My grandson Daniel celebrated his first birthday a few weeks ago. He is a delightful, energetic child. Steve and I savor each minute we spend with him.
He enjoys playing with his toys and he learns new skills as he presses buttons, twists knobs, and pushes his riding toys around his living room. His parents “read” picture books to him, but Daniel isn’t ready yet for story books. In anticipation of the day when he is old enough to sit and listen to a story, I am compiling a list of my favorite books from my childhood that I plan to share with Daniel. Using the Internet, I was able to find photos of the book covers I remember from my childhood.
1) Frog and Toad Books by Arnold Lobel. This four-book series teaches young readers the true meaning of friendship through the daily interactions of these two different but steadfast friends. My mother discovered theses books when I was in college. I enjoyed reading the stories to my much younger siblings and later to my own children. “The Surprise” from Frog and Toad All Year is one of my favorite depictions of true friendship.
2) The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I received this book soon after moving to Virginia when I was 6. I was experiencing snow for the first time that I could remember. Like Peter, I was thrilled to wake up and see snow and couldn’t wait to get outside to build snowmen and make snow angels.
3) The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. Amazon lists this as the Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club Edition from 1965. I can still remember the excitement of receiving my monthly package from the book club and eagerly opening it to see what book had arrived. This one became a family favorite. As a teenager, I read it to my younger siblings whenever they were sick. This copy is still in the family and read often.
4) The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum. The first time I read the book was to my own children when Chris was 6 and the twins were 5. In the movie, the wicked witch uses poppies to put Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion to sleep; Glenda causes it to snow and awakens them. In the book, they are rescued by mice who build rafts and float the sleeping pair down the river. Much cooler! When we read this scene, Chris announced that “books are better than movies”. That’s my boy!
5) Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. I read this book over and over when I was about 6. I guess I thought maybe one time, Mike and the Steam Shovel would get out of the basement. I am delighted to say that Daniel already owns a chunky toddler-friendly version of it.
6) Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater. One of our all time favorites. My sisters and I loved for mom read this book to us. Now that Jim Cary has made it into a movie, I’m sure more children will be exposed to this delightful tale. I can’t wait until Daniel is old enough to watch the movie with his grandma and grandpa.
7) Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. When Mr. Willowby’s christmas tree arrives, it is much to large to fit into his house. He cuts off a portion which is rescued and become someone else’s tree. But, alas, it is too large and the top is lobbed off again. The cycle repeats itself several times.
8) The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear. I loved reading this imaginative poem about two creatures madly in love sailing off in a “beautiful pea green boat” with “some honey and plenty of money.”