Saturday, September 7, 2013

Read booky!

Robin knew all about the egg!
Robin, please email your shipping address to BarbaraRoss "at" MaineClambakeMysteries dot com

HALLIE EPHRON: We have a baby in the family, and I have no doubt that my daughter picked her name in part because she grew up loving a character by the same name in a children's book, one of many books that she used chase us around the house waving and crying, "Read booky!"

This new person in our lives has been cause for great celebration, cooing and ahing, and a provides welcome excuse to buy fresh copies of the books we loved to read to (and later with) our kids.

Remember Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline? I can recite it cover to cover from
In an old house in Paris
All covered with vines,
Lived twelve little girls
In two straight lines
"And now go to sleep," said Miss Clavell.
And she turned out the light
And closed the door.
That's all there is,
There isn't any more.

Here are some more of my favorites that I can't wait to try out on a our new audience:

The Berenstain Bears Old Hat, New Hat
in which our bear goes looking for a new hat and finds them wanting:
Too beady.
Too bumpy.
Too leafy.
Too lumpy.
Too twisty.
Too twirly.
Too wrinkly.
Too curly.

Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon,
the perfect poetry to fall asleep to.
In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of--
The cow jumping over the moon

A. A. Milne's Now We Are Six
is full of lovely rhymes for short attention spans.
Christopher Robin
Had wheezles
And sneezles,
They bundled him
His bed.

Ogden Nash's The Tale of Custard the Dragon which brought "realio, turlio" into our vocabulary:
Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

The sublime poetic imagery of Carl Sandburg in Rootabaga Stories
that I love and kids tolerate:
An ambition is a little creeper that creeps and creeps in your heart night and day, singing a little song, "Come and find me, come and find me." (from "Three Boys With Jugs of Molasses and Secret Ambitions")

And from the sublime to the ridiculous, my personal favorite:
Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? which I can also recite cover to cover.
Mr. Brown is a wonder, he makes thunder!
Boom! Boom! Boom!
He makes lightning
Splatt! Splatt! 
And it's very very hard
To make a noise like that.

Is the poetry of beloved children's books lodged in your brain? What are your personal favorites to read to the little people in your life?


  1. Humpty-dumpty comes to mind.
    And, there was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
    But other than that,
    oh maybe the cat in the hat,
    I'm probably just older than all of you.

  2. A baby in the family is wonderful indeed . . . .
    and so many wonderful books to read!

    Anything Eric Carle [“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”] is always fun as is anything Bill Martin [“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”and "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See"] . . .
    Other favorites include Eve Bunting’s “Flower Garden” and Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” . . . and then there’s
    Five Little Ducks
    Went out one day
    Over the hills and far aways.
    Mother duck said,
    “Quack, quack, quack.” . . . .

  3. Congratulations, Granny! I'm terribly jealous.

    Blueberries for Sal: "Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk."

    Where the Wild Things Are: "And they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes."

    Love You Forever: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

  4. Congratulations, Hallie!!!

    LOVE seeing these well-loved book covers.

    Besides the ones you've mentioned, two of my faves are the Olivia books and the Eloise books.

  5. Oh, Edith, this one brought tears to my eyes because, How true is that?

    "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

  6. Any version of the rhyme about too many monkeys in the bed. And Blueberries for Sal was a much-loved story book in our house too. My favorite Seuss, which I remember from MY childhood as well as my daughters? The immortal Horton. "He meant what he said and he said what he meant. An elephant is faithful, one hundred per cent."

  7. Triss: We sing "No more monkeys, jumpin' on the bed" to the baby now and we have a book with it, too.

    On Blueberries - I love love love all the books of Robert McCloskey -- though it's his illustrations that are mesmerizing. My favorite: "One Morning in Maine" about his daughter (he did write about his real kids and the house was theirs) losing her first tooth.

  8. I memorized "One Fish Two Fish" reading it to my little sister. My own children loved "Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarembo Charri Barri Ruchi Pip Perri Pembo" (which I am sure I misspelled), "Piggy in the Puddle," "Caps for Sale," and "We Were Tired of Living in a House" (so we packed our bags . . . ).
    Oh, how I love babies (CONGRATULATIONS) and children's books.

  9. Love Tikki Tikki Tembo... (that's the little boy's NAME, and it means "The Most Wonderful Thing in the Whole Wide World") -- his little brother is named Chang ("Little or Nothing") ... got to dig out the book to remember the story.

  10. For the little ones in the family, I've already read How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Encyclopedia Brown (I work on the brainwashing early!). Once they're a bit older, I love to read The Secret Garden to them as well. Such fun.

  11. I used to read this to my little sister (12 years younger than I am, and now a children's librarian) when she was very small:

    Alzuna (by Alfred Noyes)

    The forest of Alzuna hides a pool.
    Beside that pool, a shadowy tree up-towers.
    High on that tree, a bough most beautiful
    Bends with the fragrant burden of its flowers.
    Among those flowers a nest is buried deep.
    Warm in that nest, there lies a freckled shell.
    Packed in that shell, a bird is fast asleep.
    This is the incantation and the spell.

    For, when the north wind blows, the bird will cry,
    “Warm in my freckled shell, I lie asleep.
    The freckled shell is in the nest on high.
    The nest among the flowers is buried deep.
    The flowers are on a bough most beautiful.
    The bough is on a tree no axe can fell.
    The sky is at its feet in yonder pool.
    This is the incantation and the spell!”

    I think one learns one's language from poetry and nursery rhymes; I think one would learn a foreign language with much more ease if the first-year textbooks included them.

  12. My nieces and nephews enjoyed the Curious George books and all the Suess books. I love reading to kids, and I am ecstatic that my nephew's family recently moved back East from Nevada. I'll get to see their darling 17month old daughter more often than every six months! Now I get to spend hours in the kids' section of bookstores again, picking out books to read to her! When I would read to her father he would often want me to read the same book over again when I go to the end! Good Night Moon was one of his favorites. One of my personal favorites to read to kids is The Snowy Day -kind of amusing, since I hate snow! I need to pull out from my memory bank the names of all the authors and books I read to my nieces and nephews, and to their parents, too, when they were little.

    Congratulations , Grandma Hallie, to you and Grandpa!

  13. Here's one of my favorites that I read to my daughter on YouTube: Janet and Allan Ahlberg's Each Peach Pear Plum

    I love so many of these examples, but hadn't read the Alfred Noyes poem. Lovely.

    And how could we leave out Robert Louis Stevenson? "How would you like to go up in a swing, up in a swing so high?"

  14. Deb Romano, I love A Snowy Day!

    And I meant to say, we read and reread many books by the English author and illustrator Shirley Hughes. If you're not familiar with these books, find them!

    Dogger was one of our favorites. And Alfie's Feet. Utterly charming.

  15. My very favorite book that I remember reading to my son when he was a little older than the Seuss book age (but not tons older) was Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. It is the story of a young, blind Indian boy who asks his grandfather to recount the story of the night he was born. His grandfather does, in a way that strongly affirms the boy for how he came into the world and the courage he has shown since. The title refers to Grandfather's teaching that every time the boy hears the story, he must put a knot in the counting rope and when there is no more room on the rope, he will be able to tell the story for himself. It is poignant and lyrical and I LOVED it!

  16. Hi Hallie,
    when they were really little I read my three kids Mother Goose and A Child's Garden of Verses.
    My older daughter: Bread and Jam for Frances (her middle name is Frances), Babar, Madeleine. My younger daughter: Beatrix Potter books, Winnie-the-Pooh. My son loved the Maurice Sendak books, Paddington Bear.
    others: Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, The Little Engine That Could.
    All three loved Dr. Seuss.
    And I know there were many, many, many more....

  17. and how could I forget Curious George? My son loved his exploits.
    and Make Way For Ducklings (we lived in the Boston area when my girls were little.

  18. Anything written and illustrated by Bill Peet. My daughter loved his books and so did my grandson. Peet had worked as an illustrator for Walt Disney and his drawings for the books are super.

    Many of his books are in rhyme. From "Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure":

    "Hubert the Lion was haughty and vain
    And especially proud of his elegant mane
    But conceit of this sort isn't proper at all
    And Hubert the Lion was due for a fall."

    For the older child, daughter and grandson loved "The Church Mouse" by Graham Oakley and the succeeding books in the series. A cat and a bunch of mice coexist in a church in England. In the first book they manage to foil a burglar. The illustrations are very detailed and amusing. One shows some of the mice, given the task of picking up confetti after a wedding, diving and playing around in a box half full of the stuff. There is some political satire in the books, which may go over the children's heads but makes the books more interesting to the adult doing the reading.

  19. Many Moons, by James Thurber

    and The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame.

  20. I love The Paper Bag Princess
    by Robert Munsch.

    Also liked The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith and The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka.

  21. James James Morrison Morrison
    Weatherby George Dupree
    Took great care of his mother
    Though he was only three.

    James James said to his mother
    "Mother, he said, said he,
    "You must never go down to the end of the town
    If you don't go down with me."

    (Much chaos ensues... ending with:

    If people go down to the end of the town, what can anyone do?

  22. David Squires--MANY MOONS is my absolute absolute favorite! (I know where you are when you are at sixes and sevens...)

    And the cloak of invisibility!
    (KING: The cloak of invisibility didn't work! I kept bumping into things!
    WIZARD: It was supposed to make you invisible, it wasn't supposed to keep you from bumping into things.)

  23. One more, one more, from the current grandchildren:

    A told B and B told C--
    Meecha at the bottom of the coconut tree!

    Chicka chicka boom boom
    Will there be enough room?

  24. And does any one know Marsupial Sue? SO great.

  25. Along with all the old favorites, my granddaughter has loved Mo Willems Knuffle Bunny books as well as Edwina and Edward the Emu.

    My book group always showers new grandmother with children's books, so that she will have a supply to keep at her house for them.

  26. Jeffrey Marks: You have excellent taste!

    Ellen Kozak: Gorgeous. And I so agree, it's how you learn to cherish words.

  27. David, Hank, MANY MOONS is a favorite for me, too. The story, the wonderful illustrations. The idea that the princess could wear the moon around her neck because when it's high in the sky, if she raises her hand her fingernail covers it."

    Reminds me of reading about a lttle girl taking her first airplane ride. As the plane rose into the sky, she asked her mother, "When do we get small?"

  28. I don't know Marsupial Sue but I do know The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek. It was my kids fave, and it turns out it's an Aussie classic. We, of course, got it at a yard sale.

  29. Sandra Gardner: Sigh, Bread and Jam for Frances! That's our daughter's little girl's name.

    Loved all of the Frances the badger books.
    Chompo Bars are nice to get.
    Chompo Bars taste better yet.
    When they're someone else's.

    STILL cracks me up.

  30. Mazel tov to the newest family member, Hallie. May she live a long, happy and healthy life bringing only joy to her family.

    Pat the Bunny was a big baby fave, and Harold and the Purple Crayon, and so many others. But the most worn book in our house of zillions of them was a book of poems about food. The girls made their dad, especially, read them over and over again. He always read in comicly exaggerated voices and they adored the combination of their goofy dad and the silly, musical rhymes.

    I'm not at home right now, so can't tell you the name of it, but it was a compilation of Shel Silverstein, old English and Scottish nursery rhymes, and all kinds of other stuff. Very whimsically edited.

    The Silverstein one was about a girl who would not take the garbage out, and the consequences that ensued. We all giggled.

  31. Madeline was such a favourite of mine! I too spent time in a hospital and had a scar on my stomach--what self esteem this book gave me!
    my first favourite book as a child was: Mrs. Ducky's lovely day
    then when I chose for myself it was Madeline and Bread and jam for Francis.
    as a mom I loved to read: Red is best (to honour my love of red shoes) and: chicka chicka boom boom for the rhythm and: Love you forever -- but I could rarely read this all the way through without sobbing!

  32. A cow says MOO.
    A sheep says BAA.
    Three singing pigs say LA LA LA!
    That's from Moo, Baa, La, La, La, one of Sandra Boynton's wonderful board books.

    Jillian, Jillian, Jillian Jiggs!
    It looks like your room has been lived in by pigs!
    This is from Phoebe Gilman's wonderful book, Jillian Jiggs.

    Edith and Hallie, The Munchkin and I went to a reading by Robert Munsch a few years ago. When he did "I'll love you forever" every mother in the room sang along with him and every child--including mine--cringed in his or her chair. Have either of you ever read Munsch's Giant or Waiting for the Thursday Boat? It's wonderful. God is a little black girl.

  33. I love Madeline. I sent Christmas cards with the twelve little girls in two straight lines beneath the Eiffel Tower that looked like a Christmas tree.

    I loved A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES when I was young and liked to read them to my nieces when they were little. "I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me..."

    It thrills me to see that my great nieces would rather sit down with a book that turn on the television.

  34. I named my daughter ANNE after "Anne of Green Gables, " my favorite series of all time! Congratulations! Molly Campbell

  35. If you are ever in the Cincinnati area, there is a children's bookstore in nearby Ft. Thomas, Kentucky that has the Goodnight Moon room duplicated in almost every detail. It is really quite wonderful.

  36. Most of the books mentioned have been greatly loved by my kids. But there's a little gem that hasn't been mentioned - a gentle feminist tale from the 1930s. My daughter's godmother gave her a copy of "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes" for her first Easter. My daughter loved it to pieces (literally). I gave a copy to my granddaughter last Easter - she loves it too. (So does my grandson!)

  37. My favorite was Go Dog Go. But when my kids we're small, almost any Robert Munsch book would work (I think Mortimer and Stephanie's Ponytail are my favorites)

    Congratulations Hallie!

  38. PS - supposed to be "were" small. A bit tough to try to think w/a blasted migraine.


    You'd think boys would love this the most, but my girls thought it was hilarious.

  40. And another favorite Dad-narrated poem:

    Of course, these are for older children, but Miss Frances will be an older child in the blink of an eye, I fear.