Reading board books from 100 Best Books for Children by Anita Silvey

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Anita Silvey has selected what she considers the 100 best books for children, from birth to teenage years. The first five books Silvey selected for her collection are board books. We’ve checked them out of the library and enjoyed reading them through together – although we enjoyed some significantly more than others :-)

Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
I know people love this book. But I just can’t bring myself to even like it. I read this to myself to say that I did, but elected to not read it to my children (lest they like it and I end up stuck reading it aloud ad nauseum.

Board books

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing written and illustrated by John Burningham
Not long after reading about this title in Silvey’s book, I chanced upon a paperback copy at a library book sale and snapped it up. I enjoyed the gentle story of the children and the various animals that joined Mr. Gumpy on his outing (after having been warned not to horse around) – but I thought the illustrations were rather lacking. Then I happened upon the board book version at the library and picked it up to read to Louis – and the illustrations were much better. Once I compared the two, I realized that the colors do in fact show up a little differently, but the main difference was that I had been reading our copy to Tirzah Mae at naptime under a dim lamp in her room – and was reading the board book to Louis in the quite bright library!

Louis reads "Freight Train"

The Very Hungry Caterpillar written and illustrated by Eric Carle
I expected Tirzah Mae to enjoy this more than she did, but I’m wondering if maybe it’s a timing issue. I enjoy The Very Hungry Caterpillar and think we’ll probably pull out the copy we own later on when Tirzah Mae is showing interest in numbers, or when it’s monarch time and we’re inundated with caterpillars feasting on our milkweed.

Tirzah Mae plays with her "Freight Train" activity

Freight Train written and illustrated by Donald Crews
This was already a favorite of Tirzah Mae’s and mine – and we were thrilled to check it out of the library again. We’ve been reading it and doing activities with it and reading it again. It’s one of a selection of books Tirzah Mae has memorized and “reads” to herself frequently. This definitely deserves a place on any such list.

Carrot Seed

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson
When I first read this book’s spare text, I wasn’t sure what to think or whether I liked it. Silvey describes this book as having a “believe in yourself” message – a message I happen to despise. But that isn’t really the message. The message is about the benefits of hard work and patience even when others doubt there will be any outcome. That’s a message I can get behind. Besides, I had to learn to like this book since Tirzah Mae likes it rather a lot. She loves the simplicity of the text and illustrations – and it can’t hurt that all the illustrations are orange, her favorite color.

Reader Comments (2):

  1. Barbara H. says:

    I can remember my boys liking Freight Train – I will have to look that up for Timothy. He loves anything with wheels right now. I had to smile at your comments on Goodnight Moon. I hadn’t even heard of it when I was growing up, and I don’t remember reading it when my kids were little. I remember the first time I did read it, thinking, “This is it?” Timothy doesn’t often like to have it read through, but he likes going through the pages and pointing out several things. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one my kids loved as well.

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