Saturday, August 27, 2005

Trips to the library are fairly rushed affairs these days. I have about 5 minutes to peruse the shelves in the children's section before Sean and Allie (well, mostly Allie) run completely off the rails.

And since I don't ever have the foresight to think about potential books before we arrive, my decision-making process is based on skimpy criteria (remind me to read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink some day) such as 1) how sharp and playful/beautiful is the art on the cover and inside the book? 2) how much text is on each page? 3) how shabby is the book? If each page has already been mended with taped or marked with preschool graffiti, I don't borrow it; I also eschew pop-up/interactive books because my kids tend to treat these with the brute force that guarantees ripping.

Often, I rely on the books that the librarians have set on top of the shelves. I've found a lot of really cool books that way, especially those written by non-American authors. Still, my approach is entirely hit-or-miss. Some books are an instant hit and must be renewed, then returned, then reborrowed (and at that point possibly even purchased). Some books that I thought were inventive and clever never warrant more than one reading.

So, what I'd love to have is a toddler- and preschooler-tested list of books that I can consult before we go to the library. (You see where this is going, right?) Here's where you, my brilliant and kiddie-lit-savvy readers, come in. What books have your young children (or other children in your life) loved? I'm interested in picture books with a moderate amount of text on each page -- even if Allie can't sit still for books like that, Sean definitely can.

And just so this isn't completely one-sided, here are a few books that my kids read over and over and over again (if I have time, I'll add links later):

The Water Hole
Miss Spider's Tea Party
Kiss Goodnight
What? Cried Granny
You Are My I Love You
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Click Clack Moo
Duck in a Truck
Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs and Ham
Fox in Socks

All righty then, what about you?