cute your kid/niece/gerbil are, they aren’t cuter than this face. Truth.

Anyway, in honor of my sister, and as yet unnamed niece, I’d like to share my Top 10 Favorite Children’s Books.

So here I go…

10) Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up – Okay, so it’s actually three books, but they all have the same author.  I love the works of Shel Silverstein.  With their charm and quiet lessons, they introduce kids to poetry and inspire enormous imaginations.

9) Amelia Bedelia – This 1963 classic by author Peggy Parish is the first of a series of books by the same name.  Amelia Bedelia is a well-meaning maid to a wealthy family who takes her list of chores a bit too seriously (when asked to “dress the chicken” she puts little clothes on it.  LOVE) Her job, and possibly life, are saved by her exceptional lemon meringue pie.  Don’t be fooled.  Pie matters.

8) The Lorax – “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees! For the trees have no tongues…” Part environmental warning, part consumerism, this Dr. Seuss gem is as poignant today as it was when it was written in 1972, maybe more.

7) The Littlest Angel – A sweet book about the true meaning of Christmas, this story, written by Charles Tazewell in 1962 is a special memory to share with a child.  Just make sure you have a tissue handy for you…

6) Harold and the Purple Crayon – Harold has a purple crayon.  That’s kind of it, honestly.  But from such a simple plot stems a wild world of imagination.  This book is the first in a series by author Crockett Johnson.

5) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Every had a day when you just felt like moving to Australia? One of the reasons that I love this book, besides the comically horrible day that author Judith Viorst, is that his day doesn’t get better.  Instead, his mom assures him that everyone has bad days.  It’s a good lesson to learn, and one to remember, even as an adult.

4) And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street – A 1937 commentary on how adults stifle children’s imaginations, this is the second appearance of Dr. Seuss on the list.  The wild and fantastic things that Marco imagines make us all look a little harder at our surroundings.

3) If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – This 1985 literary gem is also baby’s first syllogism. It follows a (kind of) logical path from giving a mouse a cookie to cleaning the whole house and back again. Written by Laura Numeroff, it inspired a number of other books of the same variety, but this one is by far the best.

2) The Wheel On the School – The message of this book is simple: If you think, and wonder why, things will begin to happen and dreams will come true.  This wonderful work by Meindert DeJong won the 1955 Newbery Medal.  Illustrated by the illustrious Maurice Sendak, the story is of a small fishing village that starts with a question (Why are there no storks in Shora?) and ends with a community that comes together to make a dream a reality.

1) Goodnight Moon – I don’t think I really even need talk about this.  Margaret Wise Brown, 1947. Brilliant.  Done.

It occurs to me as I made this list and did a little research on each one of the books that every single book on this list was written before I was born, save one (Falling Up was published in 1996). All but one.  Really good literature stands the test of time, and children’s lit is no different.

So now, I want to know: which of your favorites made the list, and which do you think I should have added?

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