Children's Books

I spent the morning reading children's books (I don't start work until next week). Now, you have to realize one of my absolute favorite pastimes is, in fact, reading children’s books (Which is why Bryan included reading children’s books in my birthday countdown.)! I honestly adore them! And I don’t believe “children’s books” should be (or are) just for children. They’re for everyone. And that includes me! C.S. Lewis wrote, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." Amen.

Some, are purely for fun or laughter. (And, some I swear were created thanks to drugs…they’re that off the wall.) Growing up (meaning in my childhood through today, as I’m still growing up) some of my favorites included:
  • Chicka Chica Boom Boom by John Archambault, Bill Martin, Jr., and Lois Ehlert—this one is great for teaching the ABCs. I even used to have the whole thing memorized! "A said to B, and B said to C, I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree...chicka chica boom boom, will there be enough room?" Tell me that's not catchy?!
  • Then The Troll Heard The Squeak by Kevin Hawkes—my sister, Bekah, and I LOVED (and love) this one! We also had it memorized (she still does)! The story is of a little girl who jumps on her bed in the middle of the night causing all sorts of ruckus throughout the house. Alas, the troll who lives in the basement hears her jumping on her bed, and really isn't cool with the noise. So he takes care of it…by eating her bed. Haha. Most hysterical.
  • He Came with the Couch by David Slonim was a later discovery. In fact, it wasn't until I worked at the BYU MOA shop that I bonded with this fantastic book. It's for sure one of the funniest book I have ever read! Why? Well, it’s so…odd. My words could never adequately describe this fantastic book. It’s about a family who needs a new couch, so they find a used one. The only thing is there is an awkward animal stuck to it…and that's what it's about. ...just read it.
  • And if you want an entirely inapropriate book that definitely will make you laugh due to shock value, you might read Walter the Farting Dog: Banned from the Beach (yes you read right) by Kotzwinkle, Murray, and Gundy. They actually have a whole series about this creature...not to mention it's a New York Times Best-Selling Series! Don't ask me how?! Who writes books like this?! And why do I know about this book? Well, in the thick of finals I was having a...rough day. Knowing how much I love children's books, Bryan stopped by the bookstore on his way home from work. Knowing how much I hate certain bodily functions, he felt this would catch me off guard enough to make me laugh. Well, it still makes me shock, disgust, etc. Don't ask me how this got published. I for one, will not be reading this to my children...not until they're at least 25! Ha!

Then of course, others have some of the sweetest and most pristine messages! Many of which, hold some of life’s most valuable lessons. Rather than hiding those important messages amidst hundreds of pages of complex text, however, children’s books often offer their messages in a purely plain and simple way.
  • Almost anything by Max Lucado I love! Because I Love You, You Are Special, and With You all the Way are just some. Most everything I've read of his is beautiful; many of his books even have gospel messages woven amidst the pictures and text. I often use these as Family Home Evening lessons.
  • An all time favorite that my Mom used to read to me, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I love the words, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
  • All the Places You Will Go by Dr. Sues. This is one of my family’s favorite graduation books. It talks about the ups and downs and hold ups of journeying out on your own. Although it’s full of rhymes, made up animals, and nonsense words I confess I tear up now and again when I read it. I certainly did when I received it on my 18th birthday, just before the great unknown (Oh wait…I’m still in the great unknown. And I love it!).
  • Tell me you don’t love The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt. This one can be read at Christmas or Easter even, as it discusses how three threes become a manger, a boat on Galilee, and a cross. Each tree had lofty dreams when they still stood on their hill, but their dreams were nothing in comparison to the opportunity to serve the Son of God.
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. This is a great children’s book in which a father teaches his child how to “get rid of” enemies. The end answer: befriend them, get to know them, and serve them. It’s most comical, however, as the little boy does all that his father suggests thinking it’s a masterful plot to get rid of the enemy: play with the enemy, share with the enemy…. What a brilliant father, teaching his son how to be a friend.
  • A dear friend of mine introduced me to another fabulous book: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. This is a most heart warming tale of a young boy who does everything he can to help an elderly woman get her memory back. I find when I read this book I'm inspired and motivated to have hope and go out and serve. It's a great find.  
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, always a winner! Talk about the ultimate example of selflessness! I'm told there is also a comical parody called The Taking Tree. I'll have to look into that.
  • And another all time favorite I Knew You Could by Craig Dorfman and Cristina Ong. It’s a spinoff from I Think I Can. This beautiful book is an analogy of life. It talks about the many “tracks” we’ll have to choose from, sometimes we’ll travel with other trains and sometimes with but a few. The book discusses how sometimes we may see an airplane and wish we could fly, but keep focus and you'll find there are wonderful things about being a train. Whenever I’m in a hard place I love to read this book. There’s a part that discusses that sometimes you’ll be in a dark tunnel, but as you keep going you’ll see the end and light. I get all choked up. I love this book! This book is perfect for everyone, no matter what age and no matter what you are going through. A lil pick me up. 
Sigh. I love children’s books!

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