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Friday, January 28, 2011

Only Four?

Planning an independent book festival requires creativity with decor and design. Without a commercial theme, we chose to focus on the books we love. At today's staff meeting, each person received a sheet on which to record favorite children's books. The completed pages trickled in during the day...some placed in our mail box and most delivered by hand with comments. The most common? It was hard to choose only four. Some people simply added more titles to the sheet.

Compiling the lists is a pleasure. In addition to the books, people commented on the reasons for loving the books. There are duplicate titles, of course, showing how specific books touch so many people. There are older books and new books. There are books read to children and books that had been read to them as children. There are favorite read-aloud titles and books perfect for reading alone. As many as possible will be sold at the book festival in March.

My husband teases me about my favorite books. They are all your favorites, he tells me. Not really. I just love so many. For this list, my choices were
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey - I love the art, the story behind his drawing of the ducks, and the determination of Mrs. Mallard to teach her ducklings all the important things in life.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg - Since reading this book (published the year I was born!), I have always wanted to stay overnight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - I experienced every emotion while reading this book...everyone should read it.
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg - Our sons requested this book so many times that we can still recite it from memory.
Consider your own top four choices! Post them to share.


  1. Too hard. I've been trying to select four titles but the task has proven impossible. But I smiled at your four choices. And sighed with pleasure as I remembered the experience of each...with the exception of The Wednesday Wars which I have not yet read.

  2. That IS a hard choice. No, I can't pick my top four, but I can pick four of my top books. I love all of your choices, especially THE WEDNESDAY WARS (I laughed out loud, and I cried reading this one, and I seldom do either when I'm reading) and EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM (no matter how many times I've read it, I still love reading it out loud).
    But the four that I will choose on this particular day at this particular moment are:
    RATTLETRAP CAR by Phyllis Root and Jill Barton (another joy to read out loud)
    OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA by Peggy Rathmann (the innocent expression on Gloria's face is hilarious - Peggy Rathmann is amazing)
    ROLLER COASTER by Marla Frazee (Her detailed, expressive illustrations tell multiple stories as we follow the twelve people who go for a ride on this roller coaster)
    and DEAR MR. HENSHAW by Beverly Cleary (Just like the WEDNESDAY WARS, this one still makes me laugh and cry- maybe because I'm an author, maybe because my parents were divorced. I have very fond memories of reading this to my fourth graders more than twenty years ago when I was a teacher, and I still go back and read this one).

  3. I, too, love OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA. I think my favorite part is reading all the safety tips on the end pages. I like that you noted your choices were at that particular moment, David. I like you describe the sighing in remembrance of book experiences, Brattcat.