Our ‘February Favorites’ will be all about Children’s’ books, and our family’s favorite handful of them. We are a trio of book lovers here in the Hovey household (soon to be a quartet!). These are just six of the books on Logan’s shelf that not only he loves, but his Daddy and I don’t mind reading for the seventh or eighth time in a day!
I will include a photo and a link to where you can purchase each book along with a short description.
First on our list is our son’s #1 favorite read, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. This is a magical, inspiring and beautifully illustrated story about a fellow with a love of books and a rather ordinary life, who discovers a colorful world among books that fly off of the shelves –literally– changing his life forever.
What my son loves about this book, I assume, is the vibrant, stunning imagery. But since he can’t talk, I won’t really know until he does! What we love about this book, is that it introduces the world of reading to young children in a way that enchants them. The story itself takes you through the seasons of Mr. Lessmore’s life among the books, from the beginning of his newly enriched life to the end of it, with a truly a masterful use of storytelling. Children, and their parents close the book with the uplifting message that at the end of every story is another one waiting to be opened.
Next we have On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. Out of the many books out there that are little more than odes to our love for our children, this one is an artistically composed symphony that wraps little ones in the adoring embrace of our words. The author wrote this book to build children’s self esteem, make them feel cherished and precious, and to let them know they are irreplaceable. The graphics are unique, and very stylized which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your taste, but our family finds them positively charming.
The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry is a playful lesson in the value of kindness and friendship. It also features a series of common farm animals and the sounds they make, and there’s plenty of built-in opportunity for adding funny voices and sounds. There is a dump truck who is unfriendly and self-important, and my son finds him absolutely hilarious. I end up re-reading the scenes with the dump truck two or three times every time we open the book just because Logan can’t help but turn the pages to where the dump appears over and over. My son and I both especially love the rhythmic cantor of the words as they rhyme pleasantly across the page.
The fourth book on my list is actually one that I grew up with and was passed down to my children by my parents. Bear and Mrs. Duck by Elizabeth Winthrop is the story of a teddy bear who’s owner Nora has to leave him at home with a babysitter who also happens to be a duck. It’s a great book for children who are being introduced to the idea of being left with a nanny or caregiver for the first time as they can follow along with bear as he slowly warms up to his fun-loving, babysitting duck. This one is still a little old for my son, who is 20 months old, because the pictures aren’t as bold and bright as many of his other books. I include it here, however, because I remember making my mother read this book to me nearly every night for years when I was 3 or 4. I have no doubt when my son is more engaged in the story, and not so singularly focused on imagery, he will be asking for the same.
Another book from my own childhood, but one my son finds intensely amusing is The Little Mouse The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear, by Don and Audrey Wood. This book is perfect for readers of all ages, from very young toddlers who want to look at the lively pictures, to children who are first learning to read. This story is extremely simple, but somehow an entire story with personality and charm springs to life in only a few words per page. As an artist myself, I tend to focus a lot on the illustrations, so my son and I have a lot of favorite books in common. This one in particular is one of the more finely detailed in it’s art as the pictures themselves tell the entire story without need for the words at all. Though the words are quite fun and do really enhance the story, breaking the wall between the reader and the characters in the book. I find that my son thinks it’s great that we get to ask the mouse, “Hello little mouse. What are you doing?” and through the imagery, he appears to be stopped in his tracks to acknowledge you. As kids get a little older, I find the story itself also becomes sillier to them, much like the title is so long that children find it appealing for it’s silliness.
The final book on our list is called Time for Bed by Mem Fox. This is an interactive book, that combines teaching children the names of the animals, with going to bed, and being present with the person reading to them. The book walks them through the routine of going to bed, telling them to get snuggled in their blankets. It also asks questions like, “What happened today that made you laugh?”. The format of this brief and easy read is what really sets it apart, in that it allows for dialogue. It brings the child and the reader closer together before bed and can make the transition from play time to bed time a little more personal.
Those are all of our favorites for this month, though certainly not all of our favorites in general, but hopefully this list can give you a good start in looking for a new book to pick up while you’re browsing the shelves, or a great gift for a young reader or baby shower. Seeing as my blog is so new, it seems obvious but I’ll mention it anyway, I was not sponsored or paid to give any opinions on any of these books, and I do not get compensated if you follow the links to buy them. I write these reviews simply to share the joy of reading and to help shine a light on some really great books that our family loves. Maybe your little one’s new favorite will be among them?