Nursery Must Haves
January 5, 2011 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me make a list of nursery must haves (books and nursery rhyme CDs) that any english speaking toddler should have!

We want to raise our child bilingually and part of that is sharing all the wonderful stories and songs the English language has to offer. What are the classics / must haves /absolutely wonderfuls I should be buying on Amazon?

(Books: Thinking of things like "Where the Wild Things Are". CDs: Preferably ones I can listen to myself without wanting to throttle the warbling children's choir or the obnoxious clown performing on it)
posted by Omnomnom to Media & Arts (30 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
You need the complete works of Dr. Seuss, of course.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:37 AM on January 5, 2011

Definitely recommend 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson - also look for other books by her
posted by SRMorris at 6:40 AM on January 5, 2011

Books: Goodnight Gorilla, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, Pat the Bunny, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar. We have these in english, but our spanish is good enough that we read them to her in both languages :)

Here's a post about selecting good picture books, including lists of "best" books.
posted by dpx.mfx at 6:41 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Eric Carle books mentioned above (Caterpilliar, et al).

Also: Mother Goose, Beatrix Potter and the original (not Disney) Pooh stories. We also very much like the original Little Bear books.
posted by jquinby at 6:43 AM on January 5, 2011

Ha, I actually own the original Pooh stories! (And it's strange how many of those are classics in German translation as well, but I do want to get the originals.)
posted by Omnomnom at 6:47 AM on January 5, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
posted by Fairchild at 6:48 AM on January 5, 2011

As a parent, I never grew tired of this CD. And my son really liked it too. That's a win-win.
Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.
posted by annekenstein at 6:52 AM on January 5, 2011

Toot and Puddle and the Beatrix Potter books.
posted by cooker girl at 7:04 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Anything by Richard Scarry, for sure.
posted by Dragonness at 7:05 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

OH! Anything from Graeme Base.
posted by cooker girl at 7:06 AM on January 5, 2011

Shirley Hughes has made many lovely books, particularly brilliant for toddlers is Bathwater's Hot.
posted by brambory at 7:21 AM on January 5, 2011

I heartily recommend: Frog and Toad are Friends!
And in case you don't get all the Dr. Seuss at once, I could never get enough of these two:
Happy Birthday to You!
The Sleep Book
posted by Glinn at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

A Child's Garden of Verses
posted by various at 7:56 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Note that not all picture books are for toddlers.
Compare these lists (not exhaustive or up-to-date, but you'll get the idea):
Younger picture books
Older picture books
posted by the_blizz at 8:49 AM on January 5, 2011

I always loved Sandra Boynton books (as did my little one.) Especially Barnyard Dance and The Going to Bed Book.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:21 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if this counts as a "must have," particularly since most people I know have never heard of her. BUT, Frances England is an awesome singer/songwriter for kid/family music. It's the kind of stuff that doesn't drive the grown ups crazy.
posted by purpletangerine at 9:34 AM on January 5, 2011

I'm a big fan of The Paper Bag Princess. My toddler hasn't got into it yet but my little sister, many years ago, loved it.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 9:44 AM on January 5, 2011

I agree with the suggestion of anything by Eric Carle and add anything by Shel Silverstein. My mother-in-law collects the Caldecott Medal winning books and many of them are excellent. I'd especially reccommend The Snowy Day and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:03 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wallace Tripp. He illustrates several picture books of collected verse and quotations from other sources, from nursery rhymes to Shakespeare, and they're funny enough to amuse the adult reading it out loud, while good for exposing the kid to manageable doses of English lit.
posted by Phalene at 10:54 AM on January 5, 2011

Oh, Shel Silverstein! Talk about "must-have." I owned three of his poetry books before I ever had a kid. Those are wonderful.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:31 AM on January 5, 2011

A collection of Little Golden Books stories. Usually has stories like The Poky Little Puppy, The Color Kittens, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Tawny Scrawny Lion, etc.

I don't know if you (or the parents of the child in question) are religious, as my relatives are, but I've found that Rachel Field's classic Prayer for a Child makes a nice baptism gift.

My nieces were also delighted with the Olivia books and wanted me to read them over and over to them. And the Robert McCloskey books too--"Make Way for Ducklings," "Burt Dow, Deep Water Man," etc.

Lastly, I have fond memories of an anthology called The Bumper Book, which I believe is out of print, but you can find vintage copies. Gorgeous old illustrations, and lots of classic poems and stories of Milne, Lear, Stevenson, etc.
posted by tully_monster at 11:55 AM on January 5, 2011

And a couple more suggestions (sorry--I have largely furnished my nieces' library since they were born, so I'm overflowing with suggestions): Caroline Kennedy published a charming collection of children's poems from writers both classic and contemporary some time ago. You also can't go wrong with The New Oxford Book of Children's Verse.
posted by tully_monster at 12:09 PM on January 5, 2011

I'd second the recommendation of "The Paper Bag Princess". Also "Oh the Places You'll Go" and "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are"by Seuss, "Llama Llama Red Pajama" By Ann Dewdney and The Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny series' by Mo Willems are all favorites of my 3-year-old (and us) "Papa Please Get the Moon For Me" by Carle is a beautiful book that's often overlooked for his bigger books and then the classics "Good Night Moon" and "Little Bear" are great additions to any library
posted by dadici at 1:04 PM on January 5, 2011

Leo Lionni books are great, especially Swimmy.

The Serendipity books are fun (although I still can't get through Morgan and Yew without crying, in a good way) and almost all kids I've known enjoy the Berenstain Bears.

Max and Ruby are adorable, as is Angelina Ballerina.

Dragoness mentioned Richard Scarry. All of his stuff is wonderful, but if you ever see a copy of Busy, Busy World, grab it! It's fantastic, and made me love the world and foreign cultures. (Some people have speculated that it's out of print because of offensive stereotypes, and if that's true it's utter rubbish.)
posted by martianna at 2:58 PM on January 5, 2011

Second anything by Robert McCloskey, though they're not really for toddlers.

_Make Way For Ducklings_ and _Blueberries For Sal_ are wonderful books.

as for CDs, we love "Not For Kids Only" with, yes, Jerry Garcia and several others. And Pete Seeger's "Bears, Beasts, Bugs, and Fishes."

I agree with the recommendation of the "Max and Ruby" books too.
OH! and William Steig's books are great (he wrote the original Shrek book).
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:23 PM on January 5, 2011

The Runaway Bunny

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Day

Harold and the Purple Crayon
posted by SLC Mom at 7:22 PM on January 5, 2011

The Real Mother Goose - the best collection of nursery rhymes for sure!
Definitely Goodnite Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Glad to hear you already have Pooh down pat.

Some of my favorite newer children's books that I've discovered from babysitting include The Secret Chicken Club (so funny!) and the collection of stories by Doreen Cronin that include Click Clack Moo and Duck for President.
posted by radioamy at 1:26 PM on January 6, 2011

When I was little I loved Raffi's music. They are folk songs and not too grating. Also Kids Songs are silly and funny.
posted by radioamy at 1:29 PM on January 6, 2011

My mom read to me a lot as a kid, but a few particular titles stuck.

Love You Forever
Strega Nona
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
The Jabberwocky and Other Poems
posted by emilygraves05 at 8:31 PM on May 15, 2011

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