When I was pregnant with Jacob, one of my friends asked me, jokingly, “What will you do if this kid hates to read?” My response was that he was going to learn to read, whether he liked it or not. Thank goodness that has not been an issue in these parts. We make a trip or two to the library every week, and Jacob is always happy to be there.
We’ve recently discovered two series that I wanted to share, especially with those who have little ones or who teach little ones. Really, these would also make great gifts for anyone who knows little ones to give, so everyone—listen up!
First, our new best friends, Elephant and Piggie. Mo Willems, of Pigeon fame, has written and illustrated a seemingly endless series of everyday adventures involving these two. The elephant, Gerald, is male, and the pig, Piggie, is female, and the stories are accessible to just about every kid ever. We quote these all the time. They’re funny enough that John and I don’t mind rereading them in the least. In fact, we sometimes try to convince Jacob to pick our favorites.
I love that the stories are told entirely in dialogue (and the occasional sound effect). The design of the words on the page helps me to read them aloud dramatically the first time through, which gets Jacob engaged from page one. Too often, the typefaces and font color and size in children’s books are overdesigned, in my opinion, but here, I think they’re helping Jacob get a sense of how grammar and punctuation work, as well as showing him how much fun it is to read. These are simple, sweet, and pretty much perfect. Pick any of these up, and you just can’t go wrong.
Our other new best friends are Dodsworth and his duck, who are traveling the world together—by accident. Each adventure takes place in a different city (New York, Paris, London, Rome). Landmarks and cultural elements, like language and cuisine, are worked in fluidly. The humor is right on. These are another bunch that we can read over and over and not get bored of. In fact, I’ve read some of them three times in a row, at Jacob’s request. Oh, and I love the illustrations. Really I love these all around. They are on the longer side, though, so if Jacob chooses one of these for a bedtime book, he picks one chapter of the four in each to count for one story. If it’s not bedtime, we read these straight through.
There are a whole lot of children’s books out there, and some are more enjoyable than others. These are just a few that Jacob, John, and I can all agree on. They’re already classics, at least in our house!