Monday: Little Blue Little Yellow

Little Blue Little Yellow by Leo Leoni

i bought this at the national gallery in washington d.c….for those of you who love Leo Leoni already (Swimmy,Frederick, etc) you’ll just love this one.  not only is it subliminally fantastic for teaching children how to mix colors, it’s also a wonderful message about understanding and friendship…it reminds me a bit of Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece and the Big O (a favorite as well), but the artwork is just gorgeous and simple and lovely.

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Thursday: The Happy Hocky Family

The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith

You might know Smith from “Stinky Cheese Man” fame, but you’ve got to get this one. Best excerpt”

Grandma has come to visit.
Grandma’s perfume smells like flowers.
LOTS and LOTS of FLOWERS.
“Grandma, do you hear the Magic Monkey? He is calling us from outside! Open the window so we can hear him, Grandma. OPEN the WINDOW WIDE!”

Tuesday: George’s Marvelous Medicine

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

an outstanding book not only because it’s Dahl, but because George says that his wicked grandmother’s mouth resembles a “dog’s bottom”

don’t miss the cd recording of this as well, narrated by richard grant…

Campbell and Brodie give it 5 Bootie Shakes out of a possible 5 because “George gets to do what I wish I could but can’t and it’s awesome and I love it.”

My Mama’s Goodnight

On more than one occasion, I have been asked for children’s book recommendations. Now, let me get a few things straight. If you look up “Literature Geek” in the dictionary, there’s a photo of me – looking rather svelte and fetching, I might add.  I was an English major at Stanford and then apparently couldn’t get enough, so I stayed on for graduate school for a Masters in English too. I love books. I have always wanted to be a writer yet, save for the occasional published short story or, wait for it, my entry into “Chicken Soup for the Single Soul”,  I’m more inclined these days to suggest really amazing children’s books to others. And, yes, I’m that annoying mother who consistently gives books as presents to kids for their birthdays…which probably rates me along with argyle socks on the children’s’ wish lists…But, I love them and I love it when a book makes me and my children smile.

I am lucky enough to have two sons who adore books – and, fortunately, have inherited my quirky sense of humor when it comes to literature. Example? All books sound better when read out loud with a British accent. It’s the truth. Try it. Even my sons do it now and it warms my heart like nothing else to overhear my older song reading Captain Underpants like Mick Jagger.

Now, this blog is not like a book club. I loathe book clubs. I think perhaps it has to do with the fact that I spent a great part of my education sitting in small rooms with other literary people talking incessantly about every minute detail of every great work of literature since the dawn of man. And I’m done. I have no interest in sitting together with a bunch of people talking about Oprah’s latest book pick. Even the inherent cocktails aren’t enough to draw me in. And I love sitting around and I love books and I love cocktails, just not altogether in the same room. This might also be due to the fact that my taste in books is, well, not exactly mainstream. Sure, I adored Olive Kitteridge and I even read the Twilight series (and, yes, subjected myself to the teeming masses of fellow suburban moms to see the movies) but if I were to be completely honest, I’ve always been drawn to the more obscure books. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read Jane Eyre exactly 256 times and I still swoon over Rochester. And, when prompted, I can recite entire passages of The Great Gatsby, but I also adore Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America and Collins’ The Woman in White and sincerely hope you run out and buy those two immediately.

The same applies to children’s books. Again, no one loves The Giving Tree more than I…I even played the tree in my 4th grade recital..but these recommendations are meant to propel you to your local library or bookstore armed with a few tricks up your sleeve. Some books are quite famous, some are no longer in publication, but all are wonderful.

So, without further ado, let’s begin…

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the name of this blog comes from the title of a children’s book I wrote and carry around in my pocket like a talisman. Maybe someday it will make this list as well…