classic literature for my little one(s)

Aren’t they beautiful?  Can’t you just smell them?  The well-loved covers and beloved pages of some of the best children’s books ever written.  Ahhh… I could just stare at this photo and admire them for a good long time.  In fact, I have.

The story behind these photos is the little shopping spree I went on before meeting Eden on Capitol Hill last Saturday.  Don’t get too worried, sweet husband, because my shopping spree cost me a grand total of $9.50, and that was only because I went to the wrong place and spent too much at a yard sale ($7.50) before I headed to the library sale and wised up over a stack of books that cost me $2.

Here’s what I scored at the yard sale:

All those Madeline books (we already have the original) make me giddy!  As does that lovely old volume of Shel Silverstein’s poetry.  I’m still looking for a good copy of The Giving Tree, my favorite Silverstein story. 

Here’s what I scored at the library sale:

The Story of Ferdinand, A Coat for Anna, Blueberries for Sal, and Lena’s first James Herriot book (she will have many, her dad’s a veterinarian) made me do a happy dance.  These were some of my favorite books as a child!  Do you see favorites of yours in there?  I’m not familiar with all of them, but they looked good enough to snag.

Anyway, I thought the “scoring” was done and couldn’t wait to box these goodies up and ship them back to Sicily via media mail.  But then I went to my brother-in-law David‘s popup library to benefit the return of librarians to D.C. schools.  David had collaborated with a restaurant on H Street and filled the restaurant with donated books… all for free!  I browsed the adult titles and then my eyes landed on the kids’ section.  There were so so so many board books!  I couldn’t believe it! 

I made this stack, staring in disbelief at all the new Eric Carle, Sandra Boynton, DK, and Dr Seuss books.  And that random, darling Melissa and Doug wooden puzzle, which Lena will undoubtedly enjoy and our little boy will undoubtedly love.  Then I turned to David and said, “Are these really free?  Should I leave some for other people?”

David said, “No!  We want to leave here with less books than we brought.  They will all be donated anyway.  Please take them all!”

And so I did.  And Lena and I have been loving them!  We’ve spent hours (literally) since Saturday lying on my bed reading them all, some of them over and over and over.  Her favorite yesterday was The Very Quiet Cricket; her favorite so far today is I Spy.  Just like at home, we read when she wakes up in the morning and Mama is too tired to get out of bed, we read before her morning nap, we read before her afternoon “nap,” and we read before bed.  We read when we need a break or have a bad attitude.  We read when Lena needs snuggle time.  We read when Mama needs snuggle time.  We read because we love it.

I am always looking for good recommendations of good books, and now I can add “books for my kids” to that list along with “books for moi.”  Which are your favorites in this post?  Or that are not in this post?  I’m currently on a hunt for books that have been awarded the Caldecott Medal… do you have any favorite winners?

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15 Responses to classic literature for my little one(s)

  1. Sarah September 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    man, I have so many favorites I remember reading with my mom… all the original Curious Georges, A. A. Milne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Richard Scarry… I could go on and on. We read together all the time when I was little!

    Probably my very, very, very top favorite was one I read with my dad a lot, though: St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges. I can’t imagine you don’t know it, but if you don’t, I think you’d love it. The illustrations are done like an illuminated manuscript. I’m pretty sure it’s a Caldecott winner… at least, I remember there being a gold medallion on the cover.

  2. Di September 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    What a great haul of books! They are lovely. I love the madeleine books – the illustrations are just gorgeous. And Paddington was a great favourite as a child – do you know that he was 50 a couple of years ago. There are some other great books out there at the moment that I’d recommend – Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt, Hairy McLary from Donaldsons Dairy by Lynley Dodd, the Pigeon books and Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems. I also loved the Witches Children and the Witches Children and the Queen by Ursula Jones, Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Alan Ahlberg, and Julia Donaldson’s lovely books such as The Gruffalo and my favourite of hers Room on the Broom. My all time favourite book for kids is Frederick by Leo Lioni….a beautiful tale beautifully illustrated.

  3. Tiffany Norris September 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Oh, you’re speaking my language here–bargains and books! You got some great ones! Laura Numeroff and Eric Carle are favorites, and I adore Madeline and Paddington.
    The Caldecott books are awesome, too. Officer Buckle and Gloria, So You Want to Be President?, and Jumanji are my top picks from that list.

  4. The Hitchcocks September 19, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    My favorite Caldecott is Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier. Anything be Peter is Spier is wonderful. In addition to Noah’s Ark I really like The Cow Who Fell in the Canal.

    Oh, and OF COURSE Make Way for Ducklings. You really can’t grow up properly without that book.

  5. Emily September 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    We love all of Sandra Boyton’s book. The little pookie series is hilarious! Hope Lena loves What’s Wrong Little Pookie as much as Annalivia!

  6. Stacie September 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Drooling here! So many wonderful books you found!

    My favorite series as a kid was the Frances books (the badger). I love the Little House series too. (Even boys seem to really like that series, it’s so good!) I love any of Virginia Lee Burton’s books, I see you got her “Little House”, but I also enjoyed “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.”

    Your kids are still too young, but any of Roald Dahl’s books are fun. A little known book of his that I adored in elementary school was called “Danny the Champion of the World.” I highly recommend it!

  7. Ginny September 20, 2012 at 2:58 am #

    This post made me smile! And the recommendation that immediately leapt into my mind was Margaret Hodges’ “St George and the Dragon” — but am happy to see someone else knows of it and has already recommended it! The illustrations are simply captivating…

  8. Jennifer September 20, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    *squeal* I love kids books! Favorites included the little golden books like The Pokey Little Puppy. If you Give a Mouse a Cookie (they’ve made a ton of others, including the one I saw in your stack, but the original is still the best, in my opinion). Waiting for Hannah, a story about waiting for a baby on the way. Some of these we read so much I could basically recite the whole story without cracking the book. I miss all these books. Makes me look forward to reading to my little nephew!!

  9. PoppyG September 20, 2012 at 4:26 am #

    Oh Bec, what a wonderful momma you are! All those special books make me weepy, just remembering you on my lap, absorbed with them and as crazy about them even as you are now. And I am still crazy about you, my dear daughter. Your adoring Poppa.

  10. Aunt Kathy September 20, 2012 at 4:44 am #

    Such a well read baby!

  11. Alycia (Crowley Party) September 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Just found your blog and I am in love… for so many different reasons! LOVE all of the book syou have here, such classics!

  12. Sara Bell September 20, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    I am beyond excited to start my library for my little one. I found one of my old childhood favorites for $.25 right before we started trying, bought two Eric Carle books the day we found out, got a big book of Bible stories from my mom the day we told her, and got two Halloween board books the other day while out and about. At this rate, this kid will have come to come out a librarian! =]

  13. September 21, 2012 at 1:56 am #

    I LOVE Paddington Bear! Great memories…

  14. Anonymous September 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Here are a few of my favorite authors: Mo Willems (write books that enjoyable for children and adults who read them aloud), Kevin Henkes (classic), Janet Wong (writes great books that tie into her heritage). Two books I enjoy: The Quiet Book and The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood. Finally, the Caldecott winner from 2010: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (fabulous illustrator!). –Ellen Barratt

  15. Becca September 22, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    There are SO MANY amazing suggestions here, and I am so overwhelmed and delighted by all your help! Thanks for all the heartfelt comments and all the help you’ve given this new mom. :-)

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