In Kellee Giles’ epic novel Breaking Silence, Taylor wanted to be the greatest writer in time, or in other words, the greatest writer of all time. I loved reading from a young age, and actually thought that I had found the greatest writer of all-time early on.
At about eight years old, I graduated from Dick and Jane books to what I figured was indeed the greatest writer of all time. Dr. Seuss, of course. I moved reluctantly to other authors and bigger books. I got married and life took on deeper meanings. My kids started reading and I was re-introduced to children’s books. 25 or so every three weeks, because that what we could check out of the library. It was wonderful, and I found a number of authors that I became acquainted with. Some I got tired of reading very quickly, but others, I found I could enjoy again and again. Here is my list of all-time favorites.
#10 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
I am Sam, Sam I am. Will you eat green eggs and ham? This classic masterpiece has been read to me many times by young readers just getting into reading. The rhyming and rhythm add to the story line and make the book fun to read. The book was written by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and was written to only include 50 unique words. It repeats words, sentences, and phrases to help young readers recognize the words as they read them. The over-all message of the story is one of discovery. That the protagonist resists trying the green eggs and ham through every effort that Sam makes to get him to give them a little taste. Finally, in desperation, the green eggs and ham are tried—and by pleasant surprise the protagonist likes them after he has tasted them. The story lets readers know that they can’t judge a book by its cover, so to speak. A great lesson, and a great read.
#9 Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This children’s book has many levels of understanding. It is made for a slightly more advance reader than Green Eggs and Ham, but is filled with humor and with sadness. Max, the main character, dresses up in a wolf costume, is rude to his parents and sent to bed with no supper. His “escape” to the land of the wild things is a journey into his childhood thinking and experiences. The Wild Things he encounters are fashioned after his relatives. Max finally understands how much his family loves him and how hollow his adventures are, and makes his way back home. There are a lot of life’s lessons to be learned here, and it is an entertaining story.
#8 The Berenstain Bears, Bears in the Night.
The Berenstain Bears written by Stan and Jan Berenstain, and later by their son Mike have about 300 different books in the series. I like most of them. I love the memorable characters who definitely follow their prototypes in most every story. For all of their faults there seems to be a lot of love in the family. I like that every story teaches a lesson or moral. I have selected specific ones to try and teach specific lessons to my children and other children. I have a favorite. It isn’t the deepest, the longest, nor even teaches the best lesson. I think that I actually like it a lot because it is probably the shortest and the easiest to read. When I would get the “Daddy, read one more story,” routine, this was my fall back and my salvation—because it was quick. The bears hear a noise get out of bed with the lantern traipse around looking for the source of the noise. Find it, and are frightened running back to bed. It doesn’t have a lot of words, but it is fun, and quick to read.
#7 Go Dogs Go by P. D. Eastman
Dogs and cars fill the pages of this delightful children’s book. The words are easy and the sentences flow nicely. Dogs are given human characteristics and the illustrations make the characters come alive. The story is fast paced and really has not direction or plot, but the antics of the dogs doing so many human things is quite inviting. Dogs are shown racing, swimming, having parties, and just doing so many things. The pretend situations are funny and will appeal to pretty much any child. The words and sentences grow as the child gets into the book. I believe that starting with just a single word, the word Dog, gives any child the confidence that they can make an effort to read the book.
#6 Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb by Al Perkins
This book has fun rhyming, rhythm, and simple words, and is a counting book. It teaches words and numbers. I like the way that the book builds from just one to many. It sticks to monkeys and kind of focuses on the activity of drumming. It makes a child feel like they can keep adding to the new words and watch as the action and the scene opens up and gets bigger and bigger.
#5 The Snow Birthday by Brenda and Dean Giles
This book is for a little bit older reader. It has a great story line and a surprise ending. It follows a little girl who has a Birthday in the winter time and how her family helps her make that birthday special and memorable. It includes wonderful winter activities and the story line warms your heart.
#4 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Every home library needs a go-to-sleep book. This was a favorite for late night reads. The book talks about the house and the things in it and how everything was quieting down and getting ready for sleep. A very calming read that I thought helped get the kids ready for the goodnight moment. Very useful for parents.
#3 Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
Duck and goose contend over a ball, believing it is an egg. Each one considers themselves to be better suited to taking care of the egg. Over some interesting turn of events they learn that it is a ball and they learn how share and how to settle their differences. The illustrations are bright and colorful and I love the story line.
#2 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Harold is on a great adventure. He draws everything that he encounters with his purple crayon. Some things he draws with great purpose, and others just seem to happen. The story takes him far from home, but he gets back by drawing the moon as he sees it from his bedroom window, then drawing his bedroom window around it. I just love the imagination and the adventure of the story.
#1 Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is one of my favorite children’s authors, and I think he hits a home run in this imaginative story. I like the premise of the story, he says something like “You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes, you can go anywhere that you choose.” I think that is a real parallel to life, and the boy and the girl in the story do take imaginative adventures. This is one you will want to come along with for sure.
That wraps up my top 10 Children’s books of all-time.
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