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10 Books For Little Guys

  • Jul 9, 2010
Yes, anything with vehicles or moving wheels are always a hit with small boys...but while I'm a bookworm, I found it a bit of a trial-and-error process to find those "special books," for my son that both he and I would enjoy reading over and over - and which, hopefully, will become part of his childhood memories. These are the ones that have been hits between ages 1 and 3.
1
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
With its bright colors and simple text, this book is great for babies - and it's the reason "cocoon," was one of my son's first dozen words. ("Cake," following closely behind, if I remember correctly.) He loved it so much, in fact, that some of the pages are missing or torn. Definitely worth buying as a board book.
2
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Forget the fact that this is about a GIRL pig, one who likes to play dress-up. That's never mattered - it's just a great story, with great illustrations, able to be appreciated by adults just as much (or more) than kids. One caveat - that page where Olivia tries out her Jackson Pollack imitation on the living room wall will probably eventually happen in your house, too. Hopefully in crayon.
3
I Love You, Stinky Face
There's not much better than snuggling with a little one and whispering, "I love you, Stinky Face," in their ear while they giggle. Plus, the illustrations are funny enough to keep both adults and kids entertained.
4
Busy, Busy Town
Yes, there's a lot going on as you turn each page. But while I initially worried that would be overwhelming, my son, at age 2, loved this book. I tend to read only a few sentences from each page, because naptime has to come at SOME point. But it's still a fond journey down memory lane, as the pictures of Lowly the Worm and Goldbug remind me of my own childhood days.
5
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
I had this book on tape as a kid, and my son ended up loving "Mouse Cookies," just as much as me. So much so, in fact, that his constant turning of pages pulled apart our deluxe treasury edition, which came complete with songs and cookie recipes. Once again, we are looking for a sturdier edition.
6
Green Eggs and Ham
EVERYBODY likes green eggs and ham. (Except maybe Sam.) Seriously, this book is just fun to read, which is important when you are reading to a small person who insists on hearing the same book over and over again. And by the time we moved on to other favorites, my son could "read" half the story by himself. We logged serious hours on this story. Plus, you can read it super-fast, or skip large sections on extra-wiggly nights, without the story suffering.
7
Fox in Socks
Another one that's fun for adults to read (again and again). You might need a warm-up before getting to the part about tweedle beetles. And it's fun for my son, who likes to pretend HE is the fox in socks.
8
Truckery Rhymes
And this one's all him. These Mother Goose-based rhymes substitute trucks, fire engines, ambulances and other equipment for traditional characters, much more appealing for little guys. By the time you've read through a couple of times, you can identify the names of each of the characters (and develop different voices for them if you're feeling ambitious). Such a huge hit with my son we got it out from the library three consecutive times. And finally just bought it.
9
Ready For Anything
Another hit for my 2-year-old, going on 3. It's just fun to exclaim, "A dragon! AAAAAHH!" and hide together under a blanket, a la Duck and Racoon.
10
Love You Forever
This one is pretty much solely for the mommies - but, hey, reading to your kids is at least PARTLY about you, right? My sister and I were already in grade school when this book came out, so I'd never heard of it until a friend mentioned that this story about how a mother tells her son - from babyhood to adulthood - that she'll love him forever makes her cry every time. And she was right. This was a shameless tearjerker that had me crying the first time through, and was only marginally better the second time around. It makes you realize how fleeting this time will be. But it's a lovely way to tell your little one he'll always be your baby, no matter what - and while it may not elicit as many giggles as dragons and excavators, that's something he'll always want to hear.

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July 30, 2010
Great list! About the If You Give... series, do you prefer the Mouse one? Have you read the others? If You Give a Moose a Muffin etc. For a while the Moose was my grandson's favorite but now the Moose seems to be.
August 02, 2010
Our treasury has several Mouse stories, as well as Pig and Moose...but my son is sticking with "Mouse Cookies," as his favorite. I think it's because of the cookies, though! :-D
 
July 12, 2010
This was a fantastic list and great idea. I remember all these picture books from my youth. Thanks so much for sharing! I also agree with @devora--you will like Christopher's list too. :)
 
July 10, 2010
Thanks for sharing this adorable list, Emma!  #1 is one of my absolute favorites.  I have very fond memories of reading it when I was in preschool and elementary school.  By the way, I think you would really enjoy @KitEck's When We Were Young list, too.  Similar theme to this list with different books :)
 
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