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This Tuesday's topic over at The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books I'd like Santa to Bring, but I still have a bzillion books waiting on my shelf to be read and I have an amazon wishlist (one-stop shopping, y'all!) with a bzillion gift ideas for my wonderful friends and family to peruse. So I'm going to mix it up and share the collection of books my kids would find under the tree if Santa had access to unlimited funds.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Fabulous, feminist-friendly children's book about a princess who defeats the dragon and rescues the prince. He turns out to be "a bum" and she ditches him in the end. Sorry for the spoiler, but this book is so rad I can't help but share the whole story.
2. Stop That Ball! by Mike McClintock, illustrated by Fritz Siebel
My brothers and I (especially the brothers) loved this book when we were kids. My mom still has the copy we read so many times, and now Isobel and Jude request it again and again when we visit my mom. Sadly, it appears to be out of print. This book and a big red ball would be a pretty perfect gift for little Jude.
3. The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
Speaking of books that are out of print...
Connie reviewed this one ages ago, and I was so impressed by the illustrations and the premise and Connie's glowing praise that now every time I go into a used/rare bookstore I look for it. No luck yet, but I hope I find it because I think it's good for kids to realize, at some point, that books can express things other than FUN and CUTE and ACTION.
The Wall by Peter Sís (or any of his other books)
I love this author. He has several nonfiction picture books about significant people like Charles Darwin and W.A. Mozart. His illustrations are original and stylized and detailed. The Wall tells the story of his childhood in Prague under communism.
5. Beautiful Yetta by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater
Children's book authors, here's the way to win me over: use languages other than English in your text. And make it funny so my kids will like it as much as I do. The Pinkwaters succeed with using both Yiddish and Spanish AND I've never heard Isobel laugh so hard as when I read her this book.
6. Knuffle Bunny Too and Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems
I have a mad mom crush on Mo Willems. I may or may not have gotten misty-eyed when I read the last Knuffle Bunny book to Isobel. Clearly our family needs to own the complete trilogy.
Mimi's Dada Catifesto by Shelley Jackson
Hey look, a picture book that introduces kids to Dada! I checked this out from the library a couple of years ago and it went way over Isobel's head, but I think she'd dig it now.
8. Tales from Shakespeare by Tina Packer and various illustrators
Ok, they might be a little young still, but I'm really excited about the idea of introducing my kids to some Shakespearean stories. Each of these 10 stories has a different illustrator, and one of them is Kadir Nelson, a personal favorite.
9. Barefoot Books World Atlas by Nick Crane, illustrated by David Dean
One of the best things about parenthood: learning about and exploring the world with a kid, and seeing how they react and respond to things that are old hat to us grownups. And yes, my kids are too young for this one too. But it's ok to have a few special books to look forward to.
The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snickett, illustrated by Brett Helquist
We have and love another Lemony Snickett holiday book, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming. We need this one to make a match set! Besides, who could resist a book with this description: "This is a story about a lump of coal who can think, talk, and move itself around.
Is there a more charming holiday tale to behold? Probably, but Lemony Snicket has not written one."
Happy holidays, ye happy people!