Monday, October 09, 2006

Favorite Children's Books: Part 1

I love children's books. The other day as I was putting books back on the shelf that Katya had pulled down, I had to stop and look at some of them. It's so easy to get lost in the world of a good children's book. In a book that is well done, the storyline and the illustrations enhance each other. Because it's a book for children the words must be limited and simple. That makes the pictures especially important. They not only tell the story but give a personality and dimension that would not otherwise exist in the words alone. I guess that's why I'm especially drawn (heh heh) to the pictures when I look at a children's book. I made a pile of my couldn't-live-without-favorites. I will share a few of them here now, and others in later posts. There are still more that I know are still in boxes.

This first picture is from Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell, ill. by Helen Oxenbury. It is a story about a duck who has to do all the work on the farm because the farmer lays around in bed eating chocolates. The illustrations are so expressive. Can't you just relate to this poor overworked, overwhelmed duck?

The next picture is from The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven. It is a fanciful, beautiful story about a curious bird and an artistic lion. The illustrations, though, are what make the story shine. They are a mixture of painting and collage. It is a book that makes you feel happy.

I loved Bblueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey when I was growing up. I thought it looked so fun to have a little pail and to go to a mountain covered with blueberry bushes and fill up my little pail plink plink plink. Of course, Sal runs into an adventure or it wouldn't be story. The pictures are simple blue line drawings that perfectly describe a matter-of-fact young child and that make you want to eat blueberries.

Another book that we read growing up was My Bible Story Book by Sarah Fletcher, illustrated by Don Kueker. Every night Dad would read one of the short one page stories from this book and one or two other stories. The pictures are so large lifelike and they captured my imagination.

Another Bible story book for young children that came out more recently is Stories About Jesus written by Kenneth N. Taylor and illustrated by Nancy Munger. The pictures are warm, inviting and accessible. Nancy Munger has illustrated several other books as well and her pictures are always cheerful with interesting little details.

Minerva Louise loves the house with the red curtains. She explores this wonderful place and finds many fascinating objects. A funny story. The pictures are so minimalistic and droll at the same time. There are also at least two other Minerva Louise books. My students loved these stories.

Eggbert the Slightly Cracked Egg by Tom Ross, ill. by Rex Barton is one of the best stories ever--the story is so touching and the pictures are colorful and detailed. It is a wonderful lesson about accepting yourself and others regardless of imperfections. And I love books where the vegetables have eloquent expressions.

Stay tuned for more favorite children's books and illustrators!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this post!
I LOVE Elisa Kleven art! Camille has a book illustrated by her , it's called Sun Bread ( I think)... I remember you giving me The Bible Story Book for my birthday in second grade! I love the illustrations in that one! I should post our favorites.. you gave me ideas! I will definitely buy some of these!