The last post was Leah’s favorite children’s books. Part of what got us on the subject was our two-year anniversary, and we begun reminiscing. And then I was like “Paper! That’s what you give on your two year anniversary!” And paper relates to books, so…. Anyway, I’m not sure who sets these things, but if you were curious, paper is the traditional first year gift, while cotton is second. Oh well. Now here’s my picks:
- Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
- The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
- Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton
- Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
- Hands, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins and Eric Gurney
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff (I never liked If you Give a Mouse a Cookie — I thought the mouse was too needy)
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Corduroy by Don Freeman
- Ms. Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
If you were curious, these aren’t quite “in order.” I really do remember Mike Mulligan vividly, and then I thought it would be funny if the next two books listed were also about machines. By the way, I had to look up authors, and did you know the Little Engine‘s “Watty Piper” is a pen name? I went with the Little Golden Books writer (I LOVED my Little Golden Books), but this story predates that publication by a long ways. The author’s real name here is Arnold Munk, the head of Platt & Munk who put the oral tale/storyfied advice to print.
Also this list also deserves some honorable mentions; Toodle by Gertrude Crampton (another tale of personified machinery–this is the one about the train engine that just wants to smell flowers, and it’s ALSO a Little Golden Book) and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. I almost Stinky Cheese down as first, but I think I actually read it when I was older. Does it count as a children’s picture book? Kind of? It’s not YA, but it also has a lot of text. And it’s weird. And sometimes terrifying. I LOVED it (I think my mom called the pictures “gross”).
Finally, if this were the Oscars, I’d give Beatrix Potter a Lifetime Achievement Award. I had all of her books in a collection that came in a white cardboard trunk, and I ADORED them. But in making this list I couldn’t think of one story that stood out more than the others/I didn’t just want to have a top-ten list that was only Potter titles. Truly, she was my favorite, and when Leah and I have kids someday Potter stories will be the ones I’ll be most excited to read aloud. Hope this list finds you well!
–Jeff and Leah