Nothing quite compares to snuggling up to a good book and escaping into its pages with your child. Then there are books you hide or sneak into your thrift shop donation box, hoping you’ll never have to read them again. We’ve all been there.
Right now at our house, there is a library book about Goofy going sledding that is about to drive me insane, but my 2-year-old will have me read it to him at every opportunity. And I do because how can you say no to a child asking you to read to him or her?
I let the kids pick books from the library at their pleasure, but I also enjoy picking them out myself. I love books written by Dr. Seuss, Jane Yolen, Mercer Mayer, Jan Brett and Karma Wilson. The “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” and Skippyjon Jones series are great favorites at our house. “Goodnight Moon” and “Where the Wild Things Are” will always have a special place on our bookshelves.
But outside of the classics of my childhood and today’s popular franchises, there are so many treasures we’ve found in the course of bringing bulging bags of books home after story time and spending the week exploring their pages.
Poetry or prose, some books just resonate with me as a mother, and I could read them over and over again. Here is a list of 12 picture books I could read with my kids every day.
This book is well-loved by all my children. The simple, welcoming illustrations and narration can be understood by a baby, but older kids love the mystery of the book and looking for the little chick’s parents, who can be glimpsed in the background. My kids love the illustrations, the hatching scene and the little chick’s happy ending. I have been reading and enjoying it as long as I’ve been a mother.
I fell in love with this book at storytime at the library where it was read with such pizzaz, yelling and shouting that we brought it home with us that same day. Mr. McGreely has finally realized his dream of planting a garden, but three sneaky bunnies come by night and — muncha, muncha, muncha — eat all his hard work. This book is best read quickly with voices and mock-shouting and throwing yourself into the rhythm of the words. It is a blast to read.
Dr. Seuss-like in its whimsy and word choices, almost every line in this book has 11 syllables and rhymes in couplets. I was a little surprised to see a book written by the musician, and after renewing this one to the limit at the library, I can say this book is just as good and clever as his songs. I love the messages this conveys to children — they can grow up to be whatever they want to be, and their imagination is the only limit. I have been known to lapse into singing Yankovic’s “Yoda” while I read this book because “I met him in the swamp down in Dagobah” also happens to have 11 syllables.
"AND THEN IT'S SPRING" by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead, Roaring Brook Press, 2012, $16.99
Perfectly capturing the brown-to-green spring transformation, this book has fueled my kids’ love for our garden. It’s helped them understand the waiting game of gardening, and to appreciate the work we do there. Both the words and pictures are simple but expressive of the curiosity of childhood and the anticipation of spring.
"MAÑANA IGUANA," by Ann Whitford Paul, illustrated by Ethan Long, Holiday House, 2004, $17.95
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