Favorite Kid's Book
February 28, 2005 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I was looking at mathowie's weblog: a.wholelottanothing.org, and he talked about the "theme" of the baby shower they just had - "bring your absolute favorite book you owned as a child". What was yours?

This is my first metafilter post of any sort, please be kind. If I missed a previous post, or did something wrong, I am sorry.
posted by slactoid to Media & Arts (67 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: This was my favorite - Are you my mother

I would read it over and over again. Something about that story really struck a chord with me. I wasn't neglected or abandoned, but it still touches me to this day.
posted by slactoid at 12:45 PM on February 28, 2005

A Big Ball of String
posted by nitsuj at 12:52 PM on February 28, 2005

I loved Enid Blyton - all the different flavours, at different times growing up. Noddy, the Faraway Tree series, Famous Five and Secret Seven... all sparked my imagination and wonder. I think they're timeless, and are books I would give kids (mine or someone else's).
posted by darsh at 12:54 PM on February 28, 2005

The one I remember loving most was Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. According to my "baby book," my favorite book was something called "Little Boy In The Big Woods," which I don't recall at all (this same baby book says that my "favorite toy" was a "large plastic fork," so it may not be too reliable).

I also remember really loving books about Zippy, a chimp who wore pants and rode a tricycle and other amusing antics.
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on February 28, 2005

Goodnight Moon. Makes me feel warm and safe and sleepy just thinking about it. Goodnight cup and spoon.
posted by scratch at 12:58 PM on February 28, 2005

The Little House series.
posted by deborah at 1:01 PM on February 28, 2005

The Giving Tree... it's a metaphor for life.
posted by bamassippi at 1:01 PM on February 28, 2005

Curious George Rides A Bike, of course.
posted by fixedgear at 1:02 PM on February 28, 2005

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now! was my favorite from the age of 2 to about 4. I used to pick it up in the doctor's office and read it aloud obsessively to my parents (and sometimes the doctor).

Then when I discovered the novel around the age of 5 I became book-crazy and couldn't get enough... one of my favorites in elementary school was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (author of The Giver, another one of my favorites). For some reason I was really interested in the Holocaust as a kid, particularly Anne Frank-esque stories as fiction.

Heh, this thread makes me think of the Scholastic Book Club catalog we used to get once a month... I'm so grateful to my parents for cultivating my interest in books and letting me pick 5 or so books from the catalog each month. As a kid, I am pretty sure they spent more money on books for me than they did on clothing. Needless to say, I was a poorly dressed bookworm until college.
posted by aGreatNotion at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2005

Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams
Goodnight, Moon - Margaret Wise Brown
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
Corduroy - Don Freeman
posted by contessa at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2005

Mr. Bell's Fixit Shop
posted by saladin at 1:04 PM on February 28, 2005

the first book I remember calling a favorite is A Wrinkle in Time.
posted by lbergstr at 1:05 PM on February 28, 2005

Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now! was my favorite from the age of 2 to about 4. I used to pick it up in the doctor's office and read it aloud obsessively to my parents (and sometimes the doctor).

I had a similar experience around age 5, with a book who's title escapes me (it was about a feindish neighbor who kidnaps a dog to make commercials. or something). I found it in the waiting room at the dentist, go 3/4 of the way through before I had to go see the dentist, then afterwards insisted my mom stay until I finished the book.
posted by jonmc at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2005

I remember in 2nd grade, for Christmas someone gave me a Roald Dahl box set with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach and Danny the Champion of the World. They were the first chapter books I ever read, and I savored them like fine chocolate. I probably read that set four, five times before I read anything else. Soon after was Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, and the all time scariest book for kids - The Witches (after reading it I had to sleep on my parents floor for a month!).
posted by Quartermass at 1:08 PM on February 28, 2005

Response by poster: Already, I remembered a few books I forgot - I loved the Curious George books, and like velveteen rabbit a whole lot.
On Preveiw:
A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite "older" books of all time.
posted by slactoid at 1:09 PM on February 28, 2005

If I Ran the Zoo.
posted by shoos at 1:10 PM on February 28, 2005

Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? or Busy, Busy Town.
posted by electroboy at 1:11 PM on February 28, 2005

Andrew Henry's Meadow, which I just googled for only to find out they're making it into a movie. I hope they don't mess it up.

Another book that had a major impact on my life was My Side of the Mountain. It gave me a lifelong love of the outdoors, which led me to my wife, which led to my son, etc...
posted by bondcliff at 1:11 PM on February 28, 2005

Another Margaret Wise Brown classic, The Little Fur Family was my favorite kid book.
posted by jessamyn at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2005

IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN! (by Maurice Sendak)

well, one of my favorites anyways.

i suspect i remember it best, because it was later banned from some libraries because Sendak has a scene where the main character, Max, is DEPICTED GRAPHICALLY NAKED (OMG).*

great book though.

also, i recall one about a mouse trying to get to the moon, only to climb a ladder to a shelf and find a chunk of cheese (which he thinks the moon is made out of anyways, so he's stoked, because he made it to the moon, right, and the moon's cheese! that'll teach you a lesson about simple pleasures (or the pleasure of simplicity or something. i don't know. i'm just looking for a license to drink more alcohol more often.).

posted by fishfucker at 1:18 PM on February 28, 2005

D'Aulaire's Greek Myths was by far my favorite.
posted by selfnoise at 1:21 PM on February 28, 2005

also, "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs", and Round Trip which I was just thinking about yesterday as I was driving on the freeway at night.

now i want to go to my folk's house and go through all my old books.

man. i love children's books.

i usually dislike these "what x is your fav?", but i must admit i love this one. what a great thread.

posted by fishfucker at 1:25 PM on February 28, 2005

There's a lot of old favorites on this thread.

Here's another personal fave: The Phantom Tollbooth. I literally read my copy of this book to pieces: it got to the point when all I had was a pile of pages that I would read by picking up a page from the 'to be read' pile and then placing that page on the 'read' pile.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:26 PM on February 28, 2005

Harold and the Purple Crayon.
posted by makonan at 1:29 PM on February 28, 2005

Oh, and Goodbye Mr. Chips
posted by darsh at 1:31 PM on February 28, 2005

Also, when I was really little it was all about Pat The Bunny and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:32 PM on February 28, 2005

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever. I still have the original book, and now read it to my little boy & girl. (It's a little worse for wear these days).
posted by kokogiak at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2005

So many, but I'll name one that hasn't been mentioned yet -- Mr. Popper's Penguins.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:35 PM on February 28, 2005

Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee
posted by Robot Johnny at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2005 [1 favorite]

Oh, yeah, for sheer nonsensery and wordplay, Dr. Seuss. Ahh, those star bellied sneetches, there is a lesson in there for us all...
posted by fixedgear at 1:51 PM on February 28, 2005

Me too, makonan, I read Harold and the Purple Crayon over and over when I was a kid, and thought it would be so cool to be able to make what I wanted for lunch by drawing it. (Then when I went to college the comedy troup was called 'The Purple Crayon,' and I thought that was cool, too.)

When I was older I also really loved the book about the girl who lives on her own for a month in a museum or a library -- it was either "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweller" or "Harriet the Spy," I think.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:52 PM on February 28, 2005

The George and Martha books
Lyle Lyle Crocodile
Anything Dr. Seuss
Maurice Sendak's Nutshell Library (these stories and others were made into the TV special Really Rosie, which is one of my all-time favorite TV movies)
The Monster at the End of this Book

On preview: onlyconnect, it is "From The Mixed Up Files..." and I loved that book too. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 1:55 PM on February 28, 2005

Even though I am far from being an "outdoorsy" person and wasn't a very adventurous kid, I really liked Gary Paulsen's books.
posted by aGreatNotion at 1:55 PM on February 28, 2005

Yeah, I gotta second Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day?.

Great characters (Able Bake Charlie, Huckle, Lowly Worm...) and great drawings (yeast tablets with big capital Y's on them, ovens shaped like bread, and of course the wood-grinding machine with the face and conveyor belts).

So many images from that book are tucked away in my mind. The dog saying "Never never touch!" and pointing to the electrical box in the house being built. The hot and cold water pipes being red and blue... great, great drawings that were fun to look at and really helped you understand just how stuff worked.

And you gotta admit, when the farmer bought that new red truck with the proceeds from selling all his corn?.. That was one snazzy little truck! Even had a cute little hood ornament.
posted by blueberry at 1:59 PM on February 28, 2005

Since Phantom Tollbooth and Monster at the End of This Book have already been mentioned, how about The Pokey Little Puppy.
posted by dnash at 2:11 PM on February 28, 2005

I was raised on the Fox and the Crow, although I probably just would have brought a copy of The Great Brain.
posted by vacapinta at 2:15 PM on February 28, 2005

Ramona the pest by Beverly Cleary, and all the other Ramona books.

Darsh, I'm with you on Enid Blyton too! It's a shame her books aren't that popular here in the states.
posted by ramix at 2:16 PM on February 28, 2005

- One Monster After Another
- Tiffky Doofky

And once I could read on my own, The BFG.
posted by me3dia at 2:23 PM on February 28, 2005

My favorite was this book with two characters (a fat and a thin, maybe?) and a well. Wasn't "Jack and Jill". I wish I remembered the title. I recall this much only because for the longest time, whenever I had to spell the word "well", I'd consult that book. Strange, but true. I don't know if I didn't know about dictionaries or just thought that way was quicker.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:25 PM on February 28, 2005

I'm surprised no one else has mentioned Bill Peet. My personal favorite is The Luckiest One of All, but his other books, including The Gnats of Knotty Pine and Cowardly Clyde are also high on my list.
posted by yarmond at 2:25 PM on February 28, 2005

The Story of Young King Arthur and The 13 Clocks were my favorite chapter books - for picture books, it was The Runaway Bunny, Rain Makes Applesauce, Madeline, and Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (by the authors of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). Another favorite mentioned above, The Monster at the End of This Book, was somewhere in between.

I only discovered the George and Martha books recently. My 6 yr old daughter and I both love them. Her current favorite is Arnie the Doughnut.
posted by expialidocious at 2:27 PM on February 28, 2005

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes -- beautiful illustrations, beautiful story.
posted by scody at 2:35 PM on February 28, 2005

Meal One by Ivor Cutler and Helen Oxenbury.

In 1972, when I was three, I wrote a fan-letter to Ivor Cutler (with a little help from my mum) and got a lovely letter back from him. I still have it. It says:







My first introduction to English surrealism! Thank you, Ivor, wherever you are.
posted by verstegan at 2:47 PM on February 28, 2005 [2 favorites]

God, somebody else read The Phantom Tollbooth! I get blank stares whenever I suggest it, and trying to explain what it's about makes me come across like Martin Prince from The Simpsons.

I vote Where The Wild Things Are and The Magic Pudding. The former has the coolest monsters ever. The latter is full of violence, murder, swearing, smoking and eating, and was directly responsible for my love of the English language.

Nobody's going to suggest the classics? The Wind In The Willows? Treasure Island? The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? Not much use to a newborn, but there's something magical about discovering books like these on the shelf as you get a little older.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2005

Little Women. I read it over thirty times between ages six and eight. ("Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents...")
posted by thomas j wise at 3:07 PM on February 28, 2005

I was waaaayyy into Lois Lenski's books about small and little this and that, especially Cowboy Small and The Little Sailboat. They are fine book,s but I'm not sure why I was so into them. Even now they captivate me. A few weeks ago I stood like an idiot staring at them for an hour at a local bookstore.
posted by mds35 at 3:07 PM on February 28, 2005

Misty Of Chincoteague and pretty much anything else by Marguerite Henry. I was really into horses plus I lived in Maryland right on the Bay, so the Misty books resonated on a lot of levels.
posted by LeeJay at 3:30 PM on February 28, 2005

ramix: Ramona books freakin rule. Oh, the trouble I would get into, trying to emulate my first literary heroine.
posted by contessa at 3:43 PM on February 28, 2005

A while ago, bradth27 helped me remember Where Do I Belong? by Jean M. Craig when I couldn't recall the title and posted to AskMe about it. I bought it soon after and am still grateful to him for that.

I too loved the Little House books (far sadder and more strange than the saccharine TV series would suggest), Harold and the Purple Crayon, Are You My Mother?, and Richard Scarry. I'm surprised no one's mentioned Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Secret Garden. I read The Phantom Tollbooth as an adult, adored it, and wished I'd had it as a child.

What a great idea for a shower...
posted by melissa may at 3:44 PM on February 28, 2005

Golden Books!!!!!!!!!! I remember my mother gave all of mine away one day and I have never gotten over it. These were really my first books.
posted by scazza at 3:44 PM on February 28, 2005

Oh and god yes, The Secret Garden. That was later in life but one of the most important books of my life.
posted by scazza at 3:48 PM on February 28, 2005

The Black Cauldron, and all the others in The Chronicles of Prydain. While everyone else was into C.S. Lewis, I was diggin' the Lloyd Alexander.

And I'll second The Great Brain series, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Andrew Henry's Meadow.
posted by kables at 3:55 PM on February 28, 2005

Big amen to The Phantom Tollbooth (people look at me funny when I try to describe it too), and the entire Great Brain series.

I remember being let out of the car at the library and running straight to the F shelf in the children's section every week with the hope that Mr. Fitzgerald had written another.

Also -- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
posted by mileena at 4:45 PM on February 28, 2005

I grew up in the bad old days before children ruled the world and had very limited access to children's books. But we did have the complete Encyclopedia of Junior Classics which aside from having too few illustrations also pulled cruel tricks like including one chapter, and one chapter only, from a novel. In Volume five: Stories of Boys and Girls, there was one chapter from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

When I was older and already reading novels (5th or 6th grade), I discovered Winnie the Pooh. I was enchanted. It was a very black day when Disney and Sears got a hold of the Milne Books and lessened their charm by making them so ubiquitous.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:05 PM on February 28, 2005

My favorites were The Story of Ferdinand, Harry the Dirty Dog, Caps for Sale (darn you monkeys!), and The Charles Addams Mother Goose, which explains a lot about me.
posted by plinth at 6:02 PM on February 28, 2005

Don't know if it was my favorite, but it's the first book from childhood that springs to mind: Seuss' On Beyond Zebra! Nowadays I find the higher planes of the Unicode specification more interesting than perhaps I should. Maybe Mr. Geisel is to blame.
posted by letourneau at 6:19 PM on February 28, 2005

The Phantom Tollbooth was the first book I thought of when I saw this thread. I look forward to introducing it to my nephew in a couple of years.
posted by geekyguy at 7:11 PM on February 28, 2005

Picture Book: Eloise
Chapter Book: Eight Cousins, Stuart Little, Homer Price, and/or The Great Brain series.
posted by Miko at 7:40 PM on February 28, 2005

Harriet the Spy. The Phantom Toolbooth. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
Too many to write down...
posted by govtdrone at 7:47 PM on February 28, 2005

D'Aulaire's Greek Myths was by far my favorite.
posted by selfnoise at 1:21 PM PST on February 28

Oh hell yes. That well-worn copy still has a priced place on my bookshelf. When the other kids were reading about Dick and Jane and Spot doing whatever the hell boring things those three were up to, I got to be curl up in a corner happily devouring D'Aulaire's. Thank god for Montessori.

Also favs: Shel Silverstein's Where The Sidewalk Ends, the Narnia chronicles, Noel Streatfeild's Shoes books *sniffle*, A Wrinkle In Time...

Actually didn't read that many of the titles others have mentioned. We has tradition of "bedtime story" as collaborative improv, so we skipped a lot of the usual children's classics. (Though had fun making up our own!)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:01 PM on February 28, 2005

my favorite: Harold and the Purple Crayon

Some friends threw the same type of shower for us when we had our first. We got The Velveteen Rabbit, some Richard Scarry, some Dr. Seuss and two copies of Where the Wild Things Are, plus The Read Aloud Handbook. Buy this book for every new parent you know. I mean it.
posted by whatnot at 9:35 PM on February 28, 2005

Ernest and Celestine, by Gabriel Vincent. The story of an poor bear and the mouse he takes care of. Ernest adopted Celestine after she was left in a basket on his doorstep. They live in Paris, busk for money (Ernest plays the violin and she sings), go on picnics, searching for Celestine's penguin doll when she loses it, and generally do the sorts of things that children understand.

Hard to find in english - but very worth it.
posted by louigi at 2:02 AM on March 1, 2005

I had this great book which involved (if I remember correctly) falling asleep on a Tram, something about a windmill, something about the colour yellow and waking to discover that it was all a dream. I think it was a Dutch or German book, and I learned later that it was probably Nazi or Communist propaganda. (I can't remember which, and if it was, it didn't work so good).

I loved that book, and I'd love to know what it was called.
posted by seanyboy at 4:21 AM on March 1, 2005

Pat the Bunny! for the pre-reading years. Once I got the hang of reading more, any Dr. Suess, Richard Scarry, or Curious George.
posted by zombiebunny at 4:30 AM on March 1, 2005

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry and Ratsmagic by Wayne Anderson.
posted by belladonna at 7:29 PM on March 1, 2005

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