Top Ten Tuesdays is hosts by the ladies over on The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is “It’s All About the Visuals” and leans towards picture books, comics, and graphic novels. Check them out!
When I was in fifth grade, I started volunteering in the kindergarten after school. It was about 45 minutes a day, and it was my favorite part of my day. I did it for four years, and I wish I could have done it through high school. We helped with snacktime and letter activities, and play time. Sometimes, this meant building marble shoots with the kids, or cleaning up the dress up station – for me, this mostly meant reading books aloud.
Children get into habits with their favorite things. This might be books, or movies, or snacks. Anything, really. In the reading corner, we visited and revisited and revisited and revisited a lot of the same books over and over again (not for lack of options).. What follows are the books that I read so many times that, by the end of 8th grade, I had them memorised.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
by Dr. Seuss
With a heart two sizes too small, the disgruntled Grinch is the meanest creature you’ll ever meet. He hates Christmas and the whole festive season – but when he hatches a dastardly plot to steal Christmas, he’s in for a big surprise!
Dr. Seuss’ Christmas classic is a book that still gets a lot of love and notoriety today. Despite seemingly endless readings, I am still rather fond of it and still know quite a lot of it by heart.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
This is the story of a very hungry caterpillar growing into a beautiful butterfly.
I’ve always rather liked Eric Carle, because the illustrations in his books are so unique and so lovely. This is still rather a staple for children, and I read somewhere recently that The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still sold about every 30 seconds. Wow.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
When all the letters of the alphabet race on another up the coconut tree, will there be enough room?
This book was my nemesis. I don’t know why, precisely, but I hated reading this book. I was inevitably asked at least once a week. It’s a pretty good way for kids to learn their letters, I suppose, but it’s right up there with some of Seuss’ books, being not very fun to read aloud!
by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum loves her name, until she starts going to school and the other children make fun of it.
I have a feeling that Chrysanthemum was a niche book to our little kindergarten library, because where I see people still reading their children other books on this list, I haven’t seen this book in over fifteen years. It’s a sweet little story about unique names and being proud of who you are. The illustrations are lovely as well. Overall, a cute little book that I would still recommend.
The Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister
The Rainbow Fish, with his shimmering scales, is the most beautiful fish in the ocean. But he is proud and vain and none of the other fish want to be his friend – until he learns to give away some of his most prized possessions.
I’m still not sure whether the children who insisted upon this book time and again liked the book or the sparkly metallic scales on the fish illustrations. I suppose the point of the scales is to catch the eye, and goodness knows some children to need a cautionary tale about vanity….
Little Rabbit Foo Foo
by Michael Rosen
He’s wild, he’s wicked, he’s Little Rabbit Foo-Foo! The bully-boy bunny likes nothing better than to ride through the forest bopping everyone on the head. Wriggly worms, tigers, no one is safe. But here comes the Good Fairy – and she is not amused!
I loved reading this book. So much fun. I believe when I was a kid, it was “Little Bunny Foo Foo” and so I remember completely ignoring the word “rabbit” and reading it to the children that way. Everyone gets a kick out of this silly, mostly pointless story because sometimes, you just need a little silliness in your world. It also teaches kindness and consequences, but even the children know the good fairy isn’t going to turn them into goo.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett
Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers–until the weather takes a turn for the worse.
The outrage that followed the animated film Cloud With a Chance of Meatballs tells me how precious this books still to kids, and to the adult who read it as children. Personally, I think it’s wonderful, and if you’re not comparing the two, the film is delightful fun as well.
The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return.
This book has been beloved by generations, but it’s a sad book. It tells the story of the relationship between a child and a tree, and the way the relationship changes. It teaches points like appreciating the environment, always being grateful and never selfish, the passage of time, and more. Children enjoy the story, and adult still like to discuss its meaning. Anything Shel Silverstein is good, though.
If You Give A Mouse a Cookie
by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Who would ever suspect that a tiny little mouse could wear out an energetic young boy? Well, if you’re going to go around giving an exuberantly bossy rodent a cookie, you’d best be prepared to do one or two more favors for it before your day is through. For example, he’ll certainly need a glass of milk to wash down that cookie, won’t he? And you can’t expect him to drink the milk without a straw, can you? By the time our hero is finished granting all the mouse’s very urgent requests–and cleaning up after him–it’s no wonder his head is becoming a bit heavy.
Remember when there was only one book in this series? Now there’s a bunch. While these ones are fun to read with adorable illustrations, sometimes it makes me wonder if this is a cautionary tale not to give things to people. because they are never grateful and want more and more from you until they’ve taken over your life. Not a very nice prospect….
Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
A naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes their king.
Another book that is well loved by adults and children, but this one was never really a favorite of mine. I guess I’ve never been that big on monsters, and if I was imagining an island, I’d imagine it a bit differently. Children seem to quite enjoy Max’s adventure, however….
So those were the books all the kindergartners wanted to read back when I was volunteering. I remember them well, and still read them with the same inflections when a niece or friend’s child asks for a story. Some of them are still loved, and some have faded away.
Which picture books did you love as a kid?