Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Children's Books

I adore this book. Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen is so sweet! Michael and I laughed aloud while reading this to Ender, and Ender even laughed while enjoying the darling pictures! It's kind of an ugly-duckling story but with far more charm (and the crocodile isn't changing into anything fancy). I HIGHLY recommend it. I want to own it.

If you're looking for some literature that is incredibly uplifting, masterfully written, stimulating for any brain, and brilliantly plotted, this book is at the top of the list (The Stupids... by Hary Allard and James Marshall). Hahahaha. Just kidding. It's at the bottom. But I have such fond memories of my mother cracking up while reading these books to us (because they ARE stupid), and even fonder memories of us being stupid and remembering the book. Have you ever gotten in an elevator and forgotten to push the buttons? "The Stupids ride the elevator." Maybe that's why I love these books--it makes it easier to laugh when I do something stupid knowing The Stupids always do something stupid.

Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis is a cute and imaginative book. The author's also written "Not a Box," which might suggest she lacks imagination for titles, but the books encourage children to be creative with ordinary objects (the stick can be all sorts of things). That's important to me. Somedays I feel weary of toys because they're practically manufactured to do all the thinking for kids (well, kind of). Some of my better childhood memories come from being insanely creative with everything around me (A fence as a cannon? It worked)!

There are lots of Mr. Sillypants books by M. K. Brown and I haven't actually read them all, but I remember reading this book with my sister. We even have a picture of us together with it! Hm, now I need to see if I can find it anywhere. Anyway, simply put, Mr. Sillypants really is silly.

I'm not sure if the title or the art intrigued me the most, but neither disappointed me. I did kind of wish it went into scientific-like details of the supernatural talent of eating books (that just sounds fun to me), but the story takes it a good direction anyway. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers is one that I think any kid might enjoy because the very idea of eating books is cool!

I love just about anything written by William Steig. His art is almost childish, comparable to Quentin Blake's illustrations. And the storylines are clever, funny and sweet. In this book, Pete's a Pizza, a boy is very bored and doesn't know what to do. His father pretends Pete is a pizza and plays with him, putting "food" on the boy and "baking him." It makes me think of something either my parents would do with us or Michael would do with Ender.

Thank heaven for brilliant librarians! I've wanted to find this book for ages, and I finally just asked the librarian if she knew what book I might be thinking of. I described it like this "A grandpa is telling his grandkids about how his house got flooded when he was a child, and it was funny to me because the child version of the grandpa still had a mustache. But I can't remember anything else!" The librarian smiled sweetly. "Sounds like James Stevenson! Yes, 'We Hate Rain,' does that look like the right book?" HALLELUIAH!!!!

In the same conversation (she'd sparked my faith), I said "Maybe you'd know another book I've been wanting to find. I read it when I was about 11, so all I can remember is that it took place in England--they called trucks "lorries"--and there was a kind of battle between the peddlers and truckers..." A librarian around the corner poked her head around a bookcase and said "The Pushcart War. Darn funny book!" I couldn't stop smiling. I've put a picture of something that's apparently based on the original novel, but the link goes to the original. Whatever!

Again, bothering the same librarian--I couldn't help myself!--I asked if she knew about a book where a boy drank the stories through a straw. She had to think maybe a minute before she recalled the title for me! AMAZING woman! I read The Ink Drinker by Eric Sanvoisin when I was about 10. I loved it so much! I loved the book even more by the fact that the author wrote in his bio-note that if someone were to write to him, he would send them a straw--guaranteed.

I have yet to read the sequel! Oh my! I just realized in my search that there are two more books! Happy day! :) that's two separate links there.
I love librarians. And libraries. Books make me so happy!


  1. Q, I am SOOOOO excited to look these up for my kids! THANK YOU!

    I do remember the Stupids....what about Eulalie and the Talking Head? HAHHAHAHHA!!!

  2. I DO remember Eulalie!!! That book made us laugh so hard! I can't find it anywhere, though...are we spelling her name wrong?

  3. Oh Qait! I am so excited to look these up for the girls. They look like gems. Did you try any of the ones I blogged about a month or so ago? You'll love them too.

    The Stupids. :D And elevators...and not pressing the button...LOVE it of course. Do you remember the George and Martha books which are also by James Marshall? The two hippos who are best friends?

    I'm off to request these at my library. It's small, but since we're LA County, I'm practically guaranteed it'll be in the system and won't take long to get to our library. Just can't always find things by browsing the local shelves!

    And speaking of toys that aren't meant to be toys...I (naturally) immediately thought of you and Maddie wearing training bras as surgical masks!!! :D HAHAHHAHAA!! Ah, the memories.

  4. I just finished putting EVERY one of those books on hold. :D Can't wait! I forgot to say that I love, love, love librarians like that. I also realized -- I don't think you're listed on the family book blog. Are you?! I think you should just copy this post over to that blog. I think Lynness and Annie would love to look these up. AND, you could post asking about Eulalie and the Talking Heads. Betcha Aunt Rae would know.

  5. I tried all the books that you listed! (Except we couldn't find Mary and the Mouse, and I missed it when Sally and the Purple Socks was on hold--sad). I loved the books you listed so much that I thought about relisting them!
    Ender LOVED "Hilda Must Be Dancing." The first thing he'd say when he woke up was "hippo! Eh wanna see hippo!" And he'd look through it forever. So cute.
    I wouldn't mind being on the book blog...as long as you guys didn't mind if I wasn't a regular contributor. This was fun though, so maybe I WILL do this more often. :)

  6. I would like to know what kind of books YOU read. There are certain people you trust to recommend good books (i.e. Rae recommends The Hunger Games, I loved it) Then my mother-in-law recommends things, and I don't think I ever like them. Seems to me like you and I would have similar tastes in books, especially because you bleed the same book blood as Rae!

    So, what have you read lately that you would recommend? Adult books that its.

  7. Okay, I consider myself a fairly competent children's literature connoisseur. I took classes in Children's Lit at BYU, for heaven's sake. But some of these books are new even to me! Very nice. Thanks for the ideas!


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