I know I just did a book feature last week, but being the good doctor’s birthday yesterday and all, I just have to talk about a few more books.
My childhood was full of Dr. Seuss. I have very fond memories of family members attempting the tongue twisters held within these covers. Things like junkyard circuses, pants walking about on their own, and thneeds cross my mind often in random life situations…Dr. Seuss wasn’t only writing magical stories for children, he was writing lessons on life.
You can imagine my delight when Ethan started requesting these books at around two. The same books my brother and I were read a thousand times were what my boy chose so often, even when he was much too little to sit through such long books. There’s just something about these tales. Here’s just a handful of our favs:
“That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars
and whether they had one, or not, upon thars.”
The Sneetches is Ethan’s current favorite and has became one of mine all over again. The riff between the star-belly and non-star-belly Sneetches sends a clear message about accepting and embracing our differences. Ethan actually asked if Santa would be able to make a “Star-off” machine…the kid has some specific ideas about Christmas presents.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
I think we must have read The Lorax to shreds when I was little because it was one I had to buy new. Ethan thinks it’s fantastic and I feel like he gets it—our actions affect the world around us, a lesson never too early to teach. The fact that we never see the Onceler’s body is my favorite part…what an idea! Just green “gruvvulus” gloves, complete with their “snuvv” sticking out of doorways and page edges. Genius.
“The World’s Greatest Show
On the face of the earth, or wherever you go!”
One of the most hilarious, “If I Ran the Circus”, is amazing…and long. I won’t lie, as much as I enjoy this book, I usually skip a few pages. With so many fantasical acts under one tent, it’s hard to get through them all before bed. It also features one of the best Dr. Seuss characters ever: Sneelock.
“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. . . .
An elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!”
And, of course, who doesn’t love the story of Horton hatching an egg? Ethan was immediately drawn to the devoted elephant who gets left with the egg of a lazy bird. I don’t love the part with the guns…some hunters happen upon Horton and things almost get ugly…but this book was written in 1942 so times were a little different. It’s still amazing.
“And I sort of go thinking—it’s sort of a shame
That scrambled eggs always taste always the same.”
Oh this one is SO incredibly fun to read. And, I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I rock at this book. (Don’t be jealous!) Anyway, I would love to know how Seuss came up with this story because holy cow it’s insane. A boy decides he can make amazing concoctions out of eggs from birds other than chickens so he travels far and wide to find them. This is another long one so we skip pages sometimes, making it all the more fun with each read because you never know which crazy bird will be next!
“I know up on top you are seeing great sights,
but down on the bottom we, too, should have rights!”
While I could honestly list every book in our Dr. Seuss collection, I’ll stop at Yertle. A story of politics and the free rights of turtles can speak to anyone at any age. Again, Ethan gets it. “King Yertle is mean” he concluded, and he’s right. Don’t worry, it’s all solved by the burp of a seemingly insignificant little turtle named Mack.
So those are a few of our favorites.
I thank my parents and uncles and grandparents and friends who stocked our shelves with these invaluable books—it is amazing to read them with Ethan. Feels like only yesterday I was a little peanut trying to stall bedtime with one of these nice long stories.
How fantastic will it be to watch Dr. Seuss continue through generation after generation? It’s like they were written yesterday, always featured at any bookstore, always hiding in the bookcases of every home all over the world.
What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
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It’s been a while since I’ve shared our favorite children’s books, we have quite a few new ones what with Christmas and birthday presents…books just make the best gifts. We read about dogs driving diggers, boys eating books, bears living in mittens, and girls flying cheese-copters…we love reading with our big guy.
Here are a few we find amazing:
Beautiful Oops! is a sweet little book about creativity through “mistakes”. I find it interesting that we try to teach kids to color inside the lines…why? This book teaches them that drips of paint and balls of paper can be art.
I love it because Ethan picks up this book to read independently—something he’s just now starting to try more often. The oddly shaped pages, different textures, holes and folded flaps keep him interested and help tell a story without words.
The fun typography and mixture of colors and patterns make every page fun.
Remember Ethan’s Christmas request? The crane and dinosaur bone? Well it came from Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail. My mom picked it up for him, she finds the best construction stories, and Ethan just can’t get enough.
Every construction vehicle is represented in this “Tail” and Ethan loves to tell us about them all during each read. “Start up the digger! Start up the cement mixer! Start up the grader!…,” he knows his trucks.
The dogs have to put work on hold to dig up a huge T-Rex bone buried in the middle of the job site—common problem. The illustrations are adorable and colors vibrant plus the story is cute. Perfect for any bulldozing-obsessed kid.
We asked for another Oliver Jeffers book for Ethan’s birthday and have been over the moon about The Incredible Book Eating Boy! Jeffers never ceases to amaze with his fantastical stories and illustrations.
Henry is a boy who starts eating books. At first a couple words at a time, progressing to whole books in one swallow. He starts absorbing the information contained in these books and becomes extremely smart.
For a minute I thought maybe Ethan would take the story too seriously and start chewing on books, but I quickly discovered he TOTALLY gets the comedy. We laugh our way through the whole thing.
And I always accuse Ethan of taking a bite out of the back cover…
Ethan always swears he had nothing to do with it and would never, ever eat a book.
Another birthday book we were thrilled to receive was Rosie Revere, Engineer. A story about a little girl who builds things our of junk…sounds like a mixture of Stu’s engineering and my thriftiness tied up in one! It’s about being creative and learning through failure.
Rosie’s great-aunt is none other than Rosie the Rivitor, still donning the red polka dot head scarf. I love how the author tied in historical references and tid-bits about the evolution of flight.
Rose seems to be awfully fond of using canned cheese in her designs, which is slightly confusing, nevertheless it’s a great story about not giving up or being embarrassed by your creative “failures”.
And Rosie, with her blonde hair swept over one eye, looks just like Ethan’s little friend from Alexandria.
Finally, we’ve been reading a lot of Jan Brett. She visited my hometown of Scottsbluff, Nebraska last year and grandma was front and center with an armful of books to be signed. Ethan unwrapped three of these beautiful books on Christmas morning and loves them all.
Especially The Mitten.
Jan’s unique page layout style featuring the main story in the middle with more of the story playing out on the sides…genius. Each spread warrants close inspection to be sure we aren’t missing anything. It feels like we’re surrounded by the scene. Her other two books are The Hat and, one you have to read to believe, Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella.
I’m a book fanatic and can’t resist buying at least two a month…the gorgeous hard covers just call to me. I’m always looking for recommendations, so please tell me what you are reading with your kids!