What is the first book you remember loving?
February 18, 2008 11:42 AM   Subscribe

What is the first book you remember loving?

I want to make a collection of really good children's books for a friend's baby and I'm taking suggestions. I know there are thousands of children's books out there, but anyone can pick something off the shelf at Barnes & Noble. I would like to hear what you recall as the first book you loved so much that its lesson, characters, illustrations, etc. have stuck with you through adulthood. Books that a baby can "grow into" are fine; I'm looking for a variety of titles.
posted by easy_being_green to Education (147 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Little Prince
posted by bigmusic at 11:43 AM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Love You Forever
posted by lunit at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2008


Big Joe's Trailer Truck
posted by The World Famous at 11:47 AM on February 18, 2008


Goodnight Moon
We're talking toddler books here, not ones with a real plot. Do you want ones with a real plot?
posted by TomMelee at 11:49 AM on February 18, 2008


Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
posted by kindall at 11:49 AM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Charlotte's Web. Obviously not a baby book, but it is the first book I remember loving. I certainly remember reading some books before Charlotte's Web (Cat in the Hat, etc), but nothing that I would put the emotion "love" to describe...
posted by gregvr at 11:50 AM on February 18, 2008


My answer is a little silly, but entirely true:

My grandfather gave me a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records when I was very young. I would spend years reading and re-reading that thing. As a result I have hundreds of meaningless (and frequently outdated, now!) records stuck in my head.

I don't think it imparted many lessons (hard/obscure work and odd circumstances can get you recognized?), but it did have characters and illustrations/photos. They've stuck with me, for sure. As a child, there was nothing more fantastical than looking at a photo of the world's tallest man (Robert Wadlow Jr., 8'11") or seeing Hans Langseth and his beard (longest ever @ over 17 feet!).
posted by empyrean at 11:51 AM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Curious George
Clifford the Big Red Dog
posted by tosteka at 11:51 AM on February 18, 2008


2nding Charlotte's Web. It's the first book I remember having a strong emotional reaction to. (But that was 2nd grade or so.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:53 AM on February 18, 2008


Clifford the Big Red Dog
A Wrinkle in Time
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 11:53 AM on February 18, 2008


Blueberries for Sal
The Night Kitchen
Where the Wild Things Are
posted by thales at 11:53 AM on February 18, 2008


The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown. (my version did not have a fur cover)
posted by jessamyn at 11:54 AM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


2nding Blueberries for Sal
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:54 AM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Crane Maiden. So beautiful, so sweet, gorgeous watercolor illustrations, lessons about love and sacrifice that are a little haunting.
posted by donnagirl at 11:55 AM on February 18, 2008


How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head, by Bill Peet. Knights, dragons, with really good, bright illustrations. I loved the creative solution to the story's problem at the end. I checked this book out from the library dozens of times, a long with everything else by Bill Peet.
posted by steef at 11:56 AM on February 18, 2008


cross-country cat

hot-air henry

various amelia bedelia books

i also liked some of the choose your own adventure books.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:56 AM on February 18, 2008


ooh! 2nd blueberries for sal :)

oh, also caps for sale!

i'll stop now.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2008


I Robot
before that they were just books....
posted by HuronBob at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2008


I remember reading Flowers in the Attic aged about eight or nine. I'm not sure I remember loving it. But it was certainly an eye opener.
posted by rhymer at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2008


Pat. The. Bunny.
posted by SassHat at 11:57 AM on February 18, 2008


Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
posted by robinpME at 11:58 AM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Where the Red Fern Grows
posted by woolylambkin at 11:59 AM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Monster at the End of This Book - delicious suspense!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 12:01 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
posted by chillmost at 12:02 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Definately a "grow into" book (but nowhere near as snarky as the Willy Wonka books).

A Wrinkle in Time, etc series by Madelaine L'Engle. Again, not for babies, but I do recall it being read to me when I was perhaps six or seven and being quite enchanted by the first two anyway.

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Again, for older children.
posted by elendil71 at 12:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anything by Shel Silverstein,
anything by Dr Seuss,
The Little Prince
and a bit later,
anything by Roald Dahl.
posted by mdn at 12:04 PM on February 18, 2008


Dream of the Blue Heron by Victor Barnouw
Out of print, hard to find.
A book that I read scores of times as a child. Recently received a copy as an adult.
Still stands up.
posted by Seamus at 12:04 PM on February 18, 2008


The Phantom Tollbooth
posted by geekyguy at 12:04 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Where the Sidewalk Ends
posted by gcat at 12:05 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The whole Dr. Seuss section of the books for kindergarteners at my elementary school. I already knew the alphabet and understood that books were kept in alphabetical order. So I knew how to look for the "S" section to find the best books.

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.

Then, everything by Beverly Cleary.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 12:05 PM on February 18, 2008


Velveteen Rabbit - I loved rabbits for years afterwards
The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes - I still can remember a bunch of those pictures
posted by royalchinook at 12:06 PM on February 18, 2008


The Pushcart War, The Westing Game, Half Magic, Lizard Music.
posted by escabeche at 12:07 PM on February 18, 2008


A compendium of Beatrix Potter stories. When I was too young to read, there were pictures to look at. Then I learnt to read. And now that I'm older, there's the whole Beatrix Potter and Lake District history to delve into. It never ends.
posted by Xere at 12:07 PM on February 18, 2008


Go Dog Go

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
posted by craven_morhead at 12:08 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Snowy Day
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Little Women
Black Beauty

Now that my daughter is two, here are the new classics that I've fallen in love with:

Knuffle Bunny
Cookies
Hug
Goodnight Gorilla
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
posted by jeanmari at 12:08 PM on February 18, 2008


i JUST remembered, so correction:

Ten apples up on top
posted by gcat at 12:09 PM on February 18, 2008


When my nephew was born I started browsing the Caldecott winners and getting those or books by those writers or illustrators (sometimes they're the same person.) They've always been big hits. He especially liked Kitten's First Full Moon and, though "only" and honor selection, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

This year I'm taking a different route and getting Kolchalka's Squirrelly Gray or Stinky and Pinky.

On preview...oh, oh Cars and Trucks and Things that Go--I loved that book. Also Charlie Brown's Super Book and Questions and Answers.
posted by sevenless at 12:10 PM on February 18, 2008


I think it was called The Lupin Lady.
posted by Netzapper at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2008


Winnie-the-Pooh. My mom read them to me so much that I basically memorized them, and through them made the connection between those funny squiggles on the page meant something, if I could only decode them. I learned how to read though the Winnie-the-Pooh books.

And Ferdinand the Bull. Awesome book.
posted by rtha at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2008


One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
posted by hought20 at 12:11 PM on February 18, 2008


seconding jeanmarie on Harold and the Purple Crayon. I always give that book to parents at baby showers. I think it helped teach me how to be imaginative.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:14 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really liked 'The House with the Clock in Its Walls," by John Bellairs. It had this really cool retro (at the time) illustrations of 1940s Americana.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:14 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mr. Bell's Fix-It Shop.
posted by saladin at 12:14 PM on February 18, 2008


Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
posted by Arbac at 12:15 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ramona Quimby by Beverly Clearly
posted by ruwan at 12:15 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Blueberries for Sal? Oh, yeah! And Millions of Cats, and Tikki Tikki Tembo, and The Story of Ping!
posted by steef at 12:16 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy from Mars" by Daniel Pinkwater also profoundly shaped my life.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:16 PM on February 18, 2008


Three Little Chipmunks, by Marjorie Torrey. My grandson (almost four) loves it too!
posted by languagehat at 12:16 PM on February 18, 2008


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
posted by watercarrier at 12:17 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Secret Seven series. And then later, the Famous Five.
posted by meerkatty at 12:20 PM on February 18, 2008


Drummer Hoff
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:21 PM on February 18, 2008


Fox in socks!
posted by procrastination at 12:22 PM on February 18, 2008


I second The Phantom Tollbooth. I read that book so many times that I wore the covers off two copies.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:23 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]




All the Doctor Doolittle books. I read those over and over and over. Every time we went to the library, I'd grab some of those, and I always re-read those first before going to the other, new ones I'd borrowed.

Also thoroughly enjoyed Pippi Longstocking.

I loved Danny The Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl, in about the fifth grade.

The Phantom Tollbooth was also excellent.

The Wrinkle in Time series is first-rate.
posted by Malor at 12:27 PM on February 18, 2008


Green Eggs and Ham. closely followed by The Cat in the Hat.

yes we were a Seuss house, and I don't think you can really go wrong there.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:27 PM on February 18, 2008


This isn't the same book I had, but My Book About Me by Dr. Seuss. It's a hardback book that you fill in with details about yourself, sort of like a baby book but for older children. I liked having a book about ME- it made me feel very special. As a bonus, twenty years later it's pretty hilarious to read.
posted by kidsleepy at 12:28 PM on February 18, 2008


Younger - I loved the Richard Scarry books, and would sit for hours telling myself little stories that I'd created based on the pictures in the books. Fantastic for learning vocabulary and imagination. Also, The Snowy Day (or any Ezra Jack Keats books) was something that piqued my interest in art.

Older - From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler I think it's part of the reason I'm a librarian.

As an adult, I think every child should have a copy of The Giving Tree, but I can't truly say that the impact of it's story hit me until after my first heartbreak.
posted by librarianamy at 12:31 PM on February 18, 2008


The Value Tales. I don't think that they are available at B&N but I loved every book in this series. Also, Tubby & the Lantern, which appears to be out of print.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:32 PM on February 18, 2008


Little House on the Prairie.
posted by mynameisluka at 12:32 PM on February 18, 2008


Bread and Jam for Frances. (amazon.com link) I still like it.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:33 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Goof That Won the Pennant by Jonah Kalb
Mrs Frisby & The Rats of NIHM.
posted by GurnB at 12:36 PM on February 18, 2008


A Wrinkle in Time
The Book of Three
posted by jplank at 12:36 PM on February 18, 2008


I think The Giving Tree is a morbid primer on abusive relationships. It seemed off even when I was little, and now that I'm an adult I find it shocking.

Also, I think Are you My Mother , which we also owned, is a uselessly traumatic book for very small children.

The first book I got sucked into- read compulsively and at inappropriate times- could NOT stop reading! was Watership Down. I was about 9, probably.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:37 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Either The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner or The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper.
posted by benzo8 at 12:38 PM on February 18, 2008


The green mirror.
I have never been able to find it again.
The story of a young girl who looks into a copper mirror on a Cornish (?) beach and is transported to Roman Britain.
(I really should post an askme about this, it's important)
posted by Wilder at 12:38 PM on February 18, 2008


Go, Dog, Go!

I memorized that book before I could read. I mean, dogs in primary colors having a party in a tree after racing their cars to get there? So cool. It's a really nice early reader.
posted by trinity8-director at 12:48 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dragonlance's The Legend of Huma.
I was at that stage in school where teachers stuffed drab books down our throats that must mean x,y,z, or you were wrong, period, end of discussion. That attitude 100% turned me off to reading and I never read schools books because they weren't interesting or fun anymore.
Then, a friend lent Legend of Huma to me and it was just fun to read, which in turn led me down the road of obsession with the fantasy genre. Interesting characters who kick uber ass and imaginative worlds with wild adventuring was/is the ticket for me.
posted by jmd82 at 12:48 PM on February 18, 2008


Older - From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler I think it's part of the reason I'm a librarian.

Seconding this "one reason I became a librarian" sentiment.
posted by jessamyn at 12:50 PM on February 18, 2008


The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

Nthing anything by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.
posted by tigerjade at 12:50 PM on February 18, 2008


The Mis-enchanted Sword by Lawrence Watt-Evans
posted by tcv at 12:50 PM on February 18, 2008


The Monster at the End of This Book.
It holds up to the test of time, too.
I still think it's funny, even though I know the ending.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary. My favorite is Ramona the Brave.
I was also super thrilled by the Little House on the Prairie books. I've reread these even as an adult. My favorite in the series is Little House in the Big Woods.
posted by chiababe at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bonjour Happy Lion
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
posted by sweetkid at 12:54 PM on February 18, 2008


Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! Big A, little a, what begins with A? Aunt Annie's alligator, A, a, A! (Apparently I had the ENTIRE book memorized as a child, as did my mother from reading it to me so often. She used to sit in the passenger seat on long car rides and hold the book over her shoulder so I could see the pages while she recited. And as you can see, I still have parts of it memorized, 29 years later.)
posted by lemonade at 12:56 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Flat Stanley (which seems to have spawned some sort of international teaching project), The Little Prince, Tintin, Fungus The Bogeyman and When The Wind Blows by the great Raymond Briggs.

Then for when baby hits ten or so, there's the disturbing post-nuclear holocaust stuff from the 80s like Children of the Dust and Z for Zachariah, which made an enormous impression on me, but which are, retrospectively, bloody strange things for children to be reading.
posted by jack_mo at 12:59 PM on February 18, 2008


I'll third The Monster at the End of This Book.

Also, Hooper Humperdink, Not Him! (Great for developing empathy!)
posted by crunchtopmuffin at 1:00 PM on February 18, 2008


Seconding the Bill Peet books -- great illustrations, and very often a great use of language. Loved them when I was a kid, and my son loves them now. Aside from that, the book I remember most fondly from my childhood was D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths which I checked out of the library roughly 9000 times.
posted by Janta at 1:10 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just William, by Richmal Crompton -- the first book specifically (although I eventually had all of them, and the early ones are all pretty brilliantly funny and sweet). My dad used to read this book to me and we'd both have to stop because we were laughing so hard.
posted by obliquicity at 1:10 PM on February 18, 2008


offhand, these came to mind even without reading the thread above. So consider me to be seconding a bunch of them:

Youngest kids:
Pat the Bunny
Go Dog Go
Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel
Frog and Toad
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry St.
Bartholomew and the Oobleck
Paddle to the Sea
Millions of Cats
Gone is Gone
Beatrix Potter books
Frances books
Flat Stanley

middle kids: (ages 6+)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Pippi Longstocking
books by Marguerite Henry (King of the Wind, Misty of Chincoteague)
Bunnicula
Encyclopedia Brown
Guinness Book of World Records
Something Queer is Going On
books about world mythologies
basic kid's science reference books - I read the cover off the Charlie Brown Guide to the World of Science, and a similar one about the Amazing World of Prehistoric Animals and Plants when I was this age.

older kids: (ages 9+)
Phantom Tollbooth
A Wrinkle in Time
Westing Game
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
books by HM Hoover (Children of Morrow....)
books by Katharine Paterson (Great Willy Hopkings, ...)
books by William Sleator (Green Futures of Tycho,...)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:19 PM on February 18, 2008


The Charlie Brown's Books of Questions and Answers, the whole series. Devoured these. Carried them around with me until the bindings broke. Then moved on to my mom's old encyclopedia set from the 60s.

Later it was Slake's Limbo, which in hindsight was kind of terrible, but which has informed my outlook in a variety of surprising ways. Phantom Tollbooth is up there too. And Hachet.

And The Westing Game, which taught me to love the feeling of getting punched in the gut by good fiction. I made all my friends read it in 3rd grade and could hardly resist spoiling the twist for them. I honestly didn't know until now that anybody else had ever heard of it.
posted by penduluum at 1:53 PM on February 18, 2008


The Hobbit. First real book (i.e., not kid's book) I read, way back in kindergarten. Picked it up and I've had a book in my hand ever since. (Other early books: The Once and Future King, the rest of Tolkien, Madeline L'Engle's books, LeGuin's Earthsea books, Jane Yolen's trilogy about Heart's Blood, random articles in our copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a good many of the books listed above.) The version I had was, I think, the one lushly illustrated by Michael Hague.
posted by ubersturm at 1:58 PM on February 18, 2008


Nearly completely off topic, but Neuromancer by William Gibson was the first book that I was completely amazed by as a teenager.

I liked Make way for ducklings as a a young child.
posted by Camel of Space at 1:59 PM on February 18, 2008


First picture book: When Dog was Little.

First novel: Tie between The Magic of Oz and Half Magic.

First non-fiction: Roger Ebert's Video Companion.
posted by Iridic at 2:00 PM on February 18, 2008


We also had a beautifully illustrated copy of Kipling's Just So Stories which fascinated me. I haven't been able to find that beautiful edition since, but there are others.
posted by jeanmari at 2:06 PM on February 18, 2008


"Katy and the Big Snow" by Virginia Burton.
posted by gyusan at 2:09 PM on February 18, 2008


So many beloved childhood friends in here! I'll just add one for older kids around 6 - 9, especially girls, that hasn't been mentioned yet: Drujienna's Harp, which appears to be out of print. Haunting fantasy/mythology featuring a young heroine who rescues her brother and saves the world, or destroys it, depending on your point of view, but not as intense or scary as Lord of the Rings can be.
posted by Quietgal at 2:10 PM on February 18, 2008


I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words

The first six words I'll teach my pup are "dig a hole, and fill it up"...

I remember trying to count all the taught words to see if there really were 100.
posted by collocation at 2:18 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Jenny Cat books by Esther Averill. I can still picture their exact placement on the Santa Monica Library shelf.
posted by brookeb at 2:18 PM on February 18, 2008


And a couple classics to add;

Just So Stories by Ruyard Kipling

and

Rootabaga Stories by the venerable Carl Sandburg
posted by elendil71 at 2:19 PM on February 18, 2008


Richard Scarry's Babykins and His Family. Best book EVER. Sadly you may not be able to find that at a reasonable price since it seems to have been out of print for a long time, so a practical suggestion is anything at all by Richard Scarry; he is the best for the first few reading years.
posted by frobozz at 2:20 PM on February 18, 2008


First, it was The World Book Encyclopedia--I loved dipping into it starting at oh, age 7? Then, I found the Little House on the Prairie series. I read each one over and over.
posted by wafaa at 2:33 PM on February 18, 2008


How to Count Like a Martian

(wish I had kept my copy.)
posted by wittgenstein at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2008


Oh, and Ferdinand the Bull!
posted by wafaa at 2:35 PM on February 18, 2008


The Very Hungry Caterpillar! I still remember the little thrill I got the first time I saw it as a little kid. Love it still!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


duh, but you rock, rtha!
posted by wafaa at 2:39 PM on February 18, 2008


Verse and Worse - fantastic book of nonsense poems.
Biggles of 266 (and almost all of Biggles, but that particularly).
posted by pompomtom at 2:52 PM on February 18, 2008


All fiction? My favourites when I was a kid were the How and Why Wonder Book of Our Earth, Dinosaurs, Primitive Mammals and a selection of books on bugs, birds, and so forth. There must be good dinosaur books available now for kids, I suggest looking into that, and maybe some other good nature guides with good illustrations and simple but not condescending copy.
posted by zadcat at 3:17 PM on February 18, 2008


A Pebble In Newcomb's Pond (9th? grade)
A Spell For Chameleon (Xanth series) (8th grade)
Thomas Covenant series (7/8th grade)
The Fountainhead (11th grade)
posted by davidmsc at 3:26 PM on February 18, 2008


Pat the Bunny was my First Book Ever (there are photos of me "reading" it at the age of 10 1/2 months...)

Beginning at the age of six, I read Little Women over and over again.

At the same age, I also adored Black Beauty.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:30 PM on February 18, 2008


The Little Prince
posted by Sufi at 3:36 PM on February 18, 2008


As a very young kid/toddler, I loved The Owl and the Pussycat and Richard Scary's I Am a Bunny. Once I hit maybe first or second grade and was reading real books to myself, it was the Little House on the Prairie series. I read them over and over and over again, basically lived and breathed Laura Ingalls Wilder for years. In fact, I still re-read them every couple of years.

Shortly thereafter, it was From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and My Side of the Mountain.
posted by mostlymartha at 3:44 PM on February 18, 2008


In the Night Kitchen & Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak.

Moving on a bit, everything in the Tintin & Asterix series.

Moving on a bit further, the Narnia series, Roald Dahl, and the Moomin books by Tove Jansson.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:44 PM on February 18, 2008


Oh, and Dr Seuss. Definitely.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:45 PM on February 18, 2008


here's a better Wild Things link.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:46 PM on February 18, 2008


One more suggestion, not for really little children, but certainly ok for primary school aged kids: I inherited a Time Life Science Library - around a dozen or more books on Mathematics, The Mind, Space, The Animal Kingdom etc - that I must have read and re-read hundreds of times over the years.

*mental note: must go pick them up. my mother keeps threatening to throw them out*
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:55 PM on February 18, 2008




Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

My Side of the Mountain
Westing Game
Danny, the Champion of the World
Summer of the Monkeys
Indian in the Cupboard (Only the first one, though)
Chronicles of Narnia
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 4:09 PM on February 18, 2008


nth My Side of the Mountain
posted by bigmusic at 4:13 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


My Sixth Grade teacher read The Outsiders (by S.E. Hinton) to us. Although I was daydreaming half the time, The descriptions of Pony Boy, Darry, and Soda pop was etched in my mind. Whenever I saw old reruns of Happy Days and saw The Fonz, I couldn't help but think of that book. This was way before I even knew what a cultural Icon ever was. Which both The Fonz and the book have become. The Play, the film and others were all released without a spark of interest from me. She also read Hatchet By Gary Paulsen to us.
posted by Student of Man at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2008


Seconding Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Also, Just So Stories.
posted by Alison at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2008


Treasure Island. Arr!
posted by proj08 at 4:16 PM on February 18, 2008


Also, a shout out for Animal Tales, and Clifford's Big Red Dog.
posted by proj08 at 4:17 PM on February 18, 2008


The Egypt Game, seconded. I re-read it as a 20-something and found a whole bunch of levels there I hadn't seen before, too.

I also ditto the Time-Life or equivalent science books. I had a little pocket book of Evolution that explained Mendelian inheritance in such beautiful charts...
posted by cobaltnine at 4:18 PM on February 18, 2008


...and Round Trip, the first half of the story is told with the book right side up and the second half of the story is told with the book held up side down. The pictures inverted fascinatingly to my Kindergarten self and I still think about it as an adult even though I haven't laid eyes on the book for at least 20 years.
posted by Alison at 4:20 PM on February 18, 2008


The earliest book I can remember loving was The Sign of the Beaver. But I am sure that I loved books before then.
posted by Carillon at 4:38 PM on February 18, 2008




The Bat Poet (god I loved that book) and The Boxcar Children.
posted by nax at 5:22 PM on February 18, 2008


Oh my god, you guys. The Oz books? Seriously, nobody has called out The Wizard of Oz yet?

Also, my collection of books by Edward Eager got read at least 20 times each, and my sister and I can quote chapter and verse from Cheaper by the Dozen. My mom used to think some of the Gilbreth kids were our friends from school because of all the funny stories we'd tell about Anne, Martha and Ernestine.

I've also read the Anne of Green Gables books many, many times.

Also: get a big collection of Peanuts strips. I think that out of all these, Peanuts was the reading material that shaped me most. I can read strips now from collections I read when I was little and recall having to look up words ("sincere", "pathetic", "grief") because they didn't mean anything to me. Between Peanuts and Sesame Street I think I can explain about 80% of my personality.
posted by crinklebat at 5:40 PM on February 18, 2008


Harriet the Spy
posted by govtdrone at 6:14 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


No Flying in the House
posted by quentiniii at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2008


George's Marvelous Medicine. I remember having the book read to my class in school... but really, all Roald Dahl books are magic. Especially the versions illustrated by Quentin Blake.
posted by kitkatcathy at 6:48 PM on February 18, 2008


Harriet the Spy I wish. Too bad it hadn't been written. That is such a great book.

I was a slow reader in first grade, but over the summer between first and second grade I discovered an old Hardy Boys book at my grandparents' house. In one afternoon it was finished and I was hooked. I probably read another dozen that summer. Light, fluffy fare, but they were about big boys and fun for a little kid.
posted by caddis at 6:51 PM on February 18, 2008


All of the Chronicles of Narnia, as I read them back to back.
posted by CreativeJuices at 7:03 PM on February 18, 2008


Earliest favorite books read to me: Thornton W. Burgess animal stories.
Best books read to me: Oz books, particularly calling out Ozma of Oz as spectacularly good. If I'm ever trapped in a dark alley between Alien and Predator I want princess Dorothy (the Dorothy of the books, not poor sad useless Judy Garland) watching my back.

Earliest favorite books read by me: Wind in the Willows, Just So Stories, Kim.
posted by jfuller at 7:06 PM on February 18, 2008


I have often noted that the defining moment of my life was in the first paragraph of Winnie-the-Pooh:
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn't.
My worldview in a nutshell.
posted by bricoleur at 7:11 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Roald Dahl's The BFG
posted by QueSeraSera at 7:14 PM on February 18, 2008


Scruffy the Tugboat.
Ferdinand the Bull. World-rocking book.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:47 PM on February 18, 2008


I think most of the others I would list have been mentioned, but here are some others.

Journey Cake, Ho! - Ruth Sawyer, illustrated by the Make Way for Ducklings Guy
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
Best Loved Nursery Rhymes and Songs with Mother Goose Selections
Ralph S. Mouse books - Beverly Cleary
Bunnicula-Deborah and James Howe
Babar the Elephant - Jean de Brunhoff
I loved Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, but I also loved The Little House both by Virginia Lee Burton.
posted by MasonDixon at 8:51 PM on February 18, 2008


sticking strictly to little kid books:

Moo Baa La La La--most of Boynton's books are pretty cute, but this is the one I can still recite from memory, with the exact inflections my mother used.

Burglar Bill and Mrs. Plug the Plumber (the authors of those two are married, I just discovered!)

The Hole Book

Seconding Millions of Cats, Make Way for Ducklings, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and Caps for Sale, absolutely! And speaking of books that stay with you into adulthood--The Story of Ping (I'm so glad other people know it!). Last fall I was driving through a residential area near the shore and stopped to investigate a real (!) Chinese junk with eyes painted on it (!) in someone's front yard (!!!) and wound up talking to this old boatrepairdude for an hour or two about the oystering boat he was refurbishing, and invasive plant species, and giant wasps. All because of Ping. So there you go. Choose wisely.
posted by hippugeek at 9:03 PM on February 18, 2008


If You Give a Moose a Muffin
or
If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.

But I liked the Moose one more.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:32 PM on February 18, 2008


OH! And Ferdinand the Bull. I refused to let my mom toss it a couple of years back.

Also nice was the Child's Guide to Macchiavelli (it's illustrated), although I wouldn't really recommend it to actual children...
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:35 PM on February 18, 2008


A Book Dragon.
posted by sophist at 9:43 PM on February 18, 2008


I loved The Paper Bag Princess so much I got her tattooed on me as an adult.
posted by streetdreams at 10:00 PM on February 18, 2008


I remember reading the Peter Rabbit stories at my grandmas, they were excellent and the pictures are still memorable today.
posted by shucksitsjeremy at 10:16 PM on February 18, 2008


Machines at Work

Anytime my brothers and I see work equipment lined up at a construction site we always quote "More work tomorrow."
posted by clearly at 10:25 PM on February 18, 2008


So many great responses! Thank you very much.
posted by easy_being_green at 10:51 PM on February 18, 2008


This was mentioned upthread, but I just wanted to 2nd it: D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. Such a beautiful, beautiful book. Get the hardcover edition and the audio book to go with it- narrated by Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Kathleen Turner, and Matthew Broderick!
posted by kidsleepy at 6:37 AM on February 19, 2008


Younger children: Dr. Seuss books - I loved every one I had

Older children: All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin (the latter in a reprint edition with the Helen Mason Grose illustrations)
posted by apartment dweller at 8:48 AM on February 19, 2008


A lot of my faves are on here, but I'll add a few more books that I read multiple times:

Jelly Belly

Freckle Juice

Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing

Superfudge

The Twenty-One Balloons

The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo

The Encyclopedia Brown books

The Berenstein Bears books

The Boxcar Children books

I LOVED the Wayside School Stories

Mr Popper's Penguins!

The Cricket in Times Square

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit

I spent my entire childhood with my nose in a book.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:12 AM on February 19, 2008


Black Beauty
Winnie the Pooh
The Little Lame Prince, because my Mom read it to us out loud.
Pickle for a Nickel & The Prince Who Learned to Smile, because they were the 1st books that were mine, not handed down or from the library.

Giving books is such a great gift, and this thread has been a joy to read.
posted by theora55 at 1:23 PM on February 19, 2008


and My Friend Flicka
posted by theora55 at 1:24 PM on February 19, 2008


Sigh, SlyBevel late to yet another party.

Tuck Everlasting. I was a big reader young, but that one seems to stand out.
posted by SlyBevel at 4:58 PM on February 19, 2008


geekyguy: "The Phantom Tollbooth[i]"

Incidentally, a decent college education will ruin any later appreciation of the book.

Essentially, the last third is all about how this whole continent was covered with ignorant savages until it was colonized by the wise and civilized current occupants.

I still love the first half or so, but have to stop reading it once I get to the last third.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:54 PM on February 19, 2008


Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is still my favorite kid's book. I was probably 11 or 12 the first time I read it, and I've read it a bajillion times since then. I haven't read any of Levine's other books (and don't you dare compare it to the movie), but... oh man, even now I am totally emotionally attached to all those characters. Man. Now I need to go find my copy of it.

Also, the whole Little House on the Prarie series. I re-read all of em this past summer and still love them.
posted by Quidam at 11:36 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dr. Doolittle
posted by schoenbc at 11:33 AM on February 21, 2008


Russian book, "Timur i evo commanda" errr "Timur and his gang/friends"

about a kid and his group of friends during WWII, maybe?
posted by KateHasQuestions at 9:25 PM on November 13, 2008


« Older Flash me!   |   What's this comedy show called? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.