Saturday, December 22, 2012

LC's Top 9 Books (2012)

Our annual tradition on this blog...a list of LC's favorite books (all kept in our home library).

Half the books on the list for 2011 were quick-read, tear resistant board books, but a child would be able to tear pages out of all the books on this year's list (LC hasn't...she is careful with her beloved books; if she accidentally tears a corner of a page, she asks me to help her tape it up).

She still enjoys picture books filled with huge images (I must admit, I do gravitate to children's books that have amazing drawings), but I've also read a couple of books to her (#1 and #2 on this list, in particular) that contain many stories, with lots of text and a few lovely illustrations (it's a bonus that both of these books also contain detailed maps of the imaginary worlds).

Too many books tied for #10, as I discussed this list with her...so I made "all of LC's other books" number 10 in my mind and ended the list here at #9.

LC's Favorite Books (2012):

#1. Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales (by Beatrix Potter)
#2. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (by A.A. Milne)
#3. On the Night You Were Born (by Nancy Tillman)
#4. Frida (by Jonah Winter)
#5. The Pout-Pout Fish (by Deborah Diesen)
#6. Coral Reefs (by Jason Chin)
#7. Miss Lina's Ballerinas (by Grace Maccarone)
#8. The Well at the End of the World (by Robert D. San Souci)
#9. We're Different, We're the Same (by Bobbi Jane Kates)

In case you're considering purchasing one of the books on the list, here are my special notes (numbers below correspond to numbers above)...

1. LC's absolute favorite...and we're already into our second reading of the 400 page book. Beatrix Potter's stories are captivating and her original sketches (color and black-and-white), as well as the paintings, are beautiful. Out of the collection, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" is the story that LC wants to hear many times before we can move on to the other tales. The hardcover is a must have and it's often on sale for less than $25 (list price $40), the best money I spent on a book for 4-8 year olds.

2. Winnie-the-Pooh captured LC's imagination earlier this year, especially since this 368 page book has Ernest H. Shepard's original drawings (recolored). It's nostalgia, for me, I loved reading A.A. Milne's classic stories when I was young. Worth buying for 4-8 year olds and the hardcover often goes on sale for less than $25 (list price $40).

3. I bought this book based on the five star rating by over 300 customers online. Every time I read it to LC, she is awed by the magical quality of the story. She loves the author's gorgeous paintings of animals and the moon. LC believes this story was written about her, just as every child will think it's their own unique birth that's being celebrated on these pages.

4. I have been patiently waiting to show this book to LC, I wrote a little note for her in the inside cover. She enjoys hearing about this artist's life and looking at the accompanying Mexican folk art images (not Frida's work, sadly). I bought this book at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art when I took LC to her first museum exhibition (at the tender age of 3 1/2 months old). Yes, it was a Frida Kahlo exhibit and LC was quite drawn to the colorful paintings...she didn't cry or fuss, at all, during our museum visit.

5. & 6. LC chose both of these books at the New York Aquarium's store (please donate, so they can rebuild the 14 acres; Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage almost two months ago and many NYC children miss visiting the marine creatures). One book is about a fish that learns he can spread cheer just as easily as spreading misery. The other book gives wonderful facts about coral reefs, combined with colorful illustrations...feeding LC's curiosity about undersea worlds.

7. The charming sketches by Christine Davenier combined with the well-written rhymes by Maccarone (this book kicked off LC's interest in finding rhyming words), the inclusion of math concepts and ballet terms, all make this a lovely book for a little girl.

8. This doesn't have the poetic text or lively rhythm to be a decent read aloud book. I brought this used book from California years ago and I wish I held onto it longer...until she began to read by herself. She enjoys hearing about the independent, smart, generous princess. The details in the pictures inspire her to ask good questions. This adaptation of a fairy tale teaches good values...such as beauty comes from within. Those concerned with external beauty and gaining wealth are shown to be selfish and greedy characters. I personally didn't like the style of the illustrations (also, too many things happening on each colorful page), so it made it more painful for me to turn the pages to read this slow-moving tale.

9. This is a Sesame Street book, so the drawings aren't unique or arty (though kids are drawn to the familiar characters, of course) and the text simply gets the message across. Since last year, LC has been innocently pointing out (a bit too loudly on the bus and train) that people look different. This book explains that people may look different (focusing on each part of us: hair, nose, eyes, mouth, skin etc.), but our parts function the same...and each person should accept how s/he looks and embrace diversity in the world.