Best Children's Books

Countless studies have stressed the importance of reading to children. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that after food, shelter and passing on annoying family traits, reading is the most important thing you can provide for a child. Seizing on this fact, almost every legal U.S. citizen has written at least one children’s book and most celebrities have written kids’ books that make Dr Seuss seem sane; see, for example, “The Jolly Mon”  by Jimmy “Wasted Away Again in Margaretville” Buffet or Stephen Colbert’s “I Am A Pole (And So Can You!).”

So without further tomfoolery, here’s a rundown of one dad’s Top 10 Children’s Books.  The qualifications for rankings are that both the child and parent like the book enough to actually read it 12.6 million times. It also gets bonus points if it either helps the child fall asleep swiftly or at least eventually drift of to sweet, positive dreams. 

10) Just Got To Bed by Mercer Mayer
Just Got To Bed by Mercer MayerThe beauty of this book, besides its cute story and Little Critter illustrations about a creative boy and his dad, is that it gets straight to the point. It’s night time and whomever is reading the book to you—mom, dad, grandma, Auntie Whatsherface, the next door neighbor, heck even the cat—is tired. Taking care of young kids is exhausting. Please for the love of all that is holy just go to bed!
“I’m a zoo keeper feeding my hungry animals. Dad says, ‘Feeding time is over. Here are the zookeepers pajamas.’”


9) Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault
Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John ArchambaultThis book has won numerous awards and much praise for its groovy flow. The illustrations are simple and the writing is fun to read and has a finger-snapping rhythm to it (which helps burn off some of the excess energy kids often get at bedtime). It’s also a great way to help youngsters learn the alphabet.
“Skit skat skoodle doot. Flip flop flee. Everybody's running to the coconut tree.”


8) The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Studies have shown that the key to a child’s success and happiness in life is to learn early that effort is more important than intelligence. Basically, the studies show that children who learn to struggle a bit, to have to pick themselves up after something tough has knocked them down, become happier, more well-adjusted adults than kids who breeze through school and life awash in a bathtub full of near constant praise and success. There’s no better example of this philosophy than The Little Engine That Could.
I think I can. I think I can.”

7) Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
Bad Kitty by Nick BruelThis is a cute, funny, very creative book about redemption, the alphabet and the naturally devilish, demanding, crazy ways of most cats.
“She wasn’t always a bad kitty. She used to be a good kitty, until one day … Oh, Dear! We’re all out of food for the kitty! All we have are some healthy and delicious …”



6) Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud
Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? By Carol McCloudThis book reminds kids—and most adults—that how we treat people not only has a big impact on the lives of others, but on our own as well. It’s no wonder this book has won more than a half-dozen awards. In snappy prose and vibrant illustrations, this kids’ book reminds us that it’s better to fill up another person’s bucket, than to just knock it over and start saying “Neener! Neener!”
“All day long, everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket. You can’t see it, but it’s there.”

4) Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThis Caldecott-winning story is truly a classic kids’ tale about taking care of one another and the importance of family. It’s also apparently regional law throughout New England—which includes most of Connecticut—that no elementary school kids are allowed to have cupcakes during school birthday parties unless they have memorized the name of all eight ducklings
“’Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!’ went Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack ,Oack, Pack, and Quack just as loud as their little quakers could quack.”


3) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakWhat makes this book so great aren’t just the illustrations or the magical tale, it’s that it gets home an important lesson for all youngsters to learn: each and everyone is a one-of-a-kind, wonderfully weird monster, which sometimes includes warts, and that it’s always important to listen to your mom. 
“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”


3) The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax by Dr. SeussThis book has long been a favorite of tree huggers—and even tree high-fivers—but in its kooky, Dr Seuss way it has a rather timeless message we should be teaching our kids: Gordon Gecko wasn’t right, greed is not good.
  “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”



2) Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstone
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel SilverstoneIt’s easy to argue that Shel Silverstein is the best children’s author ever. His simple, funny illustrations and unique and hopeful poetry touch the kids in all of us. Of all his many great books it’s tough to top the collection of poems and drawings that make up the magical collection, Where the Sidewalk Ends.
  “If you are a dreamer, come in,/ If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,/ A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…/ If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire.”

1) Go the F#$! to Sleep By Adams Mansbach
Go the F#$! to Sleep By Adams MansbachThis one, of course, shouldn’t be read to children. It should, however, be read by any parent losing his or her patience with a child who is basically telling “Dream Land” to go make love to itself! They do say that laughter is the best medicine, especially when you’re out of beer.
“The widows are dark in the town, child. The whales huddle down in the deep. I’ll read you one very last book if you’ll swear, you’ll go the f#$! to sleep!”

{Don't foget to check out Mike's popular Top 10 Kids' Movies blog, too.}

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Taste of Sun Valley – Summer ’19