Yeah, I know, late again for Top Ten Tuesday, but I loved this week’s theme and couldn’t not participate! So here we are.
This week, it’s Top Ten Favorite Picture Books from your childhood. I thought that because Ben also has a great reading history in this department, we should do a shared list (much like the characters list we did last month).
So, my five are first and Ben’s five follow.
Shannon’s Top Five Favorites
Ack, this list has me all sappy remembering these books and being read to as a kid. Get ready for some non-high-brow literature, baby. Here we go.
1. A Day at the Beach by Mircea Vasiliu
I was truly tickled to see that this one had reviews and comments on Goodreads. I loved going through this as a kid because everything is labeled and I could pick out all the things I recognized and all the things our (Great Lakes) beaches didn’t offer: crabs, giant seashells, etc. I still have my copy of this and every time my eye passes over it on the shelf, I remember being little and running through the waves with a butt covered in sand and sticky lemonade spills. So pure.
p.s. I did a bunch of Googling but couldn’t find a spread to share and I think my copy might be at my dad’s house or with one of my siblings.
2. Fairy Tales: A Puppet Treasury Book, Illustrations by Tadasu Izawa and Shigemi Hijikata
I memorized every single story and image in this creepy-ass 3D puppet illustration fairy tale book. The witch in Hansel and Gretel is truly alarming. Some internet sleuthing tells me that this was a popular form of “illustration” and that my compendium of stories were originally released as individual books with various editions in the 60s and 70s. There’s no copyright date inside the volume I have, just individual copyrights for the illustrations. It was bought for me in the 80s. Creepy? Yes. But now I also see now that I hold a bit of picture book history in my personal library.
3. The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot, Illustrations by Ruth Brown
This one was given to me by my mom’s cousin and his wife. It’s written by Jim Herriot of rural-veterinarian-writer fame. It’s a sweet story about a mother cat who brought her kitten to the home of an elderly woman before she (the mother cat) died. Very real talk for a little kid, but I loved sweet stories about animals. I also read this to Jacob when he was little.
4. This random children’s Bible
We were pretty Catholic when I was growing up. I received this as a baptism gift and my dad read it to me at bedtime. I’m no longer religious, but I still have the Bible, which went through both my siblings after me, then passed on to Jacob. I’ll probably have it forever and/or pass it on to grandchildren or, if Jacob doesn’t have children, possibly nieces or nephews.
5. The Bedtime Book
This was a board book and I am now kicking myself because I can’t find. I’ve had it since I was little. It’s a board book. There is a little girl on the cover praying and the book is shaped around her silhouette. Gonna’ check with my siblings to see if either of them have it. I couldn’t find it online and really, it offers no literary significance. It was just special to us because it was read to us about a million times. Sort of our version of Goodnight Moon, which I don’t remember having as a kid.
Ben’s Top Five Favorites
Top 5 Records presents: the top 5 picture books of my childhood. Dr. Seuss boutsa be all up in the mothafuckin house. 😉 With longer to work on it I might make slightly different selections, but I think this is a pretty decent list.
1. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, illustrated by Michael Hague
The story itself is delightful, Tolkien’s Middle Earth is enchanting, and what little kid wouldn’t love an epic adventure where a half-size character gets to play the hero? Hague’s illustrations are a delightful mix of evocative scene-setting and dramatic action. On top of all that, it was a birthday present from one of my favorite Aunts. One of my all-time favorite books, picture or otherwise.
2. Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss
I could fill this whole list with just Dr. Seuss books. But this one has a family tradition behind it. Also, if Wikipedia is correct, it is the first all-color picture book. So it’ll stand in for other favorites like Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are, On Beyond Zebra, and I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew. We would always get Happy Birthday To You from the library when any of the Rooney children had a birthday coming up, and my Dad would read it in honor of the birthday child. I find myself noting the sage injunction, “You have to be born, or you don’t get a present” to this very day.
Did this book contribute to the fact that I keep wanting to treat myself and those around me to slightly-extravagant birthday celebrations? Maaaaayyyyybe…..
3. The Grey Lady and The Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang
The whole book is just beautiful, slightly surreal pictures. The style is sort of Toulouse-Lautrec meets Dixit. Despite the absence of words the story is quite clearly told, and there is plenty of action and suspense.
4. Upside-Downers by Mitsumasa Anno
This book is really fun and creative. It’s written half upside down, and half right-side up. But which is which? The playing card-themed characters bicker about who is doing it wrong. Finally the matter comes before the Kings. “Oh king, great king your Heartiness, aren’t we the ones who are up? Oh King, kind king your Clubbiness aren’t they the ones who are down?”
5. Saint George and The Dragon by Margaret Hodges, Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
If you didn’t get this book from the Scholastic book fair back in the day, you were missing out. It has vivid illustrations, with some cool little details in the sidebars that reward a closer examination. The prose hints at alliterative verse, giving it a somewhat poetic effect. There are a few awkwardly turned phrases here and there, but as a kid I wasn’t about to scrutinize minor authorial foibles. LOOK AT THAT FREAKIN’ DRAGON!
Thus ends another belated Top Ten Tuesday. Did you participate? If so, leave your link below!