My parents gave me a great gift as I was growing up: they read to me. Not just once in a while, but every day. When I was little, I never knew what excitement was in store for me when Daddy walked in the door. He was always bringing home books--books from the library, books to keep. My dad has wonderful comic ability that lends itself well to voice characterization. And he's a great hand at improvisation--stories are never the same when he reads them! Mostly, we read to ourselves now, but every once in a while he will take up an old favorite and bring back some good memories.
I've been trying to remember which books I liked to hear the most as a young girl. I thought it would be a small list, but I keep remembering ones that just MUST be added. So think of this as just a small cross-section of the books that started me off on my literary adventures...
Honey Rabbit by Margo Hopkins
One of my first board books. "What is spring?"
Daddy didn't read this--he sang it. "I'm a rootin', tootin' cowboy, and my name is Cowboy Dan. I can ride a horse and rope a steer as fast as any man..."
Ten Apples Up on Top by Theo Le Sieg (Dr. Seuss)
The pictures still make me laugh.
The Bear's Picnic by Stan and Jan Berenstein
Sometimes I think of this book, when we're on a long road trip and trying to decide when and where to stop for lunch. ;)
All of Beatrix Potter's animal stories
Hop on Pop
My favorite page: "Night, Fight: We fight all night!" And of course, that wonderful run-together list of words at the last. I still try to read them as fast as possible.
Fox in Socks
OK. I have to confess. This wasn't a childhood favorite. I just read it for the first time last year. But it should have been! This has some of the best tongue twisters ever!
The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown
This was my little brother Tim's favorite book when he was a toddler. A sweet story.
The Plant Sitter by Gene Zion
I just have to laugh at the dad's dream sequence!
Laurie and the Yellow Curtains by Sara Asheron
I honestly don't know why I liked this. Maybe it was the colours in the pictures. My mom says it's because all little girls want a house of their own to play in.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Stop that Ball! by Mike McClintock
"I hit my ball. I made it fly.
I hit my ball as it went by.
It went around and then came back.
I gave my ball another WHACK!"
Most of these books I still find a pleasure to read. And that is as it should be, for as C.S. Lewis wrote, "a children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last." --Of Other Worlds