Children's Books: Those Worth Reading Again and Again!

I grew up with many books. Books of almost every kind were available. We frequented the library, and even made our own books.

Some one was always reading: Reading for pleasure. Reading to learn. Reading to understand. Reading, because one could.

Most books were read once or twice, but a few were read again and again. They were read aloud in groups, and silently, to one's self. They were read for pleasure and understanding. Often, we couldn't say which it was. There was simply something, like a friend, that always drew us back again.

Some of the books were simple and full of pictures. Some can hold an adults attention as well as any child's. Some, though written for children, never seem to lack depth. These are the ones I love best.

Books, first thing in the morning!
Books, first thing in the morning!

"Read much, but not many books."
-Gustave Flaubert

Little Golden Books

My Little Golden Books were one of my first loves. I had an abundance of them, and my mom was never too busy to read them to me.

I remember lining their golden spines up on my little bookshelf, and telling my baby brother he could not use them to build roads. I remember looking at them over and over... studying the pictures and dreaming of the day when I could read them to myself.

Of all the ones I owned, a few always inspired me: Tootle, the little train who loved to race across the meadow, but learned staying on the tracks was better.  He helped me to see that obedience and patience are better than immediate reward. They lead to greatness (and a lack of trouble).

The Poky Little Puppy, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Tawny Scrawny Lion and The Three Little Pigs all excited my imagination, far beyond what the stories told.

I recall setting out with my brother, to make our own way in the world. We knew we simply needed to walk down the road until some kindly stranger offered us building materials, then we would build ourselves a house. We knew all about building houses -- we had looked at enough illustrations in my dad's building books, and if pigs could do it, we certainly could. I don't think my parents ever understood that we were not running away...

Then there was Little Black Sambo (also sold as The Boy and The Tigers), who tricked tigers into taking his clothes instead of eating him, and then he got them to fight one another... until they turned into butter! At which time he was able to get his clothes back.  Did you know that if you run fast enough you will melt into butter?

No matter how fast we ran around a tree we never melted. I guess we just couldn't run fast enough.

These are stories I enjoy sharing with my children, and they love them too. They will have their own silly stories to tell -- of the crazy things they have been inspired to do and the theories they have been inspired to try out.

Courtesy of:  http://diterlizzi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/potter.jpg
Courtesy of: http://diterlizzi.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/potter.jpg

Peter Rabbit and Beyond

Beatrix Potter has always been one of my favorite authors. Her stories are full of imagination, putting animals and people on the same terms, without ever forgetting that the pig is to be eaten.  Her paintings never cease to delight, as seen by the constant array of baby bedding and nursery decorations they inspire.

My boys love to hear the stories as much as I love to read them. We look through the pictures, talking of what life was like 100 years ago. They are amazed that the stories have withstood the test of time: 100 years ago, before their great-grandparents were even born, children loved the stories they love today.

Every time we read a story, my five year old declares that HE Will have a book just like mine, and read it to his children, when he is grown. Then he wants help to do the math, and know just how old the stories will be by then.

Fairy Tales

While there are many fairy tales to choose from, my favorite authors have always been Hans Christian Anderson, and The Brothers Grimm.

I have several collections by each author and have read them to my children again and again. I prefer the older versions, which have not been dumbed down, or made politically correct. I appreciate the oddities and unusual things that happen in the stories; things that challenge our way of thinking and allow for discussion on various topics.

Having all boys, I find The Brothers Grimm to be our favorite, as the stories are very imaginative and rather 'dark'. For example, in their version of Cinderella, called Ashenputtle, the step sisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit them into the shoe. They are found out by the dripping blood. Boys love that!

Fairy tales are much like history. They show how people lived and thought. They show what is acceptable and what is not. True, reality is stretched to the impossible and time is of no importance, but there are greater lessons to be learned, and the learning is so pleasant, it hardly seems like education.

Chapter Books

Chapter books are not just for those who can read to themselves. By age four, a child who has been read to consistently, should be able to follow a chapter book from day to day. This is not just my thought: By the time Lois May Alcott was four, her father had read Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan to her several times.

Chapter books are among my favorites for rereading, for while one may know the story, it is not memorized; and, as a person grows, they will glean new information and knowledge. The story will touch them in some new manner.

Growing up, Old Bones, a story of a race horse, was one that I read several times, after my mom had read it aloud.

Others that have been read and reread in this home are The Little House Books, by Laura Ingalls. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis and books by Kate Dicamillo.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J. R. R. Tolkien will soon be added to this list. Currently, we are enjoying listening to an unabridged audio version.

Too Many Books!

There are so many books I have loved again and again. So many to be read over and over, it seems there will not be enough time to read them all as much as they deserve.

What books have you read repeatedly? Either as and adult or a child?

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Comments 28 comments

meggin 7 years ago

yeah I enjoyed that!I love to read I remember golden books in fact, I just saw some in the grocery store and marveled how they stood the test of time. I loved your perspective on fairy tales too. Once I became a believer it was sucjh a 180 from my old lifestyle that when I have started to read some of the blue fairy book for exampe and the good ole fairy tales are a little different to say the least i have not known how to classify them in my mind. believe it or not i was just introduced to peer rabbit in the last several years. What an amazing series we all enjoy them and the are that comes with them. Now whenever we see a statue duck Gabriel is quick to point out Mrs. puddle duck! Thanks for sharing I really enjoy your practicality, godliness, and good sense!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

My Dad used to recite poetry to us when we were children - I think poetry is great for kids, they love the way it sounds even before they understand it.


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

GREAT HUB!

These ARE some great kids books! I have read a couple of them already! My kids love books! From the golden books, to Osbourne's First.... Books!

Thanks for answering this request!


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

This is a cute hub. I found it brought back good times, and inspiring moments. I think I'll take interior decorating ideas from the rabbits.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

Joy at Home:

I agree! The rabbits home is perfect. I would love to have an inglenook.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

By the way, I, too, remember running around a tree to see if I'd melt.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

So did you melt?


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

Alas, no - the wind had a cooling effect.

And, you know, I wasn't a tiger; maybe that sort of thing only happens in India? ;-)


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

LondonGirl:

I would agree with you about poetry. Children (and adults) do love the rhythm and song of it. Someone who can quote it well is a true blessing.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Yes - and my Dad's great at it, he knows a lot off by heart, and recites very well.


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

'The King asked the Queen, and the queen asked the dairy-maid:/"Could we have some butter for the royal slice of bread?"/The dairy maid said "certainly," and curtseyed to Her Majesty,/ "I'll go and tell the cow, now, before she goes to bed."' Sorry. Couldn't help it. I have automatic A.A. Milne's disease, and I'd better leave before I start reciting the one about Sir Brian with his battle-axe. . .


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

Teresa:

A friend of mine loved A.A. Milne! She would quote something of it at every turn, often inserting her children's names.

I, personally, have always had a soft spot for limericks:

There once was a lady from Niger,/Who smiling, rode on a tiger./ They returned from their ride,/ With the lady inside,/ And the smile on the face of the tiger.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I read / recite some to Isaac - "The Owl and the Pussycat" and "The Jumblies" are great.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

I had never read those before!  They are fun.  I am going to read more by Edward Lear, and share some of it with my children.  Thank you for the introduction!

BTW, I have an Isaac and a Gabriel too!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

If you haven't, you really should - children (well, my siblings, Isaac, and me) really loved / love it! I still enjoy it as an adult.

Isaac is a great name for a boy, bet we agree on that (-:


Heather 7 years ago

Ahh! How I miss reading to children every day. I still look through the books that I intended to read with my own kiddos, and never got around to. And we had so much more time than many do, with the hour after lunch dedicated each day to pleasure reading together, just one of the benefits of schooling at home. Then there were all those wonderful history books and biographies that we read during schooltime! And some science and travel-related books as well. What treasured memories, and never will you or I either one regret the time we spend in this pursuit.

Come on, grandchildren, and we'll read together!


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

Heather:

I'd love to have you come read to my children!


Sarah Love profile image

Sarah Love 7 years ago from Bay Area

I love books for kids! While teaching - I read so many of them! I have been searching for all the golden books, and have a fun collection so far.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

Sarah:

I too collect Little Golden Books. My aunt picked up two large boxes of them on e-bay for very little $. I have some duplicates, but I also got several that have not been reprinted in years and are worth quite a bit. One that I really enjoy is called "Fun with Decals." It is the story of decorating a vacation cabin during a rain storm, and includes nursery rhyme decals.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

great hub, i still love the golden books, they're cheap so the child can handle them often, misplace them...they are easily replaced and never forgotten...for a while i really got into the artist Tibor Girgly, a big golden book illustrator, then there waas a woman who did lovely pictures of sweet little kids, but i can't remember her name


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

Dolores:

Thanks for the input, and thanks for stopping by!


SoulaBee profile image

SoulaBee 7 years ago from United States

Fantastic choices! Well done. I remember the little golden books. I can still hear the sound they made when you flip the pages, and the great smell they had.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Our son loves books and I still have my little golden books and green eggs and ham, as well as "Are You My Mother?" by Dr.Seuss. I love to read them even if I am already grown-up, thanks for the memories of childhood books. :)


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

SoulaBee: I love the way golden books feel when you hold them -- sturdy, yet comfy, like a warm blanket.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

AEvans: Those books are so fun! Dr. Seuss has such a variety of books, it seems there is one for every mood or occasion. 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' is my favorite.


IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 7 years ago from Hawaii

What a fine hub! Parents need to raise their children with the discplines of reading rather than TV-ing. I read to my daughter and she's doing the same for her 4 yr old. It's precious!


lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

Great hub. Adorable kids.


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 6 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America Author

Thank you!

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    "Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live."
    -Gustave Flaubert

     

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