These are our 5-year-old’s favorite books right now.
Nica is going through a Little Red Riding Hood phase and dressed up as the Hood for Halloween (Ham dressed as the wolf). I searched for a long time to find the best version of the story, and this was my favorite, because the art and writing are so rich.
2. The Gruffalo
This is a clever story about a mouse who outsmarts all the predators that approach him. The rhyming makes it fun for reader and listener alike.
Nica requests this book at bedtime when she wants to end the day with a fairy tale but doesn’t feel like listening to the long version—or if I tell her it’s late and we only have time for a short one. This collection includes many of the classics plus a couple of lesser-known ones. All of them are brief or extremely brief.
Nica loves the Frog and Toad books. In this one, she especially likes the story called “Swim,” in which Toad gets ridiculed for wearing a corny bathing suit when swimming. It strikes that funny-sad chord with her. “Why are all the lizards so mean?” she asks. “Because lizards are assholes!” I want to say.
When Miss Rumphius is a child, she promises her grandfather that she will help make the world a more beautiful place. As an adult, an injury keeps her from continuing her extensive travels, so she begins to plant lupines all over her seaside town. This book has made Nica very aware of lupines.
Nica scares easily. She can’t stand any kind of ride—even the carousel makes her nervous—and Party City’s Halloween section makes her cry. So, I am SHOCKED that she loves this book, because the art is pretty gnarly. In this version of the story, the giant is an ogre, and the author-illustrator did not hold back with the details. It’s very well done, writing- and art-wise. The language has an English flavor to it (as opposed to American, I mean).
Simple + hilarious = simply hilarious. Elicits crazy, goofy laughter from Nica. She will read it on her own, too, and crack herself up.
This is a wonderful book with earnest writing and charming art. What girl can’t relate to becoming obsessed with horses? What I appreciate about this book is that it starts as a story of a little girl’s budding passion for horses, but really it turns out her passion is for speed, adventure, independence. (But Nica likes it for the passion-for-horses part.)
One of Nica’s all-time faves. A rhyming tale of a super-exhausted mother who toils to satisfy the monomaniacal cravings of each of her seven children. Fun to look at, fun to read. One aspect of the story that I find odd is that the father is totally marginalized and evidently only good for breeding. The mom in the story is so bogged down with children and housework, you really feel for her. Reading this book a lot could be an effective method of birth control.
10. Mouse Tales
Another one by Arnold Lobel (Frog and Toad). Nica and I both adore this book. It contains a bunch of very random little stories about mice. They are all funny in different ways, the funniest stories being very wacky and surprisingly absurd (in the best sense of the word).