Children’s Books – Part 1

A woman in my Toastmasters group is expecting her first baby later in the year, and she asked us what our favorite books were as children. She grew up in Germany, and hadn’t read Dr. Seuss and some of the other books we typically read as children here in the States.

This is a short list of books that were either read to me by my parents, or that I read to my son when he was little. I’d love to hear what your favorites were!

Dr. Seuss books

Dr. Seuss’ books have been popular since the late 1950s. When I was little, I liked Hop on Pop,Green Eggs and Ham, and Ten Apples Up on Top the best. The cadence of his rhymes and his fantastic drawings are great fun. My son’s favorite was The Foot Book; I must have read this to him a few HUNDRED times. He would immediately notice if I skipped a word. He also liked The Cat in The Hat.

Goops and How To Be Them by Gellett Burgess. I have happy memories of my father reading this book to me as a child. The author teaches good manners to children using funny rhymes and cartoons. Here’s a snippet from Project Gutenberg:

Table Manners I
The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the tablecloth—
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I’m glad that I
Am not a Goop—are you?

The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey
This is a story about a puppy and his siblings, and the mischief the siblings get into. I remember my mother reading this to me.

Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel by Virgina Lee Burton
Mike and his steamshovel, MaryAnn, compete against modern technology. This was written in 1939 so the technology isn’t very new any more.

Curious George by H. A. and Margret Rey
Curious George gets into all kinds of mischief because of his curious nature. He is rescued by the man in the yellow hat. There are a number of books about Curious George; my son enjoyed them.

The Owl and The Pussy-Cat
I had a book as a child with a number of poems in it but I can’t recall the title. One of my favorite poems was in that book, The Owl and The Pussy-Cat, by Edward Lear. The Poetry Foundation has it posted on their website:

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Next post, I’ll write about the books I enjoyed reading by myself as a kid. What were yours?


3 thoughts on “Children’s Books – Part 1

  1. My father told us an ongoing bedtime story that he made up as time passed. Sometimes he’d make an illogical and accidental change in the story. My brother and I would call him on it and he’d quick-like justify the change into the story. The base-story was about two wild ponies that lived on two separate cliffs with a deep canyon between. They were always trying to figure out ways to be together and play . . . etc. The story went on for years.

    My sweet dad has now ceased to resist the changing of form . . . and passed to the ‘nother places. I sure do miss him. I hadn’t thought of his stories in some time. Your question brought this to mind. Thanks for the nudge!


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