My Convertible Life

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday's Five: Classic Children's Books

I love that there are so many wonderful new children's books that Junius and I get to discover together. But I also enjoy sharing the classics with him, particularly ones that I read as a child. He's still a little young for the original seven Chronicles of Narnia (although we have read the Chick-Fil-A versions) or my weathered copy of The Trumpet of the Swan, but I'm looking forward to breaking those out in years to come.

In the meantime, here are five children's books he and I both like that have survived the decades in my library:
  • The Story of Ferndinand: Written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936). This sweet tale of a young bull who likes to sit in the shade and smell the flowers always makes me smile. My old copy has a gray cloth cover that reminds of a suit jacket, making it feel even more like a classic.

  • A Fish Out of Water: Written by Helen Palmer and illustrated by P.D. Eastman (1961). My tattered copy of this cute story came from my cousin Dereck, inscribed to him from someone I don't know. Read it to find out what happens when a little boy feeds his fish Otto too much -- Mr. Carp to the rescue!

  • Frog and Toad Together: By Arnold Loebel (1979). The series of shorts about two friends are sometimes melancholy and sometimes comical, but always lovely in their simplicity.

  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile: By Bernard Waber (1973). If you don't know Lyle, you should start by reading The House on East 88th Street to find out why Hector P. Valenti, star of stage and screen, left his crocodile in the Primms' bathtub. There are additional Lyle books, but the sequel, where Lyle gets separated from Mrs. Primm at the department store and later becomes a neighborhood hero, is my favorite of the series.

  • Harry By the Sea: Written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham (1965). All of the Harry books are fun, but I like this one best. I always enjoy a good beach story, and who can resist adorable little Harry looking like a monster covered in seaweed.
What are your childhood favorites that stand the test of time?


  1. Thanks for these--some I haven't read and will look for.

    I like sharing with my children:
    Crictor (Tomi Ungerer, 1958), about a pet boa constrictor in France,
    The Lonely Doll series of books (Dare Wright, late 50s-60s) books... the photos of the characters are still interesting, and entertain both my 7- and 4-year-old.
    Anything by Ezra Jack Keats--The Snowy Day is my favorite. His illustrations are wonderful.

  2. We read a great book in my "Mom's group" last spring- Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt. The second half of the book is full of book lists sorted by age, genre, et. It was inspiring and led us to some great books even I hadn't read (but probably should have).


But enough about me, let's talk about you. What do you think about me?