My good friend Ann -- teacher extraordinaire, one of the smartest and most electric people I know -- had a baby just over three weeks ago. Ann is a reader from way back, and during her pregnancy prepared for her daughter's arrival largely by buying children's books. At birth, this baby has the beginning of what I know will be an extensive and well-chosen library.
During her pregnancy, Ann asked me for a Top 25 list to supplement what she'd already bought: what kids' books are must-haves in starting a child's library? Tonight, I set myself to the task. 25 proved too small a number, but I was able to whittle it down to 33, only one of which I haven't yet written about here.
Lists like these are by nature extremely subjective. As I scrolled through our book lists (over there on the right side of the page), I found myself skipping over many, many books I love. What made the cut? It came down to gut reaction for me. These are the books I have reread with the most pleasure, the most number of times; the books I can't imagine living without in the first few years of a child's life.
I've divided my list into three sub-lists:
For brand-new babies: the absolute first board books to start reading to babies in their first few months.
Classics: these are largely books I grew up with, some older than others. They make up the bulk of the list.
Contemporary: books I discovered as a parent, but which I now can't live without.
A few authors make it onto the list more than once: Margaret Wise Brown leads the pack here, with four titles, followed by Sandra Boynton and Robert McCloskey. In some cases, I've cheated by referencing series rather than individual books, so that in truth this is a list approaching 50. Within each section, I've listed the books in alphabetical order by author. Here it is:
For brand-new babies:
Little Fur Family, by Margaret Wise Brown
The one I haven't yet written about, as you can see by the lack of link above, is Little Fur Family, by Margaret Wise Brown. Expect a post on it next week.
What am I missing? What have I forgotten? I'd love to hear from you, and our readers.