In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Can't stop adding to the list

Dear Aunt Debbie,

I like your additions to the list, and am interested in the list by author rather than individual book -- both seem useful in different ways.

Along with the suggestions posted in comments directly on the blog, I was roundly criticized by my friends on Facebook for leaving out the following (we've mentioned a couple of these in passing, but haven't written directly about any of them):

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst
books by Leo Lionni

And, as you mentioned, Dr. Seuss.

While I like all of these books, the only one that gave me a real pang -- how could I have forgotten it? -- was Where the Wild Things Are, which is a truly perfect book.  It has everything: misbehavior (Max running after the dog with a fork in his hand), punishment, wild imagination, joyful howling, acting out frustration with parents in the imaginative sphere ("'Now stop!' Max said, and sent the Wild Things off to bed/ without their supper."), and finally, return and reconciliation.  As my friend Kate posted: "Oh that he gets sent to bed without supper and then finds it still warm!"

Yes, Wild Things should be on every list.

Love, Annie

P.S. I haven't forgotten Little Fur Family!  Look for them on Friday.

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