Friday, March 19, 2010

Baby Rabies... With Books!

Sometimes, I get the baby rabies.

I am 26 years old. I am not quite ready for a baby, and in fact (being the exhaustive planner that I am) I have a laundry list of goals to meet before MJ and I start trying for our first child. This makes my mother quite nervous about the future of my ovaries and the numerous grandchildren she would like to have, but that is a post for another day.

So whenever I start to get a little wiggly about the idea of a blue-eyed, funny-faced baby of my very own, I focus on why I'm waiting and I'm happy to wait a little longer. But... first I indulge in  bit of fantasizing about the future. And because I'm the person that I am, that involves quite a bit about books.

You see, reading was a huge part of my childhood.  I remember my favorite picture book, reading the comics with Dad (especially Calvin and Hobbes!), Mom reading to me before bed, and most of all... insatiably devouring endless books as a kid once I was reading on my own, at least one and usually two (or more) a day.

So I fantasize about the names we've picked out (Conner, Logan, Christina and Victoria) and what our kids might be like as they grow from babies into their own little people. I fantasize about a gender-neutral, animal themed nursery, and having an excuse to play with Legos, American Girl dolls, Play-doh, and chemistry kits with them. I fantasize about teaching them about measurements and fractions, how to make pancakes from scratch, how to paddle a kayak, and good manners.

But most of all, I think about the library I'd like to have for them and what I can't wait to read out loud.

Picture books, first of all, that are Must Haves:
The Monster at the End of this Book (Big Little Golden Book)The Monster at the End of this Book (Big Little Golden Book)  This was my all-time favorite picture book.  In it, Elmo is frightened by the title and doesn't want to meet the monster at the end of this book, and tries all sorts of crazy things to prevent the reader from turning the pages -- but look at that! HE is the monster at the end of the book!  Man, I thought this was hilarious when I was three.

I loved Just Go to Bed and all the other Mercer Mayer books. Best picture books ever!

Just Go to Bed (Pictureback(R))Of course I enjoyed the standbys of a childhood in the 80's...  The Berenstein Bears (I must have had thirty-something of these books) and Curious George. Doctor Seuss was a little trippy for me as a kid. However, I did enjoy One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, even as Green Eggs and Ham made my literal childhood self frown. :p

I always loved my old-school The Tale of Peter Rabbit and its ilk. And of course, Winnie-the-Pooh. Not quite a picture book, but perfect for a read-aloud.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-PoohI had another favorite, the name of which eludes me... it was a book of bedtime stories where an older brother bear is telling his little sister stories to get her to be quiet and go to sleep. It included one where she was fussing about not having her sleeping bear (the pink one) because she left it outside, and he gets frustrated and tells her a story about a spoiled princess who gets kicked out of her castle!  I am soo frustrated myself that I can't remember the title. I hope my mom still has it, because I want that book!  (If you know the one I'm talking about, please let me know).

So... this is a long post about picture books I've loved, and those aren't even the ones that REALLY stand out for me (I really fell in love with reading when I got into independent reading!).  I can't wait to discover more great picture books that have come out in the last 20-odd years when the time comes, too. :p  I was going to write about kids' books in general, but I'm out of space (and time!) for tonight. What were your fave picture books as a child?Any must-haves to read aloud to the children in your life?


Stephanie Thornton said...

My daughter has the pop-up version of There's a Monster at the End of This Book. I had to buy it for her- I had the Little Golden book version when I was little.

And I have the full set of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons too- I love them. I actually put the cartoons on my tests for my high school students. They get a kick out of them.

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Ellen B said...

I don't remember many childhood books, probably because my mother put my to Stephen King and John Grisham when I was 8. I read Misery for the first time when I was 9 (and hey, I turned out alright. . .)

I loved Enid Blyton's boarding school stories (Malory Towers were my favourites, and St. Clare's were alright). Apart from that I can remember very little of what I read as a kid. I have read amazing children's literature since I grew up, though, and if I ever have kids I can't wait to share The Princess Bride (yeah, not strictly a children's book, but it'll do!) and I Capture the Castle if I have a daughter.

My mother isn't much of a reader, although her mother was, so she reckons it skips a generation and I'll have a non-reading child. In which case, I'll come back here and tell you all about nature vs nurture based on my experiments!

Gina Leigh Maxwell said...

My favorite book that I read to my children when they were but wee ones was, "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch. It's a beautiful story that describes a mother's love in a way children can understand. I defy any mother to read it and not cry at the end. I never could anyway. It was always a struggle to read the last couple of pages through a closed throat from trying not to sob like a baby. It's a MUST HAVE for any child's library. :)

Guinevere said...

Stephanie, a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon would definitely brighten my day on a test! That's nice of you. :) And a pop-up version of There's A Monster At The End of This Book... I will definitely have to look for that (in about four years or so, lol).

Ellen, The Princess Bride is definitely a good one! I haven't read Capture the Castle yet, but it's in my library queue, so soon!

Valerie Geary said...

I loved my copy of There's A Monster at the End of This Book SOOOOO much that the last page got torn out somehow.... :( I had to throw it out.... sigh. (Also.... it was Grover. Not Elmo... but I won't hold it against you. ;) )

E. Elle said...

My Berenstein Bear books are in horrible condition because of how much they were read when I was little. I also loved the Golden Books - particularly "We Help Mommy" and "The Cat That Climbed the Christmas Tree."

I'm planning on reading the Harry Potter books to my kids someday. I thought of letting them start at eleven and then read one a year so that they're the same age as Harry.

My mom thinks that would be cruel. I think it would be entertaining. ;o)

Shelley Sly said...

Oh, I loved the "Just" books by Mercer Mayer! I remember my babysitter used to read me those and use funny voices for the characters. :D

Eva said...

When I first got pregnant I bought Where the Wild Things Are. It is my all time favorite, and now my son loves it. It's so important to read to your kid, sounds like when you decide to take that step you will be a wonderful mother.

Guinevere said...

Aw, Gina, that sounds cute! I'll have to get that one too when the time comes (or sooner... MJ actually approved me to start building a children's library if I want to, lol. I can tell he loves me!).

Valerie, good catch! :) I don't remember my Sesame Street characters, I guess.

E. Elle, I think reading the HP books to your kids one each year would be hilarious... however, I'm pretty sure they'd manage to get ahead of you and read the books from somewhere.

Shelley, those are definitely some of my favorites! I love funny kids' books.

Eva, that is one book I somehow never read. I'm almost tempted to get it from the library because it seems weird to have never read Where The Wild Things Are!

I hope I'll be a good mom someday... work is teaching me patience and a quiet voice, lol, and I can't wait to read to my kids and spend time with them!