Empty bookshelves

27 Oct

In one of the talks in church today, the speaker quoted a few stanzas from Dr. Seuss. I laughed, I always appreciate good Seuss-usage, and then immediately stopped. My eyes widened, my throat started to close up, and I nearly began hyperventilating. I turned to Patrick, a feeling of panic and dread washing over me, and whispered in a strangled voice “we don’t have any Dr. Seuss. We’re having a baby and we don’t have any Dr. Seuss.”

We have two months to go and I have already failed as a mother. The bookshelf in the soon-to-be nursery is empty and I’ve totally neglected to fill it. Time is running out! So this week my goal is to start searching out those essential works of children’s literature that every kid should have.

I’m starting a list of must-haves, including some of my own favorites, new and old. I need your help. Please add to our list with your own personal choices.

1. Where the Wild Things Are
2. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
3. The Giving Tree
4. Goodnight Moon
5. The Cat in the Hat

Your suggestions?


23 Responses to “Empty bookshelves”

  1. Jillian October 27, 2007 at 3:14 am #

    First, calm down!! You could re-read the same book to your newborn for months, and they’d love just hearing your voice. I read textbooks to Zach when he first arrived, and he still loves to read, and now is very into library visits.
    As for suggestions, we love:
    “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”,
    Mother Goose,
    “Tickle The Duck,”
    “Bling-Blang–an illustrated version of the folk song by Woodie Guthrie”
    The I Can Read Series such as “Frog and Toad” and “Little Bear”

    Good luck!

  2. Sue Haney October 27, 2007 at 4:20 am #

    “The Very Hungry Catapiller”
    “Polar Bear Polar Bear What do You Hear”
    These are some of my Grandkids favorite books.Glad you are doing well and enjog your stories.

  3. mom October 27, 2007 at 5:10 am #

    Oh ye of little faith and dusty brain cells. You dare to stress when my personal library has books personally signed by beloved children’s author Eric Carle? You so easily forget who instilled the love of reading in you? Stacks of children’s books in your old playroom have been forgotten? You have a mom who can quote you yearly winners of the children’s Caldecott Winner (children’s book illustration: 2007 winner “Flotsam” gorgeous!) and Newbery Medal (literature: “Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet” captivating and unique!) and you’re stressing? I’m disappointed! Howling with disbelief!

    My grandson’s personal library was started before you and Patrick even knew you were expecting! His personal copies of OLD TURTLE, GREEN EGGS AND HAM, and GOODNIGHT MOON are just waiting to be opened and read.

    What’s that I hear? Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa? You’re forgiven.

  4. Jeff October 27, 2007 at 6:58 am #

    Reading books with my kids really is one of my favorite times of our evening “going to bed” routine. It’s awesome when they get old enough “read” the book to you, even if they only have it memorized.

    Oddly enough, our daughter LOVES a book by Spike Lee of all people! “Please, Baby Please” is the title. We had to buy a copy after she was so disappointed that we had to return it to the library.

    Oh, and Sandra Boynton is popular with our clan. She also makes a few music CDs that are pretty good too.

    And, I bet you already feel this way, but a good library is worth it’s weight in gold. When you have kids, that gets bumped up to platinum. Having new books to read every weeks cuts down on the mind numbing repetition. 🙂

  5. Dre October 27, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    In the spirit of Halloween, I remember being tucked into bed with this lovely bit of poetry from my mother:

    “Never laugh when the hearse goes by
    For you may be the next to die.
    They wrap you up in a bloody sheet
    And drop you down about six feet.

    The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out
    The worms play pinochle on your snout.
    Then your eyes turn a ghastly green
    And pus runs out like whipping cream
    And you without your spoon.”

    Can’t you just hear Grandma Later waxing poetic? If you’d like, I’ll cross stitch it for your nursery.

  6. Aunt Yvette October 27, 2007 at 11:07 pm #

    Don’t forget the “Walter the Farting Dog” series. He will get a big kick out of it, especially if Patrick is anything like the DeLeon boys. ”

    Green Eggs and Ham” and “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” ( which is one of the favorites we liked to read when Nick was in my belly)

  7. tracy m October 27, 2007 at 11:25 pm #

    Looks like your family’s got you covered, Melissa! But, it I may, I would suggest anything by Patricia Polocco (personal favorite is The Bee Tree), I also love a book called On The Day You Were Born- it has a red cover and I can’t recal the author, but it’s easy to find, and positively lovely.

    Also try Time for Bed by Mem Fox ( I used to read this one to my first baby while he was yet unborn) Oh, and Jane Dyer is a fabulous kids book bet, too.

    Oh, so much fun coming your way!

  8. Aunt Yvette October 28, 2007 at 1:43 am #

    I agree with Tracy. On the Day You Were Born is fabulous. Nick loved and still loves it. It brings an awaking of nature and the this incredible universe to both the adult and child. IT does have a red cover and I think a drawing of the world on it. Tracy thanklyou for reminding me of this great book.

    By the way, Nick is getting his first taste of nature this weekend. He went on a Dad and cub scout overnight camp out to Camp Perry. I worry that Nick may come back with a new and improved vocabualry, thanks to his Dad, who I don’t think is much of a camper, since in our 14 years of marriage, we have never been or even considered it without an RV or cabin.

  9. Robann October 28, 2007 at 2:32 am #

    Melissa, your list is looking great, “The Giving Tree” is my all-time favorite. When Carrie was 6wks. old I went to Sam’s and bought every Dr. Seuss book they had and started reading them to her then, and we still read together.

    “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet” by Theo. LeSieg
    “It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny” by Marilyn Sadler
    “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” by Dr. Seuss
    are three that when read with feeling, always brought the laughter.

    One other that we love is lesser-known,
    “God Gave Us You” by Lisa Tawn Bergren
    It is simply wonderful and brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it, right there in the store.

    You’re doing a great job! Keep up the good work! Miss you!

  10. Melissa October 28, 2007 at 9:37 am #

    These are great suggestions! Mom, I’m sorry, how could I have underestimated you? You’re the children’s lit guru and I have no doubt you’re stocking up. You don’t happen to have Phroomf, do you?

    Robann, I’m definitely going to have to pick up “I Wish That I Had Duck Feet.” Patrick and I were speculating last night on whether the baby would inherit Patrick’s duck walk and we’d have to call him Baby Pato.

    A Woody Guthrie children’s book? That is so cool!

  11. Mickey October 28, 2007 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi, Melissa. It’s Kelly. (Mickey’s always logged in so I’m using his account.) I’ve been lurking for too long and I thought it’s about time I left a comment.
    We have read several hundred children’s books over the years. Some of our favorites have already been mentioned, anything by Eric Carle and Sandra Boynton (Hippos Go Berserk, is great!). Other ones we like are “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type”,
    “Giggle, Giggle, Quack”, “Dooby, Dooby, Moo”, and “Duck for President” (oh that duck). These are written by Doreen Cronin. We also like Petunia. She learns that you have to open a book to be wise.
    From the boy perspective, Kade likes to read anything that has cars, trucks, diggers, and trains. I usually find random ones at the library.
    And like Jillian said you can read the baby anything the first several months. I read out loud whatever I was reading at the time, especially during daytime feedings.
    Good luck filling your shelves.

  12. Miranda October 28, 2007 at 9:05 pm #

    My little brothers loved anything by Richard Scary. His books are usually about animals who live human lives depicted in brightly coloured, very detailed pictures complete with lots of trucks–construction, emergency, you name it. What little boy isn’t obsessed with trucks at some point in his childhood? It is also fun to find the yellow bug that is hidden from page to page.

  13. mom October 28, 2007 at 9:18 pm #

    I hope you’re not teasing cause I’ve been searching on Ebay for Phroomf. If I can’t find it soon, I’ll contact some of my book publisher reps that I work with and have them locate a copy.

  14. L October 29, 2007 at 12:50 am #

    First, two books that everyone should read/be read as a child… and again as an adult:

    – Winnie the Pooh / The House at Pooh Corner – A.A. Milne
    – The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Also, anything by Chris Van Allsburg (e.g. Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Jumanji, Polar Express, Wreck of the Zephyr, etc., etc.)

    A laundry list of some other favorites:
    – Babar (series) – Jean de Brunhoff
    – Madeline (series) – Ludwig Bemelmans (though this is likely more apt for a little girl.)
    – The Little Engine That Could – Watty Piper
    – Corduroy – Don Freeman
    – Stone Soup – Ann McGovern

    And if you’re intent on terrorizing the little tyke, try some Edward Gorey; The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Cautionary Tales for Children, etc.

  15. Melissa October 29, 2007 at 9:07 am #

    Mom, I’d never tease about Phroomf. Seriously, I can still hum the song.

    L, as always, that’s a great list! How could I forget Corduroy? And The Little Prince, definitely. We were playing Settlers of Catan the other night, and I was asking someone to trade for a sheep and almost added “one that will live a long time.”

  16. Jeff October 29, 2007 at 3:28 pm #

    “…playing Settlers of Catan…”

    Boardgames is another thing I am excited to teach my girls. Still too young for Settlers, but I got “Go Away Monster” from Gamewright Games. It says 3+, but Jocelyn learned to play it at 2.5. Not much to keep parents entertained, but it is only about 3 miniutes long, and teaches them to take turns.

    And if they are afraid of monsters, it was created to help kids deal with that fear. My daughter tries to pull the monsters out of the bag, and insisted on sleeping with one of them for a while. Go figure.

    Oh, and while Settlers is a good game, Settlers: Struggle for Rome is better. All the things you like about Settlers, a lot less of the things you don’t. And who doesn’t like being a barbarian sacking Roman cities? (Euro/German style board games are kinda my latest hobby….)

  17. mom October 30, 2007 at 4:12 am #

    My name is Phroomf. Oh gosh oh golly gee! Finn says Grandma bought a copy just for me!

  18. Melissa October 30, 2007 at 7:50 am #


  19. Uncle David October 30, 2007 at 12:42 pm #

    Well, a reading list. Aren’t there any local favorites? Surely there is a children’s book store with classics like “the little camel that could” or “the cat in the burka”.

    Anyway the camping trip was quite an adventure. And if Nick doesn’t pick up my colorful language when we drive, it ain’t going to happen on a camping trip. He must have a lot of deLeon, cause he faired very well.

  20. becca October 30, 2007 at 6:18 pm #

    i need to take all these suggestions to my library for my own kids! so many great suggestions here! Kelly, nice to see you came out of lurkdom!

    sounds like you will have great variety for your little one Melissa!

    as a side note, are there peeps in south bend who play settlers?? I played once with my “other” sis, not vicky, and it was fun!! but I have never met anyone else who plays… i hope the only chance I had to play is not the masons all the way in Egypt!! 🙂

  21. Melissa October 31, 2007 at 12:08 am #

    Oh Becca, you need to hook up with the DeGruccios, Christophersons, or Clint. There’s definitely some good Catan playing to be had in South Bend.

  22. Vicky November 16, 2007 at 10:41 pm #

    I too, have been lurking. Funny that the children’s book list is what got me to come out of my shell. Here is a title…an obsure little book that is one of my alltime favorites. “Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes”. It’s a wonderful comparison/contrast of two different methods of tomato growing…one involves a lawnchair and laziness, and the other hard work and dedication. Plus the drawings are great too. And speaking of drawings, duh! How could I forget Audrey Wood! Her stuff is classic!

  23. luke December 11, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    who sang phroomf how can i find it as a child i loved that song

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