Reading enhances your child’s imagination, increases his vocabulary, introduces him to unknown lands, and provides a wonderful excuse to cuddle on the couch together.
My criteria are simple: the books must be consistent with a Christian world-view (though not necessarily written by Christian authors) and be well-written and illustrated. Books that explore our rich heritage or introduce other cultures are extra-beneficial. Occasionally there is a line or two that I disagree with, but that opens up the door for great discussions, right?
“There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!”
Picture books worth re-reading
- 15 Animals: I never thought such a short story could produce so many giggles!
- Aesop’s Fables: the timeless tales masterfully retold and beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
- All Because a Little Bug Went Kachoo: a silly Suess story about unintended consequences.
- All the Ways I Love You: a short but darling expression of love.
- Are You My Mother? my all-time favorite Suess story about a baby bird looking for his mother.
- Baby Dear: such a sweet story of a little girl caring for her doll, just like Mommy!
- The Apple and the Arrow: although it’s a longer picture book, the story of William Tell captivated my children’s attention. (Thanks, Aneysa!)
- The Bear that Heard Crying: an amazing true story set in the wild frontier about a bear who protects a lost 3-year-old.
- Can Brown Eyes be Made Blue? from a series on Christian heroes [Though not as well-written as I'd like.]
- Chanticleer and the Fox: this classic story from the Canterbury Tales comes to life with simple medieval-esque drawings.
- Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons: the meaning of words life pessimistic and courageous are cleverly explained using cookies. (Great to read before a tea party!)
- A Child’s Garden of Verses: Robert Louis Stevenson’s delightful poems for children whimsically illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa.
- Fancy Nancy: I totally empathize with the plain mother in this story, but in the midst of the glamor and sparkles this story emphasizes the importance of love.
- The Greatest Treasure: sprinkled with Chinese proverbs, this fun story highlights the beauty of contentment.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie… oh the giggles you’ll garner.
- It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny: the grass may look greener on the other side, but as P.J. Funnybunny learns, all animals have problems to face.
- The Kitchen Knight: this Arthurian tale highlights the need for kindness, not just bravery.
- Little Bear tales: Simple, humorous stories about a little bear.
- The Little House: a city grows up around this little country house.
- Little Lips Shall Praise Thee: sweet simple stories and poems celebrating life in God’s world.
- Make Way for Ducklings: for some reason, the thought of traffic in Boston being brought to a standstill for a family of ducks makes me smile.
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: Mike was pretty sure that he and his steam shovel could dig more than 100 men could in a week…but would he ever have a chance to prove it?
- Mr. Bell’s Fix-it Shop: a favorite from my childhood about a fix-it man who can fix everything except broken hearts. [Though the out-of-print prices are outrageous!]
- One Grain of Rice: set in India, this incredible mathematical tales shows the power of doubling.
- Otis: a charming tale of a tractor and his friend calf.
- St. George and the Dragon: the thrilling legend of fierce dragons and brave knights comes alive in this beautiful retelling.
- The Seven Silly Eaters: This has got to be the most-read story in our house. Hilarious rhymes tell the story of a large family of picky eaters. (Thanks, Pritchetts!)
- Snowflake Bentley: a true story about the man who “discovered” the beauty of snowflakes and spent his life sharing that discovery with the world.
- The Ugly Duckling: another classic tale told and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
- What Can You Do With a Tail Like This? close-ups of animals tails, noses or ears get children guessing what animal they belong to and the following page gives fascinating ways different animals use them.
- When Jessie Came Across the Sea: a touching story of a poor immigrant girl’s coming to America and her enduring love for her Grandma.