Monday, June 18, 2012

Children's Books: A Window to a Wider World

Can I just say that I love children's books. No really. I LOVE children's books.

A friend of mine just had a baby shower on Saturday and I found myself the past couple of weeks procrastinating the opportunity to buy a gift. Perhaps its because there have been several baby showers in my circle the past few months. Perhaps its because I never got over to the baby section in Walmart during my weekly shopping. Or maybe it was because I just finished potty training my last child last month (YAY!) and I just couldn't bring myself to enter the baby section of Walmart for the forty-millionth time now that I really didn't have to go....

Yep that was probably the reason. 

Why do I have to purchase baby lotion and wipes and onsies. (I whined to myself.) Everyone else will be giving the same thing. (And its true...Rebecca now has probably enough outfits for 1month-9months with monkeys embroidered somewhere on them to last for the next, well...nine months.)

But I wanted to give something FUN! 

And then I had the brilliant idea (at least I thought it brilliant) of shopping at Barnes & Noble instead of Babies R Us.


I  could get my bibliophile fix and do something lovely and caring at the same time. Yay!

So, I entered the bookstore (less than an hour before the shower....yeah, I really procrastinated). After I passed the annoying greeter who wanted to show me the new Nook (thanks maybe later...not). I dashed to the children's section. I just love how the bookstores now make this area of the store so fun and colorful and it's own little kingdom. A couple of kids were playing at the Thomas the Tank Engine table in the corner and a father was reading to his preschooler on a little pouf. And all around me were the touchstones of my childhood.

It was so hard to decide.

So Very Hard.

I actually spent more money than if I would have gotten the proverbial set of onsies, lotion and wipes. But I gave a gift that came from the heart.

Ad image
Caps for Sale. My mother read this colorful (kinda) book to me so many times when I was a girl. I bought my own copy when my oldest got his first book order in preschool. I think I can recite the entire book by memory.
"Caps for sale! Fifty-cents a cap!"

Right beside that book was "Blueberries for Sal", a delightful little book that my grandma bought for our family after we had spent a few weeks at her house on vacation and several mornings picking blueberries at the farm nearby.
"Plink, plank, plunk!"
Yeah, not too many blueberries made it into my bucket either.

Then I found th carousel with all the Golden books. I had a hard time choosing because nowadays, they don't just have the Disney book versions of movies like they did a few years ago. No, they have the wonderful classics that I remembered from the 70s and 80s. Remember these little guys?
And then there were the animals:
I had to stick to my budget, so I couldn't get them all. I decided on two.
Then I saw this one:
I had to get Grover too. Don't you agree?
Then I found:
I remember still so vividly sitting on my mother's lap and doing all the motions as we "hunted" a bear together. When I became a mom and found this lovely version, we bought it as a board book and it's still around (though a little ragged around the edges now).
I was about to leave, my arms filled with wonderful memories when I saw this:
I finally put on the breaks. I mean, every mother worth her salt will either beg, borrow or steal a copy of her own to read to her children. 
(no...don't really steal it) 
And I know my friend will be a superb mother. So I told her to buy her own copy. :)

I walked out of the bookstore and into the baby shower a happy woman.
I love books. But I especially love children's books. I wish I could cut and paste a picture of every awesome kid's book that I highly recommend. But after a while, I would get bored. And so would you.

So...what is one (or more) of your favorite reads from childhood. Do some evoke powerful memories or emotions? Please share.

P.S. I'll end with just one more for fun:
My mother was a children's librarian before she stayed home to be a mom (can you tell!) and she had read this book to me so many times that I could say the whole name before I entered kindergarten. (I think...that's how I remember it. Maybe it was First Grade when I wowed my classmates with Tikki-tikki-tembo-no-sarembo-chari-bari-ruchi-pip-peri-pembo.)

So...happy childhood memories to all!


  1. Great post! I saw a few of my favorites, too! Thanks so much for bidding on the critique and I look forward to reading your work. We're not that far apart, I'm in Shreveport and my best friend from high school lives in Little Rock now. Funny how it took a writer in Japan for us to meet!

  2. That IS funny!
    I've only recently moved to the South, however.I call myself a midwesterner, though I've lived on the east coast, west coast and lots of in-between.

    I'm still getting used to the heat (even though it's been a year now). I love the accents and the native kindness. There really is Something about the South. And I am already coming to love it.

    Looking forward to communicating with you. I've sent Kat my documents via email, so you should see them soon. :)