Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Favorites: Happy Birthday to Me!

It is May 16 and it is my birthday.  What better way to celebrate than to share with you my favorite children’s books?  At this point, I need to include a disclaimer to say that these are my favorites AT THIS MOMENT.  Subject to change on a whim or a new read.  But isn’t that everyone’s prerogative?  To change their minds if something better comes along?  Or to allow different favorites for different times in our lives?

As I write this, I am already overwhelmed by the choosing.  I’m sure that I will leave out a really important, life-changing book and regret it!  Thank goodness for edit-friendly blogs and understanding readers! 

This post will take the form of a list, rather than short reviews for two reasons:
1.      The list is much longer than usual, so it would take a lot of time to summarize each book, which brings me to…

2.       My selfish need to give myself the gift of time – to read!  (It is my birthday, after all!)

Without further ado, here are my (current) favorites, in no particular order.  I’d love to hear yours.  Please share!

Board Book: Hippos Go Berserk! (Sandra Boynton)
                Why?  Because Sandra Boynton never dumbs down her vocabulary, even for the littlest readers.  And it is a hysterical concept book.

Early Reader Series: Mr. Putter and Tabby (Cynthia Rylant/Arthur Howard)
            Why?  Mr. Putter and his old cat Tabby are so endearing, as are their neighbors, Mrs. Teaberry and her dog, Zeke.  Each one has a complex personality that shines through every story.  I especially love Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book.  Can you guess why?  It is inspirational J

Fiction Picture Book: (how to decide?!?) All the Places to Love (Patricia MacLachlan/Mike Wimmer)
                Why?  It makes me cry every time.  And the paintings by Mike Wimmer are gorgeous, transporting the reader to rolling, rural farmland.

Wordless Picture Book: Tuesday (David Wiesner)
                Why?  I love frogs.  So frogs surprised by a night when they can fly?  Even better!

Middle Grade Novel: The Giver (Lois Lowry)
                Why?  I have read this book every year since I picked it up, which I think was in high school.  Utopian/Dystopian literature has a special appeal for me and this one is an incredible look into the darkness lurking in the secrets of a perfect society.

Author: Cynthia Rylant
                Why?  She is such a versatile author, having written early readers, poetry, picture books, middle grade novels, memoir, fantasy, narrative nonfiction…I’m sure there are some genres I’ve left out.  So many of my favorite books are written by her.  She is the writer I long to be in my dreams.  Just like her series Mr. Putter and Tabby, she is inspirational.

Poetry: Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems (Kristine O’Connell George/Kate Kiesler)
                Why?  These poems remind me of camping with my family as a child.  The title poem is especially engaging, as it describes the roasting techniques of my brother and I perfectly.  Or at least that’s the way I remember it J

Nonfiction Picture Book: An Egg is Quiet (Dianna Aston/Sylvia Long)
                Why?  This gorgeous book has the feel of poetry, the facts of nonfiction, and the visual appeal of an art show.

Childhood Fave (MG novel):  A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
Why?  I had such a visceral experience reading this book, sitting on my bed, knees tucked up to my chin, heart pounding when Meg has to walk down the street of identical houses toward IT, a gigantic  brain responsible for the Dark Thing, that I don’t want to read it again since I’m afraid I won’t enjoy this book the same way.

Mother-to-Be Book: MA!  There’s Nothing to Do Here!: A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting (Barbara Park/Viviana Garofoli)
                Why?  When I was pregnant, I read this book many times to my bump.  I could never make it to the end without crying.  Hormones or no, have tissues on hand for this very funny, very sweet book that captures the longing to be a mother so perfectly.

Poetic Novel: Love That Dog (Sharon Creech)
                Why?  This poetic novel, told by Jack through his poetry journal, lets the reader into his thoughts and feelings in such a unique way.  You follow him from defiant evasion of poetry, to catharsis through it.  This was a page-turner for me.  I think I read it in one sitting.

Childhood Fave (Pic Book): Christina Katerina and the Box (Patricia Lee Gauch/Doris Burn)
                Why?  Ingenuity and imagination are the playmates of children.  Find this classic and see what I mean!


  1. Happy Birthday Laura! What a wonderful list, showing your interests and depth of knowledge across the shelves! I can't wait to page through the other Aston book (An Egg is Quiet)!

  2. Check out that author/illustrator team's others in the series: A Seed is Sleepy and A Butterfly is Patient!