The books Riley wants us to read over and over are Good Night Moon, Curious George Visits a Toy Store, and any of the Dr. Seuss tongue-twisters. As children’s books go, I figure it could be much worse—at least he likes the classics. He’s got more than one book in his collection that would have to find its way to the recycle bin if he wanted to hear it every day, such as the odious/preachy I Love You Mommy.
I’m sure most of us are up to our ears in kids’ reading material and don’t need a whole lot of suggestions in that arena, but I wanted to share a few of the title that have a special place on Riley’s bookshelf. A couple of them are many years old, from when I was a little kid, and I hope that Riley one day enjoys them as much as I used to—and maybe even passes them down to his own kids. If they survive his childhood, that is, which given the state of some of his much-loved tomes seems doubtful.
Birger’s Birds. I suppose this book has been out of print for years and years, but on the off chance you stumble across it in someone’s yard sale, grab it. It’s a simple, charming little collection of illustrations; each drawing is a humorous interpretation of a real bird’s name. The Cedar Waxwing who is pictured diligently waxing his outstretched wing, for instance, or the stretched-out-flat Belted Kingfisher. My favorite is the bird featured on the cover: the Little Bittern.
Custard and Company. Here’s another one that appears to be out of print, but there are lots of options for used copies on Amazon. Custard and Company is a collection of poems by Ogden Nash, and the particular version I have has wonderful illustrations by Quentin Blake. I remember having this read to me, and eventually reading it on my own.
Tell me, O Octopus, I begs
Is those things arms, or is they legs?
I marvel at thee, Octopus
If I were thou, I’d call me Us
Flawed Dogs: The Year End Leftovers at the Piddleton “Last Chance” Dog Pound. This one’s for any Bloom County fans—it’s a beautifully, hilariously illustrated book by Berkeley Breathed, who we will simply have to forgive for his ongoing lametastic Sunday cartoon Opus. The book depicts a series of ‘unwanted dogs’, an accompanying poetic description on each page. Riley and I both love Pete the farting dog, drawn with flames shooting from his rear end, and the following text:
The Bibbles found
They could no longer quibble
The problem with Pete
Went past iffy kibble
Do you have any offbeat or older books that both the adults and kids in your family love? Or any family books passed on from generation to generation? I’d love to hear about them.