As part of my mission to make good readers out of my children, I’ve always read to them from the moment they could sit on my lap and attend to something–about 3 months of age. It always starts with Hello Bee, Hello Me–the cutest, little, dumb book with mirrors and eerily smiling critters. Babies love it.
Then, it’s onto Margaret Wise Brown. Goodnight Moon has long been a favorite for the random simplicity of the bunny saying goodnight to this and that all around its room. It may leave adults scratching their heads, but it makes perfect kid sense. It also has the word “mush” in it, which is pleasing to say aloud and not often used. My eighteen month old loves the book, but not the black and white pages–only the pages in that strange, 1940s technocolor.
After Goodnight Moon, we move onto The Big Red Barn. This book is the real treasure and the inspiration for this post. It is a lovely little poem about some barn animals going about their business of squealing and laying eggs, and the progression of day to night. It begins: “In the big red barn, in the great green field, there was a pink pig who was learning to squeal. “ And ends : “Only the mice were left to play, rustling and squeaking in the hay, while the moon sailed high, in the dark night sky.” The book has such a gentle rhythm and flow, and we all can’t help but feel sleepy at its conclusion.
As the boys get a little older we move to The Berenstain Bears books. There’s no situation that Brother or Sister bear haven’t experienced, and they make great, sensitive reads for kids experiencing new babies, firsts, trouble at home, sibling rivalry, etc. Of course, it drives my husband crazy that Papa Bear is such a boob and Mama’s always right. 🙂
At some point, the boys get into scary books. They love Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark–a totally creepy and dark series of troubling tales and strange, drippy illustrations. We check these out enough from the library that I should probably just buy the set.
There are very few kid books in this house that I hate to read. If I do, they mysteriously disappear. (Life’s too short to waste on stupid books.) But it has been a great joy watching the boys grow in their literary attention spans. We are having fun now with chapter books, and I find myself jealous of the boys who will get to experience the entire Harry Potter collection without having to wait years between books.